My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Alternate History Urban Fantasy/ Mythology
Age Category: New Adult
Type of romance: MF
When Ani becomes the first apprentice to be blessed by Anubis in decades, she finds herself thrown into a world she never expected to be part of.
A normal day in the Temple of Anubis includes mummies, priesthood politics, and a dash of magic, and that’s more than enough for the only female apprentice to deal with. Especially when things are only complicated by Ani’s rivalry with the High Priest’s son, and the sudden appearance of the next in line to the throne.
But when Ani uncovers a plot that could bring the temple to its knees if it was discovered, she’s forced into something she never wanted to be part of.
Can she stop the plot before it’s too late?
I hadn’t read any of Laura Greenwood’s Egypt themed books yet, despite reading a bunch of her books by now, and I wanted to give one of Egypt themed books a try so I picked up this book. Apprentice of the Dead is the first book in this series where Ani becomes and apprentice for the god Anubis in a world where the Egyptian empire never fell. I really liked the unique and fresh vibe of this book with the Egyptian empire never falling and the world looked very differently due to that. I liked reading about Ani and her familiar Matia and spending time in this world.
The book starts right in the middle of things as Ani has the choosing ceremony where it will be decided which temple she joins, much to her delight she gets picked by the sacred Jackal animal which makes her an apprentice of Anubis. I liked seeing how she started at the temple and it felt a bit like the start at an academy, but then very different subject matter, which was interesting. Until I realized that Anubis is the god of the dead and the dead in this case means she’s working with corpses. And has to know things like embalming, cleaning up messes and even mummification later on in her studies. I am quite squeamish when it comes to medical stuff and had to skim some of the scenes where they’re doing the embalming and other things with the corpses to prepare them for burial. Sadly that part was not my thing, which is a shame as I enjoyed the other aspects of the book.
While I skimmed through the scenes of them working with the corpses, I did like seeing how she was doing at the temple and how she handled the pressure. Ani clashes a bit with the high Priest’s son at first and I liked how after a talk with her best friend she kept an open mind and slowly changed her mind about him. They team up for work a few times and in the later half of the book get involved in a sort of mystery with organs gettign mislabeled. I felt the mystery didn’t have a lot of build up and wasn’t really as engaging, but I liked how it got the two of them to work together. This part of the mystery gets resolved quite quickly when they catch some of the people who are behind it. It’s clear there will be more to it in future books.
Ani is a likable character who works hard and I enjoyed reading about her. I liked her bond with Matia and how she took care of the jackal. I also liked how she kept an open mind about Nik once she talked with her friend about him and eventually changed her mind about him. There is a hint of future romance, but it’s only a hint at this point with the two of them working together on work and the mystery.
I really liked the unique concept of the world with the Egyptian empire now ruling a large part of Europe and more. I wished there was more we saw of the world though, I have so many questions and in this book at least the focus is on the temple and we only get a few details about what the world is like now. I don’t know a lot about Egyptology, so I struggled a bit with all the gods and goddesses mentioned and had to look up a few as I didn’t know who they were and what they’re a god of.
To summarize: I enjoyed reading this book and the unique set up with the Egyptian Empire never falling and instead ruling a big part of the world now. I liked reading about Ani and liked how hardworking and dedicated she was. And I also appreciated how she kept an open mind and changed her mind about Nik with whom she clashed at first. I like seeing her team up with Nik in both work and a mystery. I hadn’t realized she would be actually working with corpses and doing things like embalming and I skimmed those scenes. I had hoped to see more world building, with the unique set up I had so many questions about what the world looks like now, but not many get answered in this first book. I also struggled a bit with not knowing much about Egyptology and who all the gods and goddesses were and had to look up a few of them. While I enjoyed the book and reading about the characters, due to subject matter of them working with corpses and preparing them for burial I am not sure if I want to continue this series.