(Cover picture courtesy of The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran.)
Nefertiti has forced Naomi to flee Amarna with Malachi and the three children. But even under the protection of Naomi’s family in Thebes, Nefertiti still hunts her and Tut. Nefertiti sends assassins to kill them, and while Naomi fights to protect the children, Malachi fights to keep her safe.
With three children in tow, one of which isn’t her own, she is labeled the harlot outcast wife of the pharaoh and is shunned. She isn’t safe among her own people, and flees from being stoned to death. Although her family protects her, she must find a way to survive.
While Naomi struggles to keep herself and Tut alive, old adversaries return as Smenkhkare takes advantage of Akhenaten’s ailing health. Naomi must rely on Horemheb’s promise to protect Tut’s birthright, but her feelings for Malachi could cause more problems with Horemheb than she expects.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.]
Somewhere around a third of the way into the book I told myself, “Just finish the chapter, then you should go to bed. You’re working tomorrow.”
Then at around 50% I told myself, “You should really go to bed now. It’s one in the morning.”
By 75% I told myself, “Ah, screw it. You’ll be tired tomorrow anyway so you might as well just finish the book!”
And so, at 2:30am I finished Kiya: Mother of a King and didn’t regret a thing. I was very tired the next day and still had no regrets. That’s how good this book is.
The thing is, Mother of a King is very different from Hope of the Pharaoh, the first book. Away from the scheming of the royal court, we get to see Kiya’s nurturing side as she finally gets to marry the man she loves. She’s back in her hometown with her family and working on starting a new life for herself, away from Akhenaten and the schemes of Nefertiti. Finally, Kiya is gone and Naomi is back in her familiar Hebrew neighbourhood. Not everything is perfect as she’s accused of being a harlot but she faces the adversity well.
There is so much character development in this story. Naomi/Kiya is allowed to flourish for once and be herself. In addition to that, I love seeing Katie Hamstead’s take on Tut, especially his transition from royal life as the only heir to the throne to humble boy in a poor section of town. Just like with Hope of the Pharaoh I was really impressed with Horemheb’s character. He certainly has his faults (his ruthlessness) but in the end you can tell he still loves Naomi, totally and utterly. Even if she’s married to Malachi. I’m a sucker for the tragic unrequited love angle, I know.
I can’t in all honesty call the plot fast-paced, but that isn’t a bad thing. The truth is that I love that the plot slows down. It gives so much more time for character development. It’s never boring (thus the staying up until two in the morning) and it really did pick up at the end. You can really tell the third book is going to be exciting but I did love this little change of pace for the series.
I give this book 5/5 stars.