Read Sphinx's Princess by Esther M. Friesner Online


Nefertiti was far more than just a pretty face.Nefertiti may be the dutiful daughter of a commoner, but her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And she’s the kind of girl who acts first, and apologizes later whenever she witnesses injustice or cruelty. But she is also extraordinarily beaNefertiti was far more than just a pretty face.Nefertiti may be the dutiful daughter of a commoner, but her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And she’s the kind of girl who acts first, and apologizes later whenever she witnesses injustice or cruelty. But she is also extraordinarily beautiful. And news of her striking beauty and impulsive behavior attracts the attention of her aunt, the manipulative Queen Tiye, who sees Nefertiti as an ideal pawn in her desire for power. Even though Nefertiti is taken from her beloved family and forced into a life filled with courtly intrigue and danger, her spirit and mind will not rest. She continues to challenge herself and the boundaries of ancient Egyptian society.Esther Friesner offers readers another fresh new look at an iconic figure—blending historical fiction and mythology in a thrilling concoction....

Title : Sphinx's Princess
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375856549
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 370 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sphinx's Princess Reviews

  • TL
    2019-04-07 11:57

    Hmm.... not completely sure what to think. On one hand, it's an easy read and alot of fun... I loved the character development Nefertiti went through, Nava and Bit-Bit were adorable and her scribe friend was fun. But I had issues with it as well, I never really felt anything for most of the other characters... It just felt like I was an observer watching them all instead of walking alongside them. The ones I was probably meant to hate I only felt annoyed by and I felt nothing when Nefertiti was in peril (apart from bring mildly curious).The ending was a nicely done cliffhanger and a good set-up for the next one I suppose but it felt 'too abrupt' after the pacing of the majority of the novel. (view spoiler)[Her escape plan was a good idea and clever but again I didn't feel anything really (not to keep repeating myself)... it lacked that tension in the air. It felt too easy, with all of the planning that went into it...(hide spoiler)]Sometimes the dialogue felt weird but it didn't bother me much really *shrugs* Despite this being Egypt, never got the 'feel' of the it. Almost felt like it could have been anywhere in a sense. The chariot rides through the city and where they practiced were the exception.The 'villainy' in this didn't feel menacing or set my teeth on edge, more reminded me of spoiled children who wanted it to be 'my way or the highway' Was this how they were in real life? I have no idea but in this instance I just wanted to smack them both.Thutmose's brother was a good soul but bland overall for me... I got the sense early on he was (view spoiler)[supposed to be a love interest (hide spoiler)] ... never bought into it. I'm guessing most of that set-up would come in the next book maybe?All in all: half fun, half blah ... I would recommend if your looking for a quick semi-light read but for me, it was in the middle of the road.Not interested enough to read the second book but I'll pass this on to a friend who is in love with anything ancient egypt and see what she thinks:) (Either way, it'll be a fun discussion).Happy reading! This was rambling a bit but this is how my thoughts came out :-P 2.5 stars, rounded up. I have one more of hers on deck so I will give it a try at some point.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-19 14:45

    I didn't hate this as much as I thought I would, but I didn't love it either. The story is slow to get started, and then quick to finish – I'm glad I can just segue into the next book, but others won't be as lucky. One of the biggest problems I had with it is not Friesner's fault. Given my love of Ancient Egypt, given my own interest in the personalities of this time, seeing unsavoury characterisations of the historical figures I love is not fun. As such, the characterisation of Tiye as a desperate, grasping queen is something that never sat well with me. I admit that it could be a valid interpretation, but it's not something that I could agree with. I did like the spin on the crown prince Thutmose there – though it did remind me a lot of Rameses in Dreamworks' The Prince of Egypt. (view spoiler)[I did have a hard time believing that he was actually the villain – he didn't seem that evil and he actually seemed to like Nefertiti beforehand.(hide spoiler)]I didn't feel anything in particular for Nefertiti. She often appeared to be a modern girl in Ancient Egypt and seemed to have little in common with the real Nefertiti. There no hints that she would become as deeply involved in the Aten heresy as she did. She's shown praying to a whole host of gods, having divine experiences, and is particularly devoted to Isis – no sign of a dissatisfaction that could lead her to abandoning them for the Aten. I don't often read young adult novels set in an historical setting, so I can't judge whether it's the genre's fault or not, but a lot of the language did seem too modern. At one stage, Thutmose's cat, Ta-Miu is described as a "fur-covered cheese ball". What.As far as historical accuracy is concerned, Sphinx's Princess follows the unproven, but very popular trope of Nefertiti being the daughter of Ay, who was the brother of Queen Tiye. Her sister is Mutnodjmet, when it's now realised that Nefertiti's sister was actually called Mutbenret. Still, these tropes are so popular and so ingrained that I won't hold it against Sphinx's Princess. Though I am tempted to do a blog on deconstructing these tropes because it is really tiring to read the same thing over and over again as though it's fact.Friesner has it so that Nefertiti learns to write, but in secret in case Tiye finds out and uses her as a spy. Okay, fine, but we know that wives of the craftsmen at Deir el-Medina knew how to read and write, so it be incredibly strange and shocking if Nefertiti didn't. I think Tiye would find her niece's illiteracy far more interesting than her literacy.Another problem is the question of marriage, and marrying into the royal family. At one stage, Sitamun makes a comment about how her father could and would give her away to a brave soldier who did well in battle. In a word, NO. Princesses could not be married to anywhere below them, nor to foreign princes. In a similar vein, much is made over the fact that Thutmose's and Nefertiti's marriage would cement Thutmose's place as the heir. Again, NO. Thutmose marrying Sitamun, or any of the his sisters, would do a lot more for securing his throne – and it was common practice throughout Egypt's history. Nefertiti is only a nobleman's daughter and she may be pretty, but she isn't royal. But brother-sister incest isn't appropriate young-adult material, I suppose.So what is there to like about this book? I liked the idea of seeing Nefertiti before she married Akhenaten, I liked the idea of seeing her background. I liked the characterisation of Amenophis. I loved seeing Sitamun and Thutmose playing important roles in the story, even if Thutmose's characterisation wasn't the way I saw him. Sphinx's Princess is probably a great book for young adult fans, but those with knowledge of Ancient Egypt and Nefertiti will probably be annoyed at the inaccuracies. I'm not the intended audience and with too much knowledge to really get carried away with the plot.

  • Jennifer Wardrip
    2019-03-30 12:55

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.comNefertiti is not a princess but her father is the brother of the Royal Wife to the Pharaoh. When Queen Tiye hears about Nefertiti's beauty, she's determined to make her a Princess in order to marry her firstborn son. She orders Nefertiti's family to her side, where she manipulates the family into giving Nefertiti's hand in marriage.There is a catch, of course. Nefertiti will not marry for three years, but in that time she must reside in the royal household. Sadness overwhelms her as she says goodbye to her family, not knowing when she'll ever see them again.She moves into the women's suite where she's given a comfortable room. The other women in the suite are junior wives of the Pharaoh. Due to Queen Tiye's paranoia, she's not allowed to communicate with any of them. Instead, her loneliness threatens her state of mind.Before long, she begins to take secret scribing lessons again. While Nefertiti rarely spends any time with her betrothed, a cold man, she enjoys his brother's company greatly. He teaches her how to drive a chariot and shows her around the city. But when Nefertiti's betrothed learns of this, he threatens his bride-to-be.When the Pharaoh leaves the palace for an extended period of time and leaves his firstborn son in charge, the change in him is overwhelming. Nefertiti can't believe the difference, and she just might fall in love with him. But when an accusation comes her way, can he save her?An enchanting beginning tale of the strong feisty character of Nefertiti left me wanting to read more; the cliffhanger ending leaves me anxiously awaiting the next installment about this fascinating woman.

  • Reading Vacation
    2019-03-20 11:43

    I seem to be on a bit of an Egyptian historical fiction kick lately.This book tackles Egyptian history and mythology in a different way than The Red Pyramid did. Sphinx’s Princess is not so much a story of adventure as a story of a commoner who becomes royalty. And it does this in such a nice “story-telling” fashion. Nefertiti’s name means “the beautiful woman has come.” It was Nefertiti’s beauty that first brought her to fame. But there was so much more to her than just her looks. I liked that she was a strong character, a girl who did not back down.The plot captured all of my emotions as Nefertiti found herself in so many different situations. There were even plots to kill her! The plot definitely kept my attention.In this book, I learned about the Egyptian commoners. I learned that they OVER worshiped their Gods. If someone did something bad, the other commoners would accuse them of angering the Gods. They would often blame the Gods if things went wrong. I can’t imagine living like that.I don’t want to give away the ending, but I will say that I hope there is a sequel that picks up where Sphinx’s Princess leaves off.

  • Nora
    2019-04-07 16:47

    More like 3.75. It took a while to get interesting, but I really liked Nefertiti's character development. Review to come.

  • Arya
    2019-04-13 15:31

    Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner 5 of 5 stars.Her face is a symbol of the glories of ancient Egypt.Her life was a battlefield of the gods.Her very name means, "The Beautiful Woman Has Come."But Nefertiti was far more than just a pretty face...Nefertiti is a dutiful, docile child, whose only interests, aside from the normal pursuits of a commoner's daughter, are music and dance. But an encounter with a scribe arouses her curious mind, and she cajoles him into secret lessons in the arts of reading and writing. As she enters her teen years, her growing beauty and her developing singing and dancing skills attract attention near and far. And with her aunt, Queen Tiye, summons Nefertiti's family, her life takes an unexpected turn. The strong-willed queen plans to use Nefertiti as a pawn in her desire for power.Even though she must obey the queen and live in the royal palace at Thebes, Nefertiti's spirit and mind will not rest. She continues to challenge herself, learning how to drive a chariot and hunt with bow and arrow. With control of a kingdom at stake and threats at ever turn, Nefertiti is forced to make choices and stand up for her beliefs in ways she never imagined.In Sphinx's Princess, Esther Friesner tells the story of yet another beautiful and strong young woman. Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize are two of my favorite books, and this one is right up there with them. The characters are believable and interesting. The story is full of action and will make you cheer for the young Nefertiti. The only thing I find funny about Esther Friesner is that in her writing the jerks are always the handsome ones and the heroes are the homely. I guess that's what makes her writing unique. Even while writing about women who are known throughout history for their remarkable beauty she is able to make it seem like a small thing. She shows that strength and character are far more precious than beauty could ever be.For fans of: Esther Friesner, Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Cleopatra's Daughter

  • Lady Knight
    2019-03-26 14:42

    I really loved Friesner's Nobody's Princess (which I really need to re-read now) and was really excited to get my hands on this retelling of Nefertiti's story. Initially I was really disappointed and really had to work to read this. About half way through though, the story really picks up I couldn't stop reading. The ending is fantastic! Sphinx's Princess tells the story behind one of Egypt's most famous, and mysterious, queens: Nefertiti. Little is actually known about Nefertiti before she ascends to the throne and Friesner does an excellent job of fleshing out the background of one of the only woman in history who is known almost exclusively for her legendary beauty and her bust in the British Museum. While being so beautiful should make her character insufferable, either by being too ignorant or too coy/arrogant, Nefertiti in Friesner's work is down to earth, likable and while she knows she's pretty, she's want to be known for more than a pretty face and grace.The historical details and overall feel were also quite well done. You get immersed in the aura of the Ancient Egyptian court: it's protocols, traditions, and legends.I can't wait for Sphinx's Queen, and hope it's more like the second half of this one rather than as slow and tedious as the first half.Overall this was quite a good teen historical fiction.I would recommend this to historical fiction fans, those who love strong female characters, and any girl/woman who every dreamed of being a princess or ancient Egypt

  • Wendy
    2019-04-01 18:56

    This was an excellent dramatization of Nefertiti's early life, about which not much is known. It presents quite a different picture of her than Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. In this book we meet an intelligent, deeply loyal girl who is not afraid of many things but always fears for her family's well-being and safety. She also has a strong belief in doing what is right. When she is rescued by a slave girl and the girl is sentenced to death by her master because she disobeyed him, Nefertiti tries to save her but realizes she is too late. When her family is summoned to Thebes by her Aunt Tiye, the Great Royal Wife, Nefertiti does not realize that she is being groomed for the position of her daughter-in-law because of her intelligence and beauty (she knows how to read and write which is an odd skill for a female to learn in Egypt at this time). As Nefertiti gets caught up in the palace intrigues, she realizes that she does not want to marry the elder son Thutmose. She does develop a relationship (platonic) with his younger brother and when Nefertiti is accused of killing Thutmose's sacred cat, he spirits her away down the river to find justice at the hands of his mother and Pharoah.It is left in a way that there will obviously be a sequel. I am looking forward to when that book comes out.

  • Kristy
    2019-03-31 18:39

    While reading this I thought I liked Michelle Moran's version of Egypt better, and I probably still do, but this book does deserve some credit:1) It is very readable and easy to understand2) There were many nicknames and I didn't have to learn how to pronounce some of those crazy names3) Neferetiti is young in the beginning and she is still relatively young in the ending... I feel like I got more insight on her growing up.4) The little bit of romance in this one is bittersweet. There is nothing inappropriate in the story.5) The story of Nava showed how compassionate and caring Nefertiti could be6) The relationship between N and A (the nice brother) was so sweet I can't wait to read how the rest of their relationship unfolds.7)I really got a feel of court life. 8) Queen Tiye was interesting to know from Nefertiti's point of view.While I can't say this was better than Mrs. Moran's version, it was still very good. I would recommend this one to younger readers as well as those of you who are interested in Egyptian history, but don't want to read for what feels like a lifetime. I know I love "Nefertiti", but I chose it for a book club and a lot of my friends did not enjoy it at all.... I wish I would have known about this one....Give it a try, but if you're not feeling it about halfway through it's not going to change.

  • Natalie Hotz
    2019-04-14 13:49

    The sphinx princess was a very good book I thought. It is a historical fiction about the ancient queen of Egypt Nefertiti. I learned a lot by this book, and this book made me want to learn more about Egyptian culture. It starts with a young Nefertiti in her village with her father. It goes through how her mother died and her care taker-- mery-- and her father are in love. She later through a series of events gets a place in the palace but she doesn't want to be there. Her aunt the queen informs Nefertiti that she will marry the queens son and heir to the throne. Nefertiti ends up in jail because of her refusal to marry thutmose (the queens son). Now that I've spoiled the basic story line for you I won't spoil the rest. Does she get out of jail or not? You may never know. Maybe you should read the book and find out! I would recommend this book to a friend! I found it interesting and a joy to read!

  • Sandy
    2019-04-04 16:31

    Very similar to Nobody's Princess. This is the story of Nefertiti, "the beautiful woman has come". Raised by her indulgent father, she questions the ways of the world. Why can she not learn how to read, learn magic, do the things that the Goddess Isis did? She lives her quietly rebellious life until the day her aunt calls her to Thebes and announces her plan to marry Nefertiti to her son Thutmose, to ensure his place as the next Pharoah of Egypt. Nefertiti stalls as much as she is able, and the book ends before all is resolved. We need more books about strong women like this.

  • Jennifer Rummel
    2019-04-07 17:42

    An enchanting beginning tale of the strong feisty character of Nefertiti. The cover intrigues me too and it looks very similar to the Nobody YA novels. This historical fiction makes me want to read a biography of Nefertiti to find out more info. A second book is in the works, which is great because this book ends on a cliff hanger.

  • Savannah
    2019-03-27 12:32

    This was a really good mix of history and mythology. It's very appropriate for all ages. Highly recommended!

  • Keara Christine
    2019-04-11 12:35

    No review.

  • Kimberly
    2019-03-28 17:56

    Back in March I first borrowed Sphinx's Princess but I wasn't able to get to it in time before it had to go back to the library. Story of my life...however last week I saw it while browsing the shelves at my local library branch and decided to give it another shot and am I ever so glad that I did. Sphinx's Princess was an amazing young adult historical fiction novel written by the ever popular Esther M. Friesner. When I first started the book I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. Though Danica from Taking it One Page at a Time's review of it made me really curious. I thought that maybe it would be a light and fluffy attempt at young adult historical with no substance but I was completely wrong. I have always had a love for Egyptian history and so hat is what initially drew me to this novel and I'm really glad I gave it a try. Like I said before I was a little concerned that the book would be a fluff piece but it really wasn't. From the first page it was evident that the author Esther Friesner had to have done an enormous amount of research to be able to pen this book. She was able to create a wonderful atmosphere for her novel by researching the historical figures that she used in this book as well as researching the day to day life of people in ancient Egypt including customs, religion and how they dressed as well as knowing quite a bit about the politics at the time. I was so pleased with the amount detail that went into the book because it helped me immerse myself in the story and it was as though I was actually there with our protagonist Nefertiti on her journey from a small child to a beautiful young woman with the gift of words.The way that all of that rich historical detail fit in with the overall story of Nefertiti's change from being a toddler to a young woman called to court by her Aunt Tiye The Great Royal Wife to marry her son the Crowned Prince Thutmose. It added that extra substance to the story because it made it feel as though the story was playing out right in front of me. I loved the story line of the novel. Nefertiti has always interested me and while this is a fictional account of her early life it is still based upon a lot of fact. What impressed me the most though was how well written the over all story was and the creation of the characters. I think that Nefertiti is probably one of my favourite bookish heroines of 2012 and one of my favourite heroines over all. She had a lot of spirit and had a lot of inner strength. This becomes especially apparent that this was true when she stands up to her Aunt Tiye and refuses to marry Thutmose until 3 years have passed. However, Aunt Tiye respects her a lot for her decision and outwardly acquiesce to her nieces decision but this doesn't stop her from trying to hasten the marriage along. While she's dined in the lap of luxury at the royal palace Nefertiti's world begins to unravel as treacherous plots are uncovered, accusations are made and death sentences are passed out like tick tacs and acts of betrayal become common place. Despite these hardships the bright Nefertiti still has friends in high places and just maybe, maybe things will work out for the better. Friesner depicted all of these things incredibly well for a young adult novel where such things may be passed over and not really delved into but she got right in there and even wrote the less favourable extremely well and I think that added a lot more substance to the novel.Overall, I thought the novel was great. There way the author used historical figures as characters in her novel was great. She aptly depicted the trials and tribulations of daily life in Ancient Egypt and wrote an incredibly well penned novel about the early life of one of the most famous queens in all of history. There was action, romance, mystery, inrigue, betrayal and murder which I think will allow this book to appeal to a wide audience of readers. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction especially if you have a love for ancient Egypt and young adult fiction and want a kick ass heroine. This book is one of my favourite books of 2012 and I can't wait to start the sequel to this book.

  • Sara
    2019-04-19 12:48

    HEY MIZ FRIESNER Just ending the book is not an ending! How did she get this published with no ending (favors, nepotism?). I could never get my Eng Lit prof to accept a story with an "ending" like that. Making it a cliff hanger where you have to get the next book to finish the story is a cheap trick to make more money. This book wasted a lot of time on Nefertiti's made up childhood. By the time it got to the palace, things were getting really good and I was excited about reading it (Finally)and then END; without resolution of that current plot point! It just goes into the author justifying her lame, simple headed, unfinished version of history. Since most of the story is made up, it could have been better focused and more interesting. Plus did it really take Nefertiti days to find out why she had been betrayed. A child could find that reason. There is only so much we know about Nefertiti and this author could have gone anywhere with the few, scant things we do know for sure. Also in this book Nefertiti's sister is not named BIT BIT or whatever the other name was. She was MUTNODJEMET!!! THIS IS KNOWN AS FACT!!! This was annoying to me cause I love history. Get it right MIZ Freisner or perhaps you should switch to empty tween novels about vampires!I like Michelle Moran's book Nefertiti MUCH BETTER and do recommend it! I could not put it down, very suspenseful. However, bewared that Nefertiti is not the heroine of that one but rather her half sister Mutnodjemet.

  • An Odd1
    2019-04-15 18:44

    "Sphinx's Princess" #1 by Esther Friesner is Nefertiti, "the beautiful woman has come", narrates from pampered toddler, thru secret scribe lessons, to betrayal by her fiance heir cousin. The story strength is her name, a real ruler, well-done, maybe 4*, but no 5* thrill. Dreams and prayers have prominence without influence. "The truth holds the greatest magic, the greatest truth, and sometimes the greatest danger" p32 says her teacher. Egypt has many gods, greedy priests, conspiring courtiers. The perfumed air of her mighty rulers has long fascinated me. The times were cruel to slaves, who are executed. Overall somewhat pleasant, somewhat scary, the story ends with Nefertiti's fate in question for the sequel #2 Sphinx's Queen.

  • Z
    2019-04-10 19:47

    I was originally quite worried that this was a stand-alone novel, but luckily it's going to be followed up by at least one more, so I can forgive the ending. (Not that the ending was bad, but an epilogue would have been nice.) Overall, I liked it. The portrayal of Nefertiti as vaguely spoiled, was good. I'd like to see more of that. Also (and this isn't really a criticism of the book, just an observation in general), for once I'd like to read a historical fiction book with a plucky female protagonist who isn't literate. But maybe that's just me.

  • Susan
    2019-03-23 14:47

    Nefertiti is a 21st century girl transplanted to ancient Egypt. No, this isn't a time-travel fantasy, it's bad writing. It takes over 300 pages for the plot to start going anywhere and as soon as things get interesting, the book ends. Anyone who isn't already knowledgeable about Nefertiti is going to have to go find a history book to get a satisfying conclusion.

  • Brindi
    2019-04-17 11:57

    i would have liked this a lot more if it had gone into when she was queen. i was looking forward to learning more of nefertiti - even if through historical fiction.

  • Dhfan4life
    2019-03-30 12:54

    Synopsis of the story: Pretty much a story about how a common girl whom only wanted to learn how to read, write, and dance for the Gods. Ends up meeting her prince/cousin and wicked auntie and doesn't necessarily live happily ever after. At least in the first book, as there is a cliff hanger. All of which takes place in ancient Egyptian times(Or three key locations: Akhmin(home of Nefertiti and her father, step mother and younger sister and malicious priest that wanted Nefertiti as a wife for his son and then later as a sacrifice for one of the Gods), Abydos(home of Nefertiti aunt whom is married to the Pharaoh and Nefertiti cousins. The eldest of whom her aunt tries to force her to marry and whom can't stand her but loves his cat and the priests more), Thebes(The second home of the Pharaoh and Nefertiti's aunt and the Pharaoh's jr. wives and secondary children). All the belief in the multi God system, flooding of the Nile, cats being revered and priests are cunning are very much present in this story as well which provides for a decent back drop as we follow Nefertiti on her journey from common girl to royal princess.What I liked about the book:-Might be stating the obvious on this point. But I did like reading a story about the people of Egypt. Even though this particular one was written in a young adult vein, it was still great to go back to a ancient world and see the difference in attitudes between then and now.-Through thick and thin, I really enjoyed Nefertiti's perseverance to keep on striving to learn how to read and write. Even to keep on dancing through the good times and the bad. I know for myself my spirit would have been broken a few times over given what she had gone through. But she kept her head high and stuck it all out from start to finish.-Only 18 chapters! I can't emphasize enough how much I love a book that has shorter chapters that I can easily read and get through without any problems whatsoever. Hate when a book tends to have a heck of a lot of chapters and the story really doesn't go anywhere. But the author stuck with shorter chapters that were packed with more than enough detail and gave you a really clear view of each of the character's personalities and motives.-How the cliff hanger wasn't super drama filled and actually read as a great way to wrap up the end of the first part of the story. Did make me want to read the next one for sure but not like I had to drop everything and run off and get it. As I sometimes can't always get every book right away and I hate feeling like I am missing out on something if I can't get the next book soon. So the ending was very nice.What I disliked about the book:-Nefertiti's brattiness and her childish petulance at times. Not to say that most of this was during her younger childhood days. But still as she steadily grew up over the years it was still there. And it made reading what she went through as a little less interesting at times.-I love Egyptian culture but am no expert whatsoever on how precisely the people of the time would act on a day to day level. But from the way in which the author often had many of the characters talking about and expressing just how beautiful Nefertiti was all the time and like she didn't have a brain in her head. I mean I get in the past guys didn't really expect much of women but superficial things. But still the way in which the author wrote it in this book was with the same superficiality of one of the historical fiction stories from England. Where everything is about the beautiful young girl getting married off early. Having a particular pretty dress and all of these feasts that the royal family attends and how fabulous things are. To me that just didn't seem to ring very true for Egyptians. I'm sure they believed in appreciating beautiful people and things. But just not with the same tone in which the author presented.-I haven't read many books about Nefertiti so I can't be all that sure if this is just a YA historical fiction story that leans more towards fiction or not. And would have really appreciated knowing if the author took any actual historical research and put it into her story about the character or the world. Without knowing if she did or not I was left to assume that this was a work of pure fiction set in the past and unsure if the actual Nefertiti went through any such adventures.Recommendations:Likely a good book for YA readers that wouldn't mind a travel to Egypt. But key is to keep an open mind about the story. As it is fast paced but in a time when staying a live was in and of itself it's own adventure.

  • Kim
    2019-04-12 11:35

    The Princess series by Esther Friesner has interested me for awhile now, but I was a little bit scared to start reading it. I like historical fiction, but I prefer to read fiction set in time periods which interest me but I haven't extensively studied. Otherwise I can get too caught up in the details, hunting for historical inaccuracies, and lose sight of the story itself. With Sphinx's Princess, it helped that (to my knowledge--I'm not an Egyptologist), not many details are known about Nefertiti's life, certainly not in the time covered by Sphinx's Princess, though its sequel, Sphinx's Queen, will probably be another story. So Friesner's task isn't so much to dramatize the known events of Nefertiti's life, but to fill in the gaps in a way that feels plausible and doesn't contradict what little we know. And from the beginning, I thought she was successful; Nefertiti was headstrong and independent in a way that would appeal to modern readers, but Egyptian women actually were rather independent compared to their peers elsewhere. Her attitude towards her slaves struck me as rather unlikely for a girl raised in a slave-holding society; but this is a young adult book, and maybe not the best place to tackle the nuances of slave ownership, unless that was the whole point of the book (it isn't). So there were some issues, but for the most part, Friesner created a believable Egyptian heroine and a believable Egyptian setting. (Believable isn't meant to imply accurate, just so you know).The problem? Well, Amarna period Egypt was incredibly diverse, and though I thought Friesner did all right by the actual Egyptians, she wasn't always as great with the other ethnic groups or peoples or, in particular, one group that is not ethnic--just a stateless people--but gets treated like it is by those who see a linguistic similarity to the Hebrews which isn't there. And if you know anything about Nefertiti (besides how she looks) and who she married and what he's famous for, you might be able to guess why the portrayal of this particular not-ethnic group troubled me, and seems not to bode well for book two.But we are still on book one. And Sphinx's Princess is definitely an enjoyable read. I was never particularly into Nefertiti, which is unfair considering it's not her fault that her famous bust (get your mind out of the gutter!) gets more attention than anything she actually did, but I prefer my queens actual rulers (though there is a tradition that Nefertiti might have ruled on her own after Akhenaten's death!). What I particularly liked about Nefertiti is that Friesner made her more than a pretty face, but didn't forget that she was one. So many young adult novels seem to have their heroines suffer a ridiculous amount of body angst, whereas Nefertiti's attitude was more "I'm pretty, I like to dance, now get over it; there's more to me than that!" And there was! She was a thrill seeker, occasionally foolhardy, but intellectually curious and devoted to her family. I like that she had friends of both genders, that her beauty was acknowledged but didn't make anyone crazy with lust for her, but rather the people who wished to possess her wanted her for political reasons more than anything else. And I really liked how Friesner depicted the machinations of a monarchical, polygamous society, particularly when Nefertiti's father, general Ay, mentioned that his sister Tiye was more valued than he for the connections she could bring to the throne.Even more than most novels, I am going to say that Sphinx's Princess is a "Your mileage may vary" kind of book. When it comes to historical fiction, I believe that the story should come first, and if the history has to bow down to make it better, that can be okay (for example, when the TV series "Rome" misplaced an entire Octavia so the viewers wouldn't get confused). My main problem with the factual errors I saw arising in Sphinx's Princess was I suspect they might have been made, not to improve the story, but to espouse a particular point of view. So I am looking forward to the sequel, Sphinx's Queen, with the realization that, at times, I may want to throw it across the room (but I won't).

  • Erin Howard
    2019-04-11 13:56

    Sphinx's Princess takes the reader on an epic journey through Egypt following the life and troubles of Nefertiti, one of Egypt's most recognized queens. From childhood to young adulthood, from the comforting home she's always known to the home of the Pharaoh and his royal brides and offspring, who rival the most vicious vipers at times. Friends and family, lies and love, Nefertiti will have to learn how to survive and tell fact from fiction.--When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to be the typical young adult story arc where the heroine has a bit of background to add a setting, then conflict, and then get straight to the meat of the story. Sphinx's Princess is not set up that way! It is truly a book about this girl's life story starting with her early years. Although I ultimately enjoyed the history of Nefertiti, it was a slower read in the beginning. Those looking for immediate action will not find the majority of the book very interesting.Once I changed the way I looked at the book, I allowed myself to become immersed in this beautifully descriptive world. Friesner takes us back to ancient Egypt in every sense, from the culture, to the food, to the Gods, to the clothes...everything. And being a big Egypt fan, I loved every second of the descriptive adventure!Getting to the meat of the story was really exciting, especially since I didn't know the full story of Nefertiti before this book. Queen Tiye was quite the character! "No" was definitely omitted from book of acceptable responses to her requests. Every bit of her was devious and calculating, and she made for a wonderful villain that truly could not be predicted. But! She also had true love for her Pharaoh and her son (not so much the other kids, but that's asking for too much) which made her more human. How far would you go to protect your place, which protects your children as well?The Pharaoh was wonderful, I love him. I wish he had more text time in the book because he was great!Thutmose... He's interesting. (view spoiler)[When he first came into the picture, I thought that he would be the typical "Boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy eventually gets girl to like him! YAY!" set-up. Not knowing my history, I truly thought that they'd end up together despite her friendship with Amenhotep. I was thrown way off toward the end when Nefertiti was imprisoned and he turned out to be evil. I was actually disappointed, but that didn't last long. This meant there was more adventure heading my way! (hide spoiler)] Overall I actually really liked his portrayal!Amenhotep, oh poor Amenhotep, I knew lots of guys like you in junior high. All limb and not knowing what to do with it! He's a sweetheart, though, and that makes for any clumsiness. And, of course, his other traits which are shown toward the end of the book.Berett and Henenu stole the scene almost every time they were in them, these two were so fun to follow. But who stole the entire show? Who was the true Sphinx's Princess? Ta-Miu, of course!Overall, this was a great historical novel and the depth of both the characters and the world made for a beautiful read. The only reason I did not give this story 5 stars is because although I enjoyed it, the majority of the excitement was toward the end...which leads into the second book that I am just starting to read and already loving.

  • Mara
    2019-04-05 16:32

    I absolutely love stories about Ancient Egypt. At the age of seven, I gobbled up every book the local library afforded on Egyptian history. I became an expert on the Egyptian mummification process at ten years of age - that is still an accomplishment that I am especially proud of, though I confess that I am a tad bit rusty on the process now; it's been years since I have reviewed. When I went to the Field Museum in Chicago many years back, I only cared about the Egyptian display and practically went bonkers when my friend's mom surprised us with tickets to the King Tut exhibit that was visiting then. I cannot describe the untold joy I had rushing from one display case to the other, babbling on and on about the artifact therein and the theories surrounding this city and that pharaoh. I had employees asking me if I would care to come work there someday (my reply was a yearning yes, but sadly I don't think I could live in Chicago even for my beloved mummies). I am not entirely certain why Ancient Egypt held such allurement for me, but I was fascinated by them even more than the Romans - which is saying a lot for me. I wanted to be a professional Egyptologist, until I found out that being one mostly meant teaching at a university, rather than gallivanting off to Egypt to visit the pyramids and Giza Plateau. I ought to have been born in a year that would have permitted me to be in my early 20s when King Tut was discovered.That said, let me now review this book. Nefertiti is one of the royal Egyptian figures that I used to read about the most, but I have regrettably forgotten most of what I read about her over the years. Nevertheless, I found Esther Friesner's take on how Nefertiti came to power fairly compelling. Her writing style captured the richness of Egypt in a way that I have not encountered in fiction for a while. I cared for Nefertiti, her little slave girl Berett, and Henenu - who was my favorite. At times, I even found myself caring for the minor characters just as much as for the major - sometimes even more so. What an accomplishment when an author can do that!!The story itself is intriguing. At first, I found that to get to the actual storyline took a little while, and I was slightly bored in the beginning. I wouldn't ask nor advise Esther Friesner to cut out these passages, because they were certainly important for laying out the groundwork for the story. I imagine that when I go back to read Sphinx's Princess again, I won't find the passages so boring. Sometimes it's just the mood I am in.I especially liked how Esther Friesner blended in Egyptian beliefs without giving the story a supernatural or fantastical feeling to it. The only thing that approaches fantasy is the dreams Nefertiti sometimes has. The way she included the Egyptian religion felt very authentic, unlike most authors, who somehow end up muddling the whole affair. I have always had trouble keeping the different Egyptian gods and goddesses straight in my head, but Ms. Friesner actually helped me remember who was who and what they were in control of. I am glad that I am not Catholic, for it must be just as confusing keeping all of the saints in order. ;)I enjoyed Sphinx's Princess and look forward to reading the sequel - Sphinx's Queen.

  • 06AlyssaP
    2019-04-18 11:58

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury I find the book Sphinx’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner to be excellent at telling the story of Nefertiti, and the beginning of her journey to becoming pharaoh in the second book Sphinx’s Queen. Because the story was so good at keeping me “on the edge of my seat”, giving a little romance, and giving me the thrill of living in another time I found nothing wrong with this book. In the beginning when Nefertiti is about 10 a friend of her fathers’ named Henenu who works for the Pharaoh asks her father if Isis or Pharaoh is better. Her father not knowing how to answer asks Nefertiti and she answered “Isis, because Pharaoh is Ra’s son, and Isis was clever and figured out his true name making her as equally powerful”. Even at this young age Nefertiti shows how clover she is this comes in handy later on by getting out of many difficult situations. “Ah my lady is wiser than many of my students. They never take time to wonder about the reasons behind their lessons…” Henenu is a scribe for the Pharaoh, and is showing Nefertiti hieroglyphics that represent certain Gods names. He says this to her because she is trying to figure out the reasons behind the symbols. Being wise and curious leads to Nefertiti secretly taking lessons from Henenu learning how to write which is why the goddess Isis calls her “She-Who-Writes.” Learning how to write helps Nefertiti in many different ways, and situations throughout the book. “No!” I cried but my throat was raw from my ordeal and my protest came out as no more than a hoarse whisper. I dug my fingers into my father’s arms. Didn’t he understand I owed my life to that slave girl? Didn’t he care? Nefertiti was dancing during a great celebration but fell into the river. A priest who is not very fond of her father claims that it is the gods will for her to be sacrificed. But a slave of his disobeys and rescues Nefertiti. Because of this she is dragged away and is ordered to be killed for disobeying her master. Nefertiti has shown that she is kind, and caring even to those of a much lower status than hers. Nefertiti has just been wrongly accused of murdering prince Thutmose cat (sacred animal). Much “evidence” is placed before the prince which “forces” him to have Nefertiti sentenced to death. But she is given her life until the Pharaoh, and the Great Royal Wife return home. But then… “The snake sprang toward me. I grabbed my dress and threw it like a net. The viper’s body tangled in the folds of the dress and the creature thrashed widely trying to get free. The buzzing of scales scraping together grew louder an angrier. The snub nosed head poked out from beneath the edge of the cloth; but too late. I brought my scribes palette down hard again and again on the vipers skull. As you can see the evidence presented above, this book is a great story of how a noble eventually becomes one of the greatest Pharaohs Egypt has ever seen.

  • Alexis Woody
    2019-04-02 19:48

    This book is about a girl named Nefertiti in ancient Egypt, who's father is the brother of the Pharaoh's wife. The book takes you on her journey of becoming a princess, as the queen finds her beauty striking and wants her to marry her firstborn son. In order to do this she has to stay at the palace and wait three years, away from her family. She becomes lonely and because her soon to be husband isn’t very kind, she becomes friends with his brother, the other prince. This upsets the man she is to marry however when the pharaoh goes away on a trip, he seems to undergo a great change and Nefertiti begins to fall in love with him. The book ends in a cliffhanger, and leaves the reader wanting to read the next book, “Sphinx’s Queen”. Throughout the story there are multiple threats being made, as the throne is at stake, and Nefertiti has to make a stand for what she believes in. Nefertiti starts out as a very young girl in the beginning of the book that is learning to be strong and growing, and throughout she turns into a young woman. With this transformation she had to learn how to take a stand and she had to make a lot of decisions when it came to what she wanted in life. For example in the beginning, Nefertiti was a young girl that had awful nightmares. In the prologue on page 2, you can see how much she relied on her father for comfort when she awoke from a nightmare. She said that she “…can’t count how many times [her] terrified tears brought father running” (Friesner, 2009). Because of how bad her nightmare were she needed her father to help calm her, so “… he’d pick [her] up in his arms and hold [her] until [she] fell asleep” (Friesner, 2009). This shows how dependent she was in the beginning. However towards the end of the book she is the one that soothes others. For example Nefertiti is accused of sorcery and given a death sentence while the pharaoh and his wife are away. Nava, a child musician of the palace that is very close to Nefertiti, gets to visit her while she is imprisoned. On page 335 Nava finally sees Nefertiti and “…was on [her] in an instant, babbling [her] name over and over, begging [Nefertiti] to tell her that everything was going to be alright” (Friesner, 2009). This time in the story Nefertiti has to be the comforter, so she pats Nava on the back and tells her “Shhh, don’t worry” (Friesner, 2009). This shows how Nefertiti went from being a child herself to caring for one at the end.I recommend his book if you enjoy a nice read that is well written and easy to understand. The book starts off slow but once you begin reading it, the book is very interesting and I enjoyed the way it portrayed ancient Egypt at the time it took place.

  • Lexie
    2019-04-19 17:57

    Ancient Egypt has always been more fascinating to me than any other ancient culture. When I first heard about Friesner’s Sphinx’s Princess, I was elated. It has been a long while since I read a young adult novel set in that time period. Though Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter straddled the line between young adult and mainstream, it wasn’t truly Ancient Egypt, as it was set at the waning of the Empire and primarily focused on Ancient Rome.Nefertiti, as Friesner explains in the Author’s Note, is as mysterious as the time period itself. Historians know very little about this woman who is written of so dynamically and was such a driving force during her years as Queen. Commoner or royalty? Egyptian or foreigner? Intelligent or just lucky? Arguably one can make the assertion that Nefertiti is as infamous as her husband the Pharoah is, but she is only mentioned as the Queen. Her life before and after has either never been recorded or lost to time, and her body has not been found.As she did with Helen of Troy in Nobody’s Princess and Nobody’s Prize, Friesner takes what little we know of this ignoble personage and creates a well-rounded and relateable young girl who proves herself equal to the legend surrounding her name. Nefertiti is an intelligent, clever and ambitious girl. Her beauty is incidental in her mind to her other talents; she can read and write better then most male scribes and has a mind for strategy.She is not, however, ready for the politics of court life. Brought to the court of Pharaoh Amenhotep III by her aunt, the Great Queen Tiye, Nefertiti is in both awe and fear of her aunt. At first she goes along with things, happy to do what she enjoys and feeling closer to the mother who died giving birth to her (and was the Queen’s scribe before death). But when the name of the game is trickery, Nefertiti is lost.I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Friesner’s depth of detail is astonishing as she describes not only well-known locations of Ancient Egypt but also day-to-day trivials. Nefertiti’s first realization that the slaves her family and others keep are people, too, was intriguing to read while also proving that Nefertiti as a person was worth following in a simple way. Nefertiti’s thirst for knowledge can be keenly felt as she finds ways to write and read without her father’s knowledge.While I enjoyed reading about her early life, I was hoping for more about when she meets her future husband–the controversial Pharaoh Akhenaten. Hopefully with the publication of the sequel, Sphinx’s Queen, we shall learn more.

  • Julia Yard
    2019-04-15 13:53

    Sphinx's Princess is about a girl living in ancient Egypt named Nefertiti, which literally means "the beautiful woman has come." She is young and beautiful, but also intelligent. The author of this book, Esther Friesner, has also written Nobody's Princess and its sequel, Nobody's Prize about Helen of Troy. She mixes fact and legend, wrapping them together. Although both the Nobody's Princess books and this one have a similar main character (smart, young, and incredibly beautiful) their premises are very different.I read this book about a year and a half ago for the first time after finishing Nobody's Prize and really enjoyed it. Then, about a week ago I saw the sequel to this book, Sphinx's Queen, sitting on the library shelf. I wanted to read it, but upon realizing I'd forgotten some key points from this book, I decided to re-read it. Also, I am participating in the YA Historical Fiction Challenge and figured this book would be a good one to start with.I really enjoy historical fiction, especially when it centers around kings, queens and princesses, or if not just really rich people (like the Luxe books). I love the feel of luxury and riches, and also the problems these kinds of people face (like the fact that something they did could end an engagement to a prince and destroy their family's honor forever...normal people don't have these problems). The ancient Egyptian setting here is wonderful, with descriptions of temples, palaces, and cities. I also enjoyed the religion that is added to the story. Although none of the Gods actually appear in the story, their effects on the day-to-day lives of the people of this time period is evident.Nefertiti is the main character and the story is told from her point of view. I really connected with her, deeply understanding her motivations and choices. Although she is, in retrospect, a nearly perfect character, lacking the character flaws usually necessary to make characters interesting, while reading, she did not feel this way. The odds are stacked against her and everyone tries to control her, expecting her to be an easily manipulated pawn in a world of plotting. Because of this, every action she does, while not necessarily truly flawed, has dire consequences. The other character are also interesting, especially the "bad" ones such as Nefertiti's Aunt Tiye and Thutmose. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It was pretty good.

  • Irene
    2019-04-02 12:39

    Sphinx's princess is about a young, beautiful girl named Nefertiti. Nefertiti's father is one of pharaoh's best men (pharaoh is the "living go on earth, the one who rules all") and the royal queen's (queen Tiye) brother. One day, Nefertiti's whole family was invited to me the royal queen, so they set off to Thebes, their meeting point. Once they arrived, they found out that the queen actually wanted Nefertiti to marry her son, Thutmose, because Nefertiti is so beautiful. Queen Tiye thinks this will ensure Thumose's spot to become the next pharoah instead of pharoah's other wives (pharaoh can have more than one wife, but only one can be the great royal wife/queen which is queen Tiye). Nefertiti didn't want to marry Thutmose because even though he was very handsome, he was very boring and didn't seem to like her at all. So Nefertiti's father told queen Tiye to give Nefertiti three years before the marriage. During those three years, Nerfertiti tries to make new friends and find something she like about Thutmose. The reason I picked this book up was because Amber recommended it to me. Usually when Amber recommends me books, they're all very good ones so I gave this book a try. The beginning of this story already captured my intrest. There were many twists and turns and new surprises along the way. I liked the author's writing style a lot, all the information were explained in a very clear way. The reason I finished this book is because the beginning was so intresting so I didn't know that I was almost done until it was time for dinner. There were none of the parts that I didn't like so I kept reading and reading until I was done. When I was done, I reread it again and got angry because the ending was a beginning of a new book! I would recommend this book to Lynda because I know that she likes books with twists and turns and surprises. This book has many surprises because you wouldn't expect Nefertiti, the main character, to marry Thutmose, the heir to becoming pharaoh!

  • Shelece
    2019-04-08 11:58

    More detailed review to come later. Overall, an enjoyable book, although some of the plot developments were a bit contrived in my eyes. It was fascinating to see how ancient Egypt was depicted. I actually did get into the romance, which can be hard for me sometimes in young adult books. (view spoiler)[I loved the plot twist that the beautiful girl fell in love with someone who was a bit homely. (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[Also, I'm ashamed how long it took me to figure out that the Habiru slaves were actually HEBREW slaves. In my mind, I thought Nefertiti lived in a different time period from the Hebrew captivity. (hide spoiler)]My one big beef with this...(view spoiler)[At one point, Nefertiti is saved by a Habiru girl, who is punished and put to death for the act. A little while later, Nefertiti has a discussion with her scholar friend, and he makes a fairly convincing argument that the slave girl may still be alive. He suggests that they investigate right away, as time is of the essence. Only... Nefertiti is transported away from her home very shortly thereafter. I can understand how in the stress of moving, she might be distracted from her rescuer (although... it seems like that would still be weighing heavily on her mind). But what bothers me is this theory is dropped and never referred to again, either by Nefertiti or her scribe friend. No investigation is made. Of course this slave girl is often on Nefertiti's mind, but all she ever thinks from there on out is how sad it was the girl died. I just don't believe that she would so quickly and thoroughly forget that the slave girl might have survived. To me, this seemed like a lame set-up for future books, a clue "hidden" so that when the slave girl appears alive later on, it doesn't seem completely out of the realm of possibility. (hide spoiler)]