A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has…
A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capitol city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.
But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.
This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.
This is the story of Queen Esther.
Esther has always been one of the more badass biblical babes that I liked as a kid, and I really loathed sunday school. So I thought, Hey why not request this from Net Galley? It wasn’t printed by a Christian publisher and the author acknowledges that she is Jewish so what the hell, let’s give it a whirl.
I’m also really vain when it comes to book covers so I’d be lying if said the cover didn’t catch my attention in the first place. It really is a striking cover. Although honestly, if you have a piercing portrait like this on the cover that really engages with me as a reader/viewer, you can be 10000% certain that I will pay attention!!!
This book was surprisingly addicting!! I say surprising because I honestly did not expect to get sucked into what essentially is a Fan Fiction of a bible story. And as far as I can remember, it sticks pretty closely to the original story too. Then again the original is still pretty dang juicy as far as bible stories go so I don’t think it needed that much padding anyway. Not that this novel did!
It’s also really visual in that the descriptions are really well done and really allow you to immerse yourself as much as possible. All the minor characters, at least in my opinions, are really fleshed out too. The main characters aren’t too out of place either. Definitely worthwhile for a lover of historical fiction.
There are a lot of palace politics involved in the story and it takes probably like a good 60% of the book. But it’s not like BBC royal period drama level of politics. Mostly a lot of learning how Esther needs to think and present herself and behave if she wants to be queen and save her people.
When I first started reading it, I ended up devouring like half the book in one lie down! So that’s like 3 hours or so before sleeping in bed. I’m not a fast reader… (That’s about 200 pages for those of you keeping track at home.)
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WARNING: There is a sex scene a little more than half way through (55%) and about 3/4s through (72%) and thankfully neither are too graphic. I kinda dislike reading sex scenes because they are almost always so corny and just make me laugh and ruin the tone of the story for me. On top of that, they are unnecessary!
Why did they need to bump uglies??? Was it just for fun???? Or did it actually help progress the narrative?!??? I DON’T WANNA READ THAT SHIT. JUST GIVE ME THE STORY GAWD. THIS IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR!!! Unless the book has been labeled as like a “vaginal fantasy” or a romance book or whatever, then I know what it entails and I will likely not read it. Like a soup can you know? If it is labelled tomato I expect just a tomato soup. Not added mushroom bits or spiced with chili. Tell me if it has that inside. I don’t like those kind of surprises.
I’m not asking for a blow by blow summary, just want to be warned of specific events that could be boring for me or triggering for others, y’know?
Anyway, these were none of the above as they ended as quickly as they arrived and were actually necessary to the plot seeing as it is talked about from the very start of the novel.
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Honestly this book was such a surprise to me. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I mean, it is a biblical retelling and the only other one I have ever liked was The Prince of Egypt!! And the Rugrats Special.
But still! This was so fun to read and so engaging!! It had consistent dialogue and it wasn’t too out of character or out of place either. I mean as much as you can for a story set in 770 BC in Ancient Persia. I totally thought the side plot would end predictably and even though it kinda did, it wasn’t as illustrated as I thought it would be. Which I feel was much better!! Better as it was part of the story, it wasn’t entirely necessary so to fully illustrate it would have been excessive, in my opinion.
I’m giving this book a 4 not a 5 rating because I can’t see myself re-reading it or being like, HEY YOU! YEAH YOU CROSSING THE STREET! YOU NEED TO READ THIS! But it’s definitely a book I’d recommend to fans of historical fiction or someone who enjoys reading about famous historical people (that have artistic liberties taken with them). Also other Jews like myself who are tired of reading about stories set in 1912 – 1945 that are super tragic, ya feel me???
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ESTHER: 4 Books!
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