Both books today are audio books. Both narrators are ones that I will listen to with enjoyment any day. However, the books differ on every other level, the genre, plot, character development and writing quality.
1. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Nefertiti is my first Moran’s book and also one of the very few books about ancient Egypt I have read so far. It tells the story of fifteen-year-old Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet as they are entering the scene of the court of Egypt. Nefertiti is married off to Amunhotep, the next pharaoh who is thought unstable and a danger to Egypt’s future. The sisters’ lives will be forever changed as they both have to find their ways amidst the treachery, the lies and the danger of Egypt’s court. Nefertiti is becoming loved by the people but also seems to share her husband’s mad vision to get rid of Amun, Egypt worshipped god and to instead worship Aten, until now a minor deity that Amunhotep wants to elevate to the position of the one and only god of Egypt. As Nefertiti’s life changes seemingly for the better, her sister’s life brings her unhappiness and misery because Mutnodjmet does not yearn for the power and wants to spend her days away from court and its machinations.
As I said, despite loving historical fiction, I don’t actually know a lot about that period in history of Egypt. For that reason, I cannot speak on Ms Moran’s historical accuracy or lack thereof. However, I did enjoy the novel for its plot which was very captivating from the very beginning. As with many HF books, there are a lot of characters present. While the main ones, Nefertiti, her husband, Mutnodjmet, Vezir Ay (Nefertiti’s father) and couple of others, do develop pretty nicely and we get insight into their personalities, there is also a score of people (such as Mutnodjmet’s body servant or her mother) that I would have liked to see have more depth. I chose to read this book in an audio format and this is one thing I am glad about. Cassandra Campbell, the narrator, does a great job performing. As a matter of fact, her voice had captured my attention even before the story did. All and all, it was a very entertaining read and I will definitely be reading the other two books by Michelle Moran, The Heretic’s Queen and Cleopatra’s Daughter.
2. Dark Desire by Christine "White Hot Heat" Feehan
There isn’t a lot in a way of plot in this book. It is part two in the Carpathians’ series. This time it’s about Jacques, the brother of the prince of Carpathians Mikhail. Jacques is captured, tortured and buried alive in a wall by cruel vampire hunters who seem more bloodthirsty than a vampire would. Jacques refuses to die and his will to live is fueled by the need of revenge and a psychic contact he accidentally establishes with Shea, a miracle-performing young doctor. Shea has been living with a strange blood disease her whole life and her decision to become a doctor came from her desire to find a cure before it’s too late for her and people like her. Until one day she has to give up her career and run from the same vampire hunters that tortured Jacques. For some strange reason (really not that strange because Jacques is calling her to him), she ends up in the Carpathian Mountains and rescues Jacques from certain death. Now they have a lot to learn and overcome together as it turns out they are life mates (meaning one cannot live without the other) as mortal danger is lurking in the woods.
Okay, if you read my review of part one to this series, you know I didn’t like it one bit. However, I was willing to give it another chance because I liked the whole premise about those powerful Carpathians who are vampires but claim to be just a completely separate species. Anyway, Dark Desire does get a little bit better, not so many over-the-top sex scenes and even the female character, Shea is a lot more likeable and believable than Raven from Dark Prince. However, as you maybe noticed from the alias I gave Ms Feehan, the language still remains pretty horrendous, with tons of repetitions and the ever present absurd phrases in the nature of ‘white hot heat’. I was entertained by the book but not for the reasons that were intended by the author. I simply had to laugh at the bad use of language and a very one-dimensional story. It was either that or cry because Ms. Feehan is a bestselling writer with millions of fans all over the world and still don’t see why. It was again an audio version and once again I did enjoy the narrator, Juanita Parker who did breathe a lot of life into this story and made it interesting enough for me to listen to the end.