Nefertiti follows the titular character through the eyes of her sister, Mutnodjmet, from their early life through Nefertiti's swift ascent to the throne as one of history’s most powerful women. Headstrong, cunning, and limitlessly ambitious – Nefertiti defies tradition to become Egypt's first female co-regents during one of its most tumultuous and unique periods, with Mutnodjmet as her near-constant, often reluctant companion and advisor. All the while, Mutnodjmet—a thoughtful, intelligent young woman with a passion for healing and nature—yearns to find her own destiny, away from the courts and scheming, with a life that’s all her own.
As comparatively little is known about this time in history, the novel is fairly well researched. Liberties have been taken, timelines altered - after all, it is fiction - but the historical details still provide a rich world to fall into. The strongest element of this novel is the developed and complicated relationship between two sisters with vastly different futures. While Nefertiti is proud, dangerously beautiful, clever, and an overall force to be reckoned with, Mutnodjmet provides a relatable foil. She's contemplative, intelligent, and values peace, nature, and harmony. Through her eyes, the reader is able to love the sometimes vicious and self-absorbed Nefertiti as one would love a sister, seeing her faults full on but loving her despite them.
While I enjoyed the plot and setting of this novel, the writing itself felt somewhat juvenile and simple. The story had a slow build, and didn't really hit its stride until halfway through. These flaws aside, the heart of the story made for a compelling read.