Review – ‘Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh’ by Katie HamsteadPosted: September 27, 2013
When I was asked to participate in a review tour for one of my favourite 2013 releases, new adult historical romance Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Hamstead, I was thrilled. I don’t often review books on this blog (I’m not sure why, exactly) but I really did love this book. And I’m not just saying that because Katie’s an Aussie and I like to support Australian writers.
When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…
The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.
Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti — who is out for blood.
I’ve always been interested in Egyptology but was never a student of it (if that makes sense) — and I usually find historical fiction dusty and dull. But Kiya is the sort of character-driven story that keeps you turning the pages until there aren’t any more, and then you wonder when the sequel is coming out. It has enough historical detail in there to set the scene but not so much that you’re bogged down in it and lose sight of the story.
There’s romance, intrigue, betrayal, more romance … It takes a powerful and clever person to rise in the vicious Egyptian court, and Kiya has to swim with the crocodiles or be eaten by them. And yet she manages to do it while maintaining her innate good nature. The pharaoh Akhenaten is crazy and dangerous at times, but he actually genuinely seems to try and care about his (insane number of) wives. I just wish he’d been a bit stronger, to kick Nefertiti to the curb — as they say in Ancient Egyptian parlance.
One of the plot twists at the event left me teary, and I almost never cry when I’m reading. (Gasp, get bug-eyed — sure. But cry? Almost never.)
This was a five-star read for me.
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing. After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.