When I started writing my Egypt story, I did do a check on other children’s fiction set in Ancient Egypt and somehow I completely missed this series by Catherine Fisher, starting with
The Oracle. Luckily then, Fisher’s series seems to be set in completely different part, era and religious system, than my story. My story is set in Thebes, during the Middle Kingdom (when they were burying people in the Valley of the Kings). Fisher’s series is set in Upper Egypt, near the sea, they worship just one god who is represented in bodily form by the Archon and they bury people in tombs under their City of the Dead. Now I’m no Egyptologist (and how I wish I was) and I’ve only researched Middle Kingdom Thebes, so reliant on only a quick Google search just now and I think Fisher has set her story in a cross between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. I wish I’d set my story somewhere that unspecific, I’ve spent the entire time writing my story, paranoid about historical detail.
Anyway, as for The Oracle itself, it starts brilliantly, with the main character carrying a heavy brass bowl full of scorpions about to scurry out on to her arms at any moment. Then it lost my attention for a bit, which I think can be a problem when starting anything out with such an exciting scene because you’ve either got to top that or let it go, by comparison, a bit dull. But the story did pick up again, with a good dose of conspiracy, grave robbing, religious mythology and a bit of tunnel action (which is in my story to actually, I can’t resist tunnels), as the main characters race to get the rightful Archon in place.
So, in the end I really enjoyed this story, except it’s now made me more paranoid / more realistic (take your pick) that my Egypt story, in comparison, is completely and utterly rubbish. In my story, my characters are too 2D (which I had realised was a problem), in my story the characters are there for the story to happen to, they in no way really drive the story, my story isn’t atmospheric enough because try as I might to describe Egypt, I ain’t been there and finally my story is far too linear, it needs more strands. However, I am still confident that I have the basis of a good story and my priority is still to have the first draft finished before the summer holidays and then I can start at the beginning again and do some heavy editing.