Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for giving me a copy of Court of Lions early to read and review! I won a copy of Mirage (book 1 in this series) in an Instagram giveaway last year and it was so good, so I was so excited to see Court of Lions on NetGalley and I was even more excited when my request was approved! Court of Lions comes out on August 4th, so make sure to check it out/grab it then!
Court of Lions 5/5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads: Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?
After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.
Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?
So I’m writing this review a little differently from how I write all of my other reviews- let me know if you like this format more than my normal format or not! I’m going to be writing this as I read and telling you where I am in the book as I have my thoughts- I’ll definitely do everything I can not to post any real spoilers.
Ok, so I’m in Maram’s second chapter right now, and I really like how Maram’s chapters are from before the wedding and gave a glimpse into what was going on during Amani’s imprisonment while Amani’s chapters are from present day. I’m normally pretty iffy about timeline jumps unless they’re done well and I think Somaiya Daud does them really well here (so far anyway).
I really don’t want to be in Amani’s position- she really seems to care for Maram as a person and she wants Maram to be the best possible queen, but at the same time, Maram controls her in every way because they have her family and man, I can’t even imagine that pressure. What would it be like to have that kind of political pressure on you at all times, an entire kingdom, on your shoulders, but it’s not even your shoulders that it’s on- it’s on the shoulders of the person you’re forced to impersonate and you’re in love with her husband (that’s not a real spoiler- they get married like right at the beginning). And every time you think you’re done, every time you think you’ve done enough and the person pulling your strings is ready to take over and be themselves in public again, they decide that they want you to continue being them for a little longer and just do another thing.
I’m starting chapter 11 right now and ooo so many interesting things are happening! I feel like Amani is biting off more than she can chew again and she’s trying to do too much to gain freedom for both her people and her family, but I’m sure any of us would do the same. Maram’s interludes with her falconer are even more interesting now, but I’m a little confused about the actual location of where they’re happening.
I’m on page 109 right now and I didn’t realize how defeated Maram seems. She doesn’t seem quite as much of the fighter as I remember he being in book one- like don’t get me wrong, Amani was always more of a fighter of the two of them, but Maram still used to put up more of a fight. I hope she gets her spirit back soon!
Maram’s 5th chapter brings us to the present day and I’m liking everything about this book so far! Maram has definitely gotten her spirit back and she’s the feisty queen to be that we came to love in Mirage!
Aww I just finished and I loved everything about this book! I loved how much Maram grew and I loved Amani as always. The plot was great and the ending was perfect. This made me so happy to read and it’s such a great duology that I’m going to enjoy revisiting in years to come. Definitely check out both Mirage and Court of Lions!