The premise of The Eye of Nefertiti by Maria Luisa Lang initially intrigued me. A time-traveling, Ancient Egyptian cat is the protagonist in this novel. I thought that reading a book from the perspective of a cat might prove intriguing. This story had interesting potential, but I’m sad to say that it disappointed me.
Title: The Eye of Nefertiti
Author: Maria Luisa Lang
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Published: November 29th, 2016 by Maria Luisa Lang
Goodreads description for The Eye of Nefertiti:
The Eye of Nefertiti is both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat. The time-traveling ancient Egyptian feline with human powers returns together with his beloved Pharaoh and his close friends, the High Priest of Amun-Ra and Elena, an Egyptologist’s daughter.
The cat is quick-witted, wise-cracking narrator as well as free-spirited, ever-curious protagonist, and the story he tells is an exotic, imaginative, spell-binding tragicomedy. The cat travels from present-day New York City to England, both ancient and modern, then to ancient Egypt, where he confronts a horrible demon and experiences a sublime emotion. Once back in England, he descends into a psychological abyss so deep only the Pharaoh can save him.
The Eye of Nefertiti interweaves feline and human, past and present, natural and supernatural. It contains numerous surprises, twists and turns, intriguing characters, both human and animal, fascinating revelations about ancient Egyptian history and culture, and an ingenious application of the Tarot and an Italian opera.
About: Maria Luisa Lang
“Maria Luisa Lang was born in Rome, Italy, and lives in New York City. She has a degree in art history and is an amateur Egyptologist. The Eye of Nefertiti is her second novel. Her first novel, The Pharaoh’s Cat, is also available on Amazon in paperback and in a Kindle edition.”
My Review for The Eye of Nefertiti:
The plot of The Eye of Nefertiti was very straightforward. The story follows Wrappa-Hamen, and his experience after his owner/friend tells his fortune. It’s a little weird to think of cats, or animals, as having “fates”. However, Wrappa-Hamen received human capabilities, so I suppose that means he received a human “fate” as well. After hearing his fortune, the story follows the pattern that the fortune laid out.
The fortune promised to be an interesting and exciting adventure. In reality, the book was full of irrelevant description, setting information, and mini side-plots that did not add to the overall plot of the book.
The back cover of The Eye of Nefertiti describes the book as “both a stand-alone novel and a sequel to The Pharaoh’s Cat“, another novel by Maria Luisa Lang. I disagree with this. The first several pages of the book recapped all of the events that presumably occurred in the prequel. It was a total info-dump, and throughout the book I didn’t feel much of the strong connection to the characters that the protagonist, Wrappa-Hamen, felt. Because of that, I could not relate when the cat would express his feelings towards these characters. I did not have as much exposure to them as I would have had if I had previously read The Pharaoh’s Cat. Because of that, this book felt much more like jumping into the middle of a series.
The main character, as mentioned before, is the cat Wrappa-Hamen. It disappointed me to find that reading through a cat’s point of view, in Lang’s writing, felt no different.
The cat’s companion, another Ancient Egyptian time-traveler, was the High Priest. He struck me as a kind of comic-relief character, someone who didn’t quite fit in with the modern era. Plus, he was a book lover, which makes him more relatable.
One character that Wrappa-Hamen really chalked up was the baby reincarnation of the Pharaoh. The cat Wrappa-Hamen could not stop talking him up, but because he was just a child the readers did not get to experience any of his awesome-ness.
There was no proper antagonist/villain in this story. The only figure who counted as the antagonist/villain appeared only right at the end of the story, and just briefly. I love a good villain in every story, so this was a huge let-down for me.
While this book is short, roughly 200 pages, the pacing felt very slow. This was because the action in the story was not fast-paced. As mentioned before, The Eye of Nefertiti is filled with unnecessary details and sub-plots that did not always add to the story. Considering this book is very short, I have to assume that Lang was running out of ideas before she hit her intended word count for the story. And as a result, BOOM. Filler.
Despite my best efforts, I could not tell who the intended audience of this book was. Of course no one can relate directly to a cat, so I looked to the personality. The cat was fat, lazy, loved to drink, and was obsessed with female beauty/physique (to the point that it was a little weird hearing it coming from a cat). Wrappa-Hamen was dramatic, but fell in love with every human he met very quickly. All in all, I personally couldn’t think of any reader in my life who would find this cat entirely relatable.
There were grammar and spelling mistakes as well. In general, I felt as though this book could have done with another editing sweep-through. Going along with the dramatic cat, there were lots of exclamation marks and, well, general exclamations that I thought could have been eliminated.
For a while, I thought that this book might be intended for an audience that was interested in time travel/Ancient Egyptian history. But this story neither went into detail about much of the time-traveling experience, nor explored many different places/time periods to any extent, nor gave any real history on Ancient Egypt.
The book had some redeeming moments. At time, the text was funny and there was amusing banter. But overall, that was not enough to save the book.
I give The Eye of Nefertiti 1.5/5 stars.
Have you read this novel? Have you read any novels from the perspective of an animal? How was the experience different/successful/not successful to you? I would love to know what your thoughts on this subject are.
*Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free by Maria Luisa Lang in exchange for an honest review.
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