I was ecstatic about reading this book, as a fan of Cleopatra, vampires, and historical fantasy. When I started it, things were looking up. I was following the traditional story of Cleopatra's and Marc Antony's demise, and I was impressed with how the author was weaving her version into how things really happened. All the way into the "tomb scene" I stayed impressed (if you know anything about A & C's love story you'll know what I'm talking about)...
Then, about halfway through, I started to get disgruntled. It's difficult to explain, but I think if you're a Pride and Prejudice fan and you've seen the miniseries "Lost in Austen" you'll understand what I mean. There you are, in the midst of characters you know inside and out, in the midst of situations you're totally comfortable with, and BAM! Suddenly you're lost. What happened to the story I know and love?!
It was like that for me. Making Cleopatra in no way in control of her situation felt totally wrong to me, as we know that she was a master of her surroundings and how to make things work for her. Now, in this setting, she's a slave to her blood-thirst and to the goddess Sekhmet (which is bad, fyi). Also, her husband Antony, (who's dead, but not like, DEAD-dead, as you've probably guessed) was a little too, I don't know, PERFECT for me. As we know from history, he wasn't exactly as much of a "hero" at the end of his life as he would've liked. While Headley hints at this in her book, she makes him a little too much of a romance hero-type for my liking. This story is from Cleopatra's POV, however, so that makes me a little more willing to overlook this change. In any case, the love story is postively heart-wrenching.
Towards the latter half of the book, I decided to let go of my preconceived notions of how I expected the story to unfold, and let myself enjoy the ride. It was exactly what I needed to do to find enjoyment in the story. It ended on a grand, epic scale, as expected, and left room for a sequel, which I, for one, will be picking up.