Written by Michelle Moran
I’m surprised that I picked this book up so soon after reading Cleopatra’s Daughter. I didn’t love that book. But I think I was intrigued by Moran’s perspective. She picks interesting women from history and gives them a voice.
What It’s About
Rebel Queen tells the story of Sita, a girl who dreams of joining the all-female guard for Queen Laksmi. It is set during the time before Britain conquers the kingdoms that made up present-day India. Through Sita’s eyes, we see the final days of Jahnsi, both the splendor and the sadness.
Where to begin? I’d say that overall, I loved the way this book transported me to a different time and place. Moran juxtaposed this glittering, sumptuous world with the realities of poverty, oppression, war, and the administration of a kingdom. This is a history that I did not know.
I loved how realistic the characters were. Sita was strong and daring, and you understand how unusual she was. But at the same time, she was naïve and flawed. Queen Laksmi was wise and tough, but she could also be weak and show misguided loyalty.
This is going to sound like a stretch, but here it is. What draws me to Moran is her talent for plucking women out of obscurity and making them come alive. But there’s something about the manner in which she does it that makes it feel kind of like “chick lit”. Don’t get me wrong, I love “chick lit”. And I’m all for girl power. But there’s something in the style of this book that prevents it from achieving the kind of depth that would win it a more universal audience.
I know, the “Not-So-Good” was really vague. But there is something about this book that, as much as I enjoyed it, prevents me from mentioning it when friends ask me if I can recommend a book. I enjoyed reading it, and will definitely read other books by Moran. But I think this may be more of niche book. I can imagine recommending it to my sister and hearing her say, “Eh, what else do you have? That setting doesn’t appeal to me.”