Cleopatra | Teen Ink


September 17, 2023
By Natitoon GOLD, Washington, District Of Columbia
Natitoon GOLD, Washington, District Of Columbia
14 articles 1 photo 3 comments

Cleopatra in Space, by Mike Maihack

This is a series of six books about a 14-year-old girl called Cleopatra, who discovers a magic tablet inside of a pyramid.  When she touches it she gets sent to the future and has to live there until she figures a way to get back home.

The books

The first book, titled Target Practice, came out in 2014.  It introduces us to the characters and the main settings of the story, starting with the star -  Princess Cleopatra ("Cleo") Philopator, an immature and brash joker who never takes anything seriously.  She is super relatable and fun.

The second book, which came out in 2015, is called The Thief and The Sword.  Here Cleo is having emotional trouble with her friend Akila and at the same time is stuck dealing with a thief named Antony who tried to break into her school. Antony is a teenage street urchin who was hired by a mysterious man called Octavian to spy on the protagonist and steal stuff from her. I like this one because of the comedy (Antony is snarky and Cleo is silly) and the fact that we get a bit of lore from the plot.  

The third book, released in 2016, is Secret Of The Tame Tablets.  In this one, Cleopatra and some of her classmates from Yashiro Academy (her school) go on a trip to a desert planet known as  Hykosis to find more about the tablet that brought her there.  We also learn that Antony lives on the street because he never knew his family, which means he is an orphan. We also learn that Cleo turns 15 in the first chapter. Time in these books works differently because in the past Cleo was living in Ancient Egypt, but the setting of the story is always space in the far future. 

According to the website Goodreads the fourth book is called The Golden Lion, which came out in 2017 and has Antony and Cleo teaming up to find a star with that name in a place with lots of snow called Cada'duun.


  An interesting fact about those two characters is that Cleopatra is portrayed in this story as having light brown skin instead of white (but at times she looks white) and Antony is black.  That is something that you don't see very much in this kind of fiction. I think that is interesting because that way everybody can relate to the protagonist.

 I read this one ( book four) and there is a part I really like;  because it has Antony and Cleopatra stuck in a cave together in a snowstorm, so to survive they first try blankets, then sleeping bags and when that fails he lets her use his cape for body heat.

 Also in this book we meet an otter called Mehos who eventually Cleo  adopts as a pet.


Another new character we meet is a villainous dog named Ophois who gets into a fight with the protagonist and he works for Octavian. 


IT is clear as day that Antony and Cleopatra have feelings for one another but ignore them most of the time.

In my opinion there are some similarities between Cleo and Antony's relationship and Batman and Catwoman because both start as rivals with a teasy/flirty undertone then go into a more reluctant alliance mode until finally 3 books  later start having an actual mutual attraction.



The fifth book in the series is called Fallen Empires, and came out in 2019.   It has the protagonist now 16, learning that she is destined to defeat Octavian according to a prophecy and that was the reason she got sent to space. The last book is named Queen of The Nile and just came out in 2022.


Character analysis.  

Cleopatra: She is a young, fun loving  and loud princess who at first just wants to get back home to attend her  own coronation/ birthday party but once she starts making friends  in the future she isn't so sure if going back is what she really wants. Her hair is dark purple with gold highlights and her eyes are violet  red. She also most of the time wears a tiara shaped headband with a golden snake on the top. She likes pink because most of her clothes are that color. That's very common for girls in fiction. She slowly starts to mature slightly near the later parts of the story. 

Cleopatra's mentor (combination of teacher and parent figure) is a talking cat called Kenshu who is the first person she meets in the future. His personality is serious, firm and strict. Also he sometimes tags along on missions with her to keep her from getting into trouble and  doesn't like Antony because he sees him as a lowlife.

An interesting thing about the character Antony is that besides the fact that he is an orphan who works as a thief/bounty hunter, he occasionally helps at an orphanage run by an alien and a cat called Anna Mae and Harkhebi who treat him like their own son. His relationship with Cleopatra is something along the lines of flirty rivalry. His personality is that of an overconfident smooth talker. He is usually seen wearing blue clothes because in fiction boys normally like that color; his age is approximately  17 or 18, he has dark curly hair and a bandana on his head.

Akila is Cleo's friend and roommate. Her personality is that of a kind and easygoing girl, but she also tends to worry about Cleo because the protagonist usually does something first and thinks about it later. She looks about 15 or 16 and has red hair in the books , but in the tv show it's pink.

Octavian is the main antagonist  (villain) of the series and is described as a cruel and manipulative tyrant. When he was a boy his name was Gozi, he was a normal human and he and Cleo used to be best friends until she disappeared into the future. Eventually he turned evil because her father blamed him for losing her. His  current appearance is that of a humanoid squid.

 Another important character is Brian, who serves as Cleopatra's tech support guy  and has a crush on Akila. His personality, he is smart but a bit of a scaredy cat because he doesn't like adventure, danger or fighting.


Zaid Zarberi: he is a 15 year old boy who serves as the rebellious prankster of Cleopatra's group of friends. Also he is a bit of a slacker and hates school because he thinks it's boring and that he is too smart for it. The first time they meet Cleo accidentally falls asleep instead of paying attention in a class and ends up in detention.

 He tells her he is there because he made fun of a teacher. His physical appearance is that of a light orange alien with a bright orange mohawk.   

About the Author 

The author likes comics and decided to make books that mix history and sci fi to appeal to kids and teens. Example:  in the opening pages of the first book Cleo asks her tutor named Bakari if he can do her homework for her, but he tells her that she may be a princess but she at least has to learn to do her own homework. Fun fact , She is the last of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.

 Mike Maihak also has made soundtracks for the books on his website. 

I think that is super cool because the songs fit the characters.



My opinion

I have read all the books and I love them.  In part because the protagonist reminds me of myself.  She is a teenage girl who hates studying, working or doing anything responsible  and prefers to have fun instead (studying is not fun for her, or for me).   Also, I like the idea of a person from one time ending up in another time and having to learn how to deal with being there. Another thing that I find interesting is the different kinds of banter between some of the main cast of characters because that makes the story fun.


Another  interesting bit of trivia.

In addition to the books, Netflix has just come out with a TV show based on them and with the same name. The problem with the tv series is that  so far it is only available on Netflix in Asia.    The  main difference between the two is that in the show Antony's name is changed to Zaid Antonius and he has parents.  In both cases, however, his name is a reference to Mark Antony (a real historical figure and Cleopatra's lover).  The TV series is also available on another streaming site called Peacock which is owned by the same people who run the network NBC.

Information about the books and the show:,,,,secret-of-the-time-tablets.

The author's comments:

i like this series.

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