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Book Review: Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow is a thrilling novel full of horror and passion. The story follows two characters: Dominika, a Russian, and Nate, an American — both tangled in the dangerous world of spying for opposing countries.

Dominika is dedicated, passionate, thrill-seeking, and short-tempered. And Nate is a fiery man who is very clever and intelligent. He is more logical and levelheaded, although still has a deep heart.

Dominika was born with a special gift: her extraordinary vision that lets her see the color of people’s auras. When music plays, she can see distinct notes right in front of her eyes. Her ability to see music is what makes her such a talented dancer.

“Dominika gravely explained that when the music played, or when her father read aloud to her, colors would fill the room. Different colors, some bright, some dark, sometimes they ‘jumped in the air’ and all Dominika had to do was follow them. It was how she could remember so much.”

After graduating high school with a particular admiration for history and political debates (due to her strong patriotism,) she attends ballet school in pursuit of becoming a professional ballerina. However, Dominika’s career plans are halted when a jealous couple on the team plots to break her leg, thus destroying her capabilities as a dancer.

“In young adulthood she had learned to cope with the buistvo, the mounting rage, but now she let it grow, tasted it in her throat.”

Following the tragic, sudden death of her father, Dominika is approached by her uncle  with an offer to essentially become a Russian spy. Desperate and lost, Dominika feels she has no choice now but to accept. From here on, her loyalty will be tested: to her country, to her family, to her dignity and principles, and most importantly to her own self.

Dominika attends Sparrow School, where she trains to become an official “sparrow.” Here, is where she is taught in depth about the art of seduction. Sparrows use not just their bodies, but their magical charm and quick wit, to gain precious information for the Russian government.

“This school, this mansion secluded behind walls topped with broken glass, was an engine of the State that institutionalized and dehumanized love. It didn’t count… it was training, like ballet school.”

The trials and tribulations Dominika goes through prove her strength, as the harsh reality sinks in that being strong is her only option if she wants to survive. Too late to back out now. At one point she witnesses a man get brutally, painfully murdered, as his blood spats on her body.

Finally, Dominka meets Nate, her next assignment. Nate seems to always have a deep purple aura, presenting honesty and calmness. Her mission is to recruit him for Russia, while Nate has a counter-mission to recruit Dominika for the USA.

“Dominika played it slow, indifferent. She was correct, reserved, a conscious counterbalance to his shambling American informality. She constantly told herself not to be so nervous. When he looked at her she knew from his expression that he was unsuspecting. He doesn’t know what this is, she thought with a thrill. The CIA officer doesn’t know who he’s up against.”

Although Dominika is successful at capturing Nate’s attention, she quickly realizes that he is different from anyone else. Her feelings build, yet her loyalty to Russia remains firm. As the two get to know each other, Nate notices how triggered and defensive she is when criticism of the Russian government comes up.

“God, she’s serious, thought Nate. Typical Russian, afraid of putting a foot wrong. But he liked her reserve, her underlying sensuality, the way she looked at him with her blue eyes. He especially liked the way she pronounced his name, ‘Neyt.'”

It is not long before Dominika questions the intentions of her team. The murder of an older fellow sparrow, who she saw as her future-self, is the final straw. Dominika can no longer hide her fury as she goes on another date with Nate. At this point, she realizes that she actually has more trust for this American stranger than she does for her own country, even her own family — most especially her evil uncle. And so, she confesses her identity to Nate, who in turn tells her to join his team.

“It’s just that you should learn to get high on something other than adrenaline,’ he said.

“‘You mean like wine?’ she said, and threw the wineglass against the wall. ‘No, thank you. I prefer adrenaline.'”

At this point, the trouble has only just begun. The pair work well together with a rare, strong sense of trust in one another. Still — they know that they cannot let their passion for each other get in the way. Yet of course, passion persists and finds a way to make things very messy…

I really enjoyed this book. This lengthy nearly-600-pager took me a while to finish, although I’m a slow reader anyway. There were some parts that seemed drawn out and skippable. But there were also many parts that had my eyes glued to the pages. The story is intense and shocking.

***Photos used from the adapted film***

Book Review: “Legendary Ladies” by Ann Shen

I recently added a new book to my collection called “Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You.” It goes over many famous goddesses from mythologies of all origins. Each goddess comes with a synopsis that includes her story, her characteristics, and what she represents. It also has beautiful illustrations. These ladies are categorized into specific themes: creativity & manifestation, love, power, protection, and reinvention.

Studying the famous women from ancient mythology can give females a sense of empowerment, observing the value of the divine feminine that our patriarchal society suppresses. It is a wonder that these stories have survived throughout the ages, stories that acknowledge that both men and women are powerful creatures and how masculine cannot exist without the feminine. In our current age, many people think of it as “taboo” for a woman to have any sort of power or respect — because these are supposedly “masculine traits.” Just recently in the past few decades have women been able to reclaim equality, however if you go way, way back in history you will understand how much of an impact the feminine spirit made before suffering through oppression.

Here are some of my favorite goddesses from this book:

  • Athena — Greek goddess of wisdom, arts, and war. She is the triple threat. Her story explains why an olive branch is representative of a peace offering. Call on her to strategize winning a battle.
  • Ran — Norse goddess of the sea. This goddess is a MERMAID! Sailors kept gold in their pockets for protection so that she would steal their gold instead of their souls.
  • Spider Woman — Native American grandmother whose real name is too sacred to reveal. She created the directions north, south, east, and west by spinning a web and connecting everything together.
  • Aphrodite — Greek goddess of love, possibly one of the most well-known to this day. She was born from sea foam and rose out of a shell (as portrayed in many famous artworks.) She had many lovers including Ares, the god of war, who enviously struck down Adonis — a mortal who she fell for. Sympathizing, Zeus allowed Adonis to live half his time on Earth with Aphrodite and the other half in the Underworld.
  • Freya — Norse goddess of love and death. She rides around on a chariot pulled by CATS! She is very beautiful, lusts after pleasure, and once prostituted herself to four dwarves in exchange for an amber necklace. She represents ambition and determination.
  • Isis — Egyptian goddess of magic. Her great generosity and desire to help others is shown through her stories of teaching humans how to make bread and use plants medicinally. She was able to perform miracles by healing the sick and giving fertility. Her most famous story is the one of Isis & Osiris: jealous Set murdered Osiris and cut his body into several pieces. Distraught, Isis transformed into a falcon and was able to find every piece expect one very important part that she had to form herself with gold. With her magical abilities she was able to breathe him back to life.
  • Laka — Hawaiian goddess of love and wilderness. She invented the hula dance and also invented a way of telling stories through dance. Rain is very sacred to this goddess, as the god Lono united with her in the form of a rainbow.
  • Artemis — Greek goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and moon. She is strong and independent.
  • Kali — Hindu goddess of destruction. She represents time, darkness, and uncontrollable chaos. Seemingly scary and intimidating at first, she is not “bad” at all, but misunderstood. Kali transcends fear by facing it head-on.
  • Bast (or Bastet) — Egyptian cat goddess. She is ruler of magic, pleasure, and intimacy. She adores laughter and uses humor to grieve and heal.

Forbidden Knowledge

Alice was a librarian. Her large, round glasses started to fog up every time her favorite customer came by. He did not even look like a bookworm, but she was noticing his presence becoming more frequent. He moved with such purpose that she questioned if he was aware of it or not. He suddenly turned and raised his eyebrows with a slight grin as he noticed her watching him intently. He seemed to be flustered: taken aback by her attention. She wasn’t sure if he was flattered or nervous, perhaps both…

Alice soon became desperate. Every cell in her body wanted to get closer to him but every cell in her brain gave her reasons not to. She decided to lean on the one thing she always turned to for help — books. Working at a library had its pluses, one of them being able to spend an entire day dedicated to reading. She devoted herself to the “romance” section. Every love novel she nosed through seemed to be full of clichés and unrealistic expectations. She decided to forgo the fiction.

Focusing instead on nonfiction, she found an endless supply of magazines full of “love tips” and “beauty secrets,” but everything lacked substance. She learned about appealing perfumes she could wear, types of clothing that flattered her body, and even a few pickup lines she could try out. However, she felt like she was dealing with something so much deeper than that, so she continued searching the library for something that would call out to her.

Alice browsed every genre: art, education, medical, history, science, self-help, and so-on. It was hopeless. She was not sure exactly what she was looking for, she only knew that once she found it — she would know. And then it hit her: the attic. There were always whispers and gossip among co-workers about “the secret attic,” full of forbidden books that have been untouched for decades. It could give her the answers she needed. Normally she would never be foolish enough to risk breaking into the attic, but lately her mind had been tugging on itself, desperately nagging at her to do something, but what?

The next morning, Alice arrived to work much earlier than usual, before anyone else. She ran straight towards the upstairs and climbed a latter that lead her to a small door. Cautiously placing her hand on the knob, she let out a heavy sigh to learn it was locked. Determined, she searched the area for a key and immediately found one conveniently hanging right above the door. She unlocked it, slipped the key in her pocket, and then locked the door shut behind her — just in case.

Trapped in darkness, she had to use her phone as a flashlight just to see anything. Luckily she found a light switch right away. Flicking it on, her eyes widened at the extensive collection of dusty books that clearly came from a time before hers. Her curious heart pounded at the thought of uncovering ancient knowledge that had become forbidden to most of the modern world. Feeling overwhelmed, she didn’t know where to start. There were so many shelves. She slowly strolled down the aisles until she noticed a small chest. Opening it up, she discovered a letter written in script. The paper was crinkly and the ink was faded, so it must be quite old. She read the letter in her head.

My dearest,

I am hoping you receive this message, although I am unsure if you will. I need your advice. I need your assurance. I need you.

You told me to move on, yet you were so upset when I tried moving forward. Perhaps it’s because you could see me internally moving backwards.

It took me too long to see what I really needed. Why couldn’t you have directly told me what I needed to do, instead of acting out and waiting for me to read between the lines? Perhaps it’s because you knew it was something I needed to come to terms with on my own. You know that the heaviness of a person’s choice should never be placed on the shoulders of someone else.

Will you give me a chance? If I cannot spend forever with you, let me spend a day with you. If I cannot spend a day with you, let me spend a night with you. If I cannot spend a night with you, let me have a dance with you. And if I cannot have a dance with you, let me hold you for just a second.

Would you ever let me be yours? If I cannot be your partner, have me as your sidekick. If you do not want me as a sidekick, let me be your obedient. If you do not want me as your obedient, let me be your friend. And if I cannot be your friend, please have one dance with me and hold me in your arms for just a second.

Love always, xoxo.

“Wow,” Alice thought to herself, “this is nuts.” She began to see what else was hiding in the chest until suddenly she heard a noise. It sounded like someone was unlocking the door. Panicked, Alice threw the chest back where she found it and ran to the corner and hid behind a large bookshelf. Her heart was racing as she heard footsteps coming closer. She dreaded the thought of getting caught. And then the footsteps stopped.

Alice peered through the hole of the tall bookshelf to see who it was. She could not believe her eyes when she saw it was him, that guy she keeps noticing.

To be continued…

The Scarlet Letter

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

Hello, my name is Hester Prynne.

I have a story to tell. The scarlet letter “A” that I bare on my chest speaks for itself. What was intended to be a symbol of sin and punishment, has transformed into a symbol of strength.

During the lonely days when my husband traveled far on a quest to satisfy his thirst for knowledge, I found myself tangled in a love affair with my minister. God was always watching. And perhaps He had forgiven me, for sending me the miracle of life.

The people did not forgive me, however. I was locked away until the birth of my child, Pearl, and then stranded to live a life of seclusion from society. The dirty looks, the judgement, the whispers… as much as I knew I deserved it, the suffering was unbearable. No one spoke to me. The bright scarlet letter “A” had haunted me.

My child was the one thing that no one could ever take away from me. They could outcast me, they could strip me of my dignity, but they could never take away my little Pearl. They called her a demon child, an incarnation of Satan. She hissed at the strangers who casted judgement upon us. And still, I knew she had come from thy heavenly Father. As mischievous as this wild one was, there was something inside of her that proved to be angelic.

It was painful to watch the minister from a distance continue living his holy life in peace. My secrecy protected him… I carried the entire weight of both of our sins… or so it seemed. I had been yet to learn that he had carved a letter “A” on his chest that revealed scarlet red blood. Clutching his hand against his heart became a reflex. He was in fact a tortured soul. It turns out, I wore my sorrows on the outside while he wore them on the inside.

Time went on and I proved myself to be noble. I learned that the human heart is forgiving, and people would generally rather choose love over hatred. The nasty gossip gradually turned into positive comments. Some said my “A” should stand for “Able,” representing how I am able to prove myself. However, the minister was still left to suffer in silence.

Seven years had gone by before I met with the minister in the woods and we discussed everything. It was then, when I revealed to him that his trusted physician was actually my vengeful husband in disguise. He was yet another tortured soul, yet sin was heaviest in his heart, because he was seeking revenge. And so the minister and I made a plan to run away together. He would know his daughter, our little Pearl. The three of us could finally escape our misery and start over. We saw a scarlet red “A” appear in the sky, as if it was a direct message from God Himself!

The whole thing felt like a dream, that night in the woods. In a few days he would deliver his final speech as a minister and then reveal himself to the world. And so, he gave the most inspiring speech you could have ever imagined. The three of us held hands for everyone to see. There was such strong, intense, life-consuming energy in that moment. So powerful that it took my lover’s life away. In his final moment, he thanked God for the chance to make his peace before reaching Heaven’s gate.

I recently reread “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I first read it in high school English class and for some reason I have always felt really drawn to the story. I am typically not a huge fan of the classics, but this one stands out to me. I like the paradox of the nature of Hester Prynne’s character: how she is nonconformist yet submissive at the same time. The way she handles her punishment is graceful. She is strong enough to refuse revealing who Pearl’s father is, and still she dutifully wears her “A” without bargaining or self-pity. I think what amazes me most is how a piece of writing from the 1800s, based on the 1600s, can still be relatable today. It’s universal. It really says so much about society and the nature of heart.

Check out my book collection

Occasionally, I like to go out on the weekend. Maybe go into Philly or travel to another state, usually for concerts. The only bars I really like are the ones with live music and dancing. But I actually try not to drink too much — to save it for special occasions here and there — to not make a habit of it. A lot of my time is spent staying in to find some peace and quiet. I need time to unplug and recharge or else I will burn out easily. I like to do a lot of thinking. Mainly when I stay in, I like to either read books or look up new books to buy. I am a huge bookworm but my problem is that once I start a book it’s always difficult for me to finish it without getting distracted by another book. My preferred genre is non-fiction, although I can still appreciate a good novel, but most of my collection involves science or history. I also love the hippie-dippy new age-y stuff that I personally classify as non-fiction but I guess some would call it fictitious.

Here are some examples from my collection…

Milk and honey

This is a book of poems, most of them very short. All of the poems together tell a story of heavy past traumas coming to the surface and finding the strength to heal. Some of them are terribly sad and upsetting, some of them are positively lovely. Anyone who can relate to them will find comfort.

Harley Quinn: Volume 1 – Hot in the City

This happens to be the first and only comic book I have ever owned. I think I would have enjoyed comic books more in my earlier years if they were not all completely tailored for boys. Now comic books are becoming more inclusive and finally focusing more on the kickass female characters. This story follows sexy super villain Harley Quinn through Brooklyn, NY and… I don’t wanna give any spoilers, so I’ll just say it’s both action-packed and hysterical, and I definitely plan on getting the next volumes. Also totally interested in reading about Poison Ivy’s story.

A Street Cat Named Bob

You know that when I saw a book with a cat’s face on the cover, I just had to get it! (And this hippie-looking dude holding the cat on the back cover…) I have only started this book, but so far it is a very precious story. A stray cat walks into an aspiring musician’s life, and things will never be the same… a love story for the ages…

Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden

This is a great book to read for whenever you are feeling anxious. Author Karen Maezen Miller moves into a new home with a century-old Japanese garden, and looks to the garden for insight and introspection. The garden carries so many metaphors for life lessons. It is such a peaceful book, something to read on a rainy Sunday morning with a cup of hot tea.

The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide

I can’t believe I found this gem at a dollar store! This treasure contains natural remedies for practically anything that gives you anxiety: traffic jams, waiting, giving bad news, physical ailments (such as hangover, bloating, PMS, insomnia, and muscle soreness), negative emotions (such as anger, guilt, forgetfulness, indecision, crankiness, or feeling stuck in a rut), moving homes, or losing a loved one. Remedies typically involve some sort of exercise, or breathing pattern, or simple recipe.

Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures

This is an animal behavior book, each chapter discussing the intelligent and unique traits of different species. It shows how animal behavior research has proven that all animals, even “lesser” species, have full cognitive functions that for a long time were only seen as exclusive to human beings. They have memories, feel emotions, and want to be loved just like us.

Food of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge

Author Terence McKenna was a very, very interesting man with a lot of very, very interesting things to say. He has countless speeches and essays that will really screw with your perception. In this book, he proposes that the psychedelic plants are the missing link in human evolution — that they are the reason for the sudden growth of consciousness. He discusses the ancient practice of entheogen use in shamanic societies. Our current modern society is hooked on caffeine, sugar, and synthetic street drugs — substances that are draining us and killing many. If our society instead turned to substances that are designed to heal us when used properly, we could experience that deep healing we truly need.

The Mysteries of Isis: Her Worship and Magick

Isis is the ancient Egyptian goddess, worshipped by many for over 6,000 years. The story of Isis, Osiris, & Horus is the most famous Egyptian myth. There are many links between Isis / Horus and the Christian story of Virgin Mary / Jesus Christ. In Greco-Roman mythology, Isis is linked to Venus or Aphrodite. She is goddess of love, fertility, nature, healing, justice… basically everything. I’m really interested in her history and all of the occult mysteries surrounding her.

Goddess Aloud! Transforming Your World Through Rituals & Mantras

This book explores several ancient mythical goddesses, their stories, and how to draw inspiration from them in order to empower your life and find your voice. Goddesses include Pax the Roman goddess of peace, Isis the Egyptian goddess of magic and motherhood, Venus the Roman goddess of love, Mary Magdalene the Christian sacred prostitute, Sunna the Norse light-bringer of hope, and so on. This is especially empowering for women, seeing how the feminine energy has influenced humankind since the dawn of man.

To be continued…

Book Review: “Antony and Cleopatra” by Adrian Goldsworthy


The story of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII is captivating and still fascinates us to this day. It is intense and dramatic. However, the story is filled with myths and loopholes that will make you sincerely question what the truth is.

Once I became interested in the legendary romance of Antony & Cleopatra, I decided to do as much Internet research as I possibly could. I reached the point where I felt like the same few facts (or theories) were being told to me over and over again. At this point, I concluded that if I wanted real, deep information, I would have to purchase a book about it.

Browsing through Amazon.com, I found practically hundreds of books about the love story. It turns out I’m not the only one who is interested. To my dismay, most of these books were filled with fiction in order to piece together missing information and create more drama. These types of books are fun, but I was looking for something different; I wanted facts.

Adrian Goldworthy is not just an author, but also a true historian who knows how to conduct thorough research. “Antony and Cleopatra” certainly satisfied my thirst for knowledge. His style of writing is extremely straightforward, fact-based, and unbiased. This is exactly what I was looking for.

I was remarkably impressed that the story begins even hundreds of years before Antony and Cleopatra’s time. Right away, I knew this book was going to be chuck-full of detail. I did not expect to learn so much about Alexander the Great (who lived around 300 B.C. – meanwhile Cleopatra was not born until 69 B.C.), who actually plays an important role in the story.

The book takes you into the family history of both Antony and Cleopatra, as well as their childhoods. Unfortunately, most of Cleopatra’s childhood is unknown, up until her 18th birthday when she becomes queen.

It was enjoyable to learn about the way Antony was raised, which reveals a lot about how most Roman boys were raised during that time. I was shocked to find so many similarities between the childhoods of ancient Romans verses modern-day Americans. The children went to school and were taught several subjects such as mathematics, history, literature, and P.E. (although I’m sure that Antony’s fitness routines were much more vigorous than your typical high school gym class). History lessons during ancient times focused heavily on family history as apposed to general history. I should also note that in ancient times, only those were fortunate enough to be born into a wealthy/political family received formal education, while the poor were illiterate. Unfortunately, to this day, those living in poverty are still much less educated than those with money.

It is stunning to realize that society has hardly changed in the past couple thousands of years. By the time a Roman man turned about 18-years old, he moved out of his parents’ home and rented an apartment. Sound familiar? Also, it was expected of men around that age to be a little irresponsible and engage in promiscuous activities such as drinking and gambling, however they were expected to grow out of this phase at some point. Even sons of important political figures such as Antony were granted the right to be young and crazy. In fact, Antony collected some serious debt during his 20s.

Antony claimed to be a descendant of Hercules and therefore was incredibly proud of his physique. More specifically, he was proud of his legs. While Caesar started the trend of wearing long togas that reached the floor, Antony rebelled by wearing a tight belt and pulling up his toga to show off his impressively muscular legs.

I was definitely disappointed to miss out on Cleopatra’s childhood. It is suggested that she received extensive formal education, including history of the Ptolemy family tree, and several languages that included Greek and Egyptian. We also know that she traveled alongside her father during her youth while he faced a period of exile. She was around 11-years old during this time.

Although we remember Cleopatra as the queen of Egypt, she was in fact of Macedonian (Greek) descent. Scholars debate her ethnicity because there is no concrete proof over who her mother was. We picture her with dark hair and skin, yet it is entirely possible that she was fair skinned with blonde or red hair. If her mother was indeed Macedonian like her father, then she would undoubtedly have a light complexion. Because of the lack of proof of who her mother was, scholars still debate Cleopatra’s looks. The author makes a point that we should not be so concerned with what she looked like, but rather what she did and who she was.

Cleopatra is famous for her beauty. The author suggests that it was not her looks – but her charm and aura – that made her so attractive. She was an ambitious leader who used her powerful charisma to get what she wanted. Sibling rivalry was not uncommon for royal families. Cleopatra fought with her siblings for power and won. Egypt was perhaps the least sexist ancient society; women had many rights, including the right to own land. Sadly, Cleopatra was still expected to marry her younger brother and be co-rulers. But sexism did not halt her desire for ultimate power; her brother ended up poisoned and killed when once started getting in her way.

Goldsworthy does not leave out the affair between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. He points out that the affair was far more political than romantic. Most likely the two used each other as pawns to gain more power. There had been controversy over their son, whether or not he was truly related to Caesar. The son had been nicknamed Caezarian (or “Little Caesar”). In my opinion, I believe he is most likely the legitimate son of the pair.

Cleopatra co-ruled Egypt with her son, who was too young to give orders. He would become a great threat to Octavian’s power after the stabbing of Caesar. Following Caesar’s death, Octavian (Caesar’s nephew and adopted son) claimed power over Rome and sought to eventually conquer Egypt.

Finally, about halfway through the book, we read about the union between Antony and Cleopatra. The romance was heavily filled with war and politics, which I mainly skipped over because it bored me. My favorite parts were the little details about their relationship and the silly things they would do together. It’s the kind of stuff you won’t find in a school textbook.

The couple spent the winter of 41-40 B.C. together in Alexandria, Egypt. This time was perhaps the peak of their romance. Antony taught Cleopatra how to go fishing and hunt while horseback riding (quite impressive for a queen). They formed a club with friends called “The Inimitable Livers.” Their feasts were extravagant and they typically ate less than a quarter of the large amounts of food being served to them. The funniest part: the group of friends enjoyed wandering the streets of Alexandria at night, dressed in shabby rugs, pretending to be slaves. Apparently their disguises were unconvincing, but people were happy to “play along” with them. Antony would pick fights with people in the streets and sometimes came home with bruises.

Unfortunately, Antony had to leave Egypt and he would not see Cleopatra for three and a half years. Luckily they ended up reuniting and Cleopatra bore twins: Alexander Helios (“sun”) and Cleopatra Selene (“moon”). Later in time, they would have a third child together as well.

The finale of Antony & Cleopatra’s romance is painfully tragic. In fact, it inspired Shakespeare to write a play about them; it may have also been a source of inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. After hearing the (fake) news that Cleopatra had killed herself once Antony lost a great battle against Octavian, he stabbed himself with a sword. Moments before dying, he found Cleopatra… but by then it had been too late. Afterwards, Cleopatra had a discussion with Octavian, who was not impressed by her charm and therefore did not give her the power she needed from him. Following their talk, Cleopatra joined her lover in the afterlife by committing suicide as well. Goldsworthy points out that her method of death is unknown. The most common myth is that she died of snakebite; however it is much more likely she died from a poison.

The fate of Cleopatra’s offspring remains a mystery. Historical records of Caezarian are vanished after the death of his mother. With Octavian being so threatened of Little Caesar, it is likely that he had him murdered. And if not murdered, then he must have run away. The longest (known) surviving offspring is Cleopatra Selene, who ended up marrying and having children of her own. From there, the Cleopatra/Antony lineage is lost.

I have to agree with the author of Antony and Cleopatra, who argues that this love story is so intense and dramatic that it does not need added fictitious details to entertain an audience. Simply reading the facts is enough of a thrill. (Having said that, there is nothing wrong with using a bit of imagination to build a more solid story.) If you are like me, and hoping to learn more about Antony and Cleopatra, sorting out myth verses fact, then I highly recommend this book. You will most likely skim a few of the chapters, skip a few of the pages, or reread certain lines – there is no right or wrong way to read a nonfiction text. Whether you are drawn to the story because of the politics and the war, or the romance and the drama, this book is for you!


Overall rating: 5/5 stars