Women’s History Month Readathon 2021 wrap-up

I felt so busy this month! Again I read two books. I am currently reading a third book, but I wasn’t able to finish it this month. Despite not giving it more stars, I enjoyed the books I read this month. They triggered me to learn more about the women the stories were based on. And I think that is the purpose of Women’s History Month. As part of Women’s History Month Readathon, I also made a themed post about six women in history that inspire me. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here. I want to thank Margaret from Weird Zeal for organizing the readathon! Here are my thoughts about the books I read:

Kleopatra (Kleopatra, #1) by Karen Essex3,5 stars
In four words: interesting, well-researched historical fiction
What I liked: From the start I wondered how much the Kleopatra from this book resembles the real Cleopatra VII. This part of the duology is about her youth. Not a lot is known about that period of Kleopatra’s life. On her blog the author writers that the research process took her five years. So I believe that Kleopatra’s character is pretty realistic. My first impression of Kleopatra in the book was that she isn’t a very likable child. Of course this makes sense regarding the family and circumstances in which Kleopatra is born. Throughout the story I did start to like and respect her. Early in her life many people close to her die (sometimes in violent ways). At a young age she gets a lot of responsibilities. So she learns that she has to be cunning and sometimes ruthless to survive. It was interesting to see Kleopatra grow from a young girl into a powerful woman.
What I disliked: The book has many side characters. Most of them stay quite one-dimensional. This made it sometimes hard to keep them apart. It also made me less interested in the plot. Because Kleopatra is still young in this part, many important plot points revolve around other characters. If I had cared more about the side characters, the multiple political intrigues in the book would have been far more intriguing.
Trigger warnings for murder, rape and graphic violence

Dreaming the Eagle (Boudica, #1) by Manda Scott3 stars
In four words: vivid, detailed, slow-paced, well-researched
What I liked: The main character of this book is Boudica, a Celtic queen who lived during the first century AD. Very little is known about her life. Yet, the writer made me feel like I really got to know the young Boudica. The story vividly describes the characters and the world they live in. It’s clear that the story is based on a lot of research.
What I disliked: The amount of details was a bit overwhelming. Especially the landscape and weather descriptions slowed down the story and made me lose my attention. That’s why I sometimes missed a plot point or the introduction of a new character. It was quite hard to keep track of the many characters, Britain tribes and their alliances. You need to read this book meticulously (or have some background information) to fully comprehend the story. Less irrelevant details would have helped me to focus on details that are actually important for the plot.
Trigger warnings for war, murder, slavery and graphic violence

Blog posts I liked in March
Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den wrote a great post about fantasy jobs she would like to apply for
Jess @ Jessticulates made a list with five of her favourite SFF short stories. I especially liked ‘And All the Trees of the Forest Shall Clap Their Hands.’
– Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books published a very helpful post about how to write a blog post people will actually read.
Imyril @ There’s Always Room For One More shared this year’s prompts for The Wyrd and Wonder Challenge in May. I am really looking forward to participating!

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