Review: ‘Kiya: Mother of a King’ by Katie Hamstead

Kita: Mother of a King

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.

By Aussie Author Katie Hamstead, this is the second book in the Kiya series, which follows the life of Naomi—known to the Egyptians as Kiya—after she flees the palace with her children following Queen Nefertiti’s latest assassination attempt.

I’ve quite enjoyed this series so far, although I found this book a little slower in places than the first one—Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh. I suspect that’s an inevitable result of the relative lack of palace intrigue. Book two spends a lot more time focusing on Naomi’s new life (or return to her old one) as a Hebrew woman. Some of that, such as detailing various pregnancies and births, isn’t as gripping, but it’s also nice to see Naomi get some time living a life that makes her happy.

Then the fabulously sexy Horemheb comes back into her life, Tut gets dragged off to be a boy king, and Naomi’s life gets complicated again. Hooray!

Normally—almost 100% of the time—when I’m reading I find I’m attracted to the good guy in any love triangle. In this series, the good guy is Malachi, and Horemheb is the bad boy. But for some reason, in this I thought Horemheb was way more interesting than Malachi. The latter is strong and caring, but Horemheb is both of those things (to Kiya at least; to others he is cruel) and also very intelligent. I like a hot, smart man.

Or maybe I just go for the underdog. Usually the bad boy gets the girl, after all. 😉

I confess that one thing I really struggled with in Kiya: Mother of a King was a side-effect of the fact it’s historical fiction. Because 3000 years ago, women didn’t have rights. All the Hebrew men buying wives they’ve in some cases never even seen from those girls’ fathers made me cranky. (Of course, the Egyptian alternative of just taking them and raping them was worse.) In each instance in this book, the Hebrew men in question were all good husbands to their wives, but ugh!

At one point Naomi takes Malachi to task when he refers to her as his property, but for the most part even she—the strong-headed one, who used to be queen—is perfectly happy to see herself and other women bought and sold. I realise she simply doesn’t know any better, and maybe I’d be more used to the casual sexism if I read more historical fiction, but I wanted to shake some of the blokes till their teeth rattled.

Still, this is an interesting continuation of Naomi’s story. And if she doesn’t want Horemheb, can I have him?

Four stars

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