Daud, Somaiya. Court of Lions. New York: Flatiron Books, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-1250126450 | $18.99 USD | 320 pages | YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy
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?
In the series
I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
This is a wonderful second book in the series. I loved seeing both Amani and Maram come into their own, and both find happiness in spite of what was expected of them.
Let’s start with Maram: I liked what was done with her this time around, particularly that she’s queer. Her relationship with Aghraas was one of the best parts of this book. I didn’t always think much of Maram, dismissing her as another spoiled princess at times, but it was cool to see her have these tender moments. And I also liked seeing her grappling with her mixed heritage, and trying to figure out if she’s the right person for the role of ruler…the internal growth on her part was splendid, as was the development of her relationship with Amani, given it originally started off in a horrible place.
And Amani and Idris’ arc started off with a bit more “will-they-won’t-they” angst for my taste this time, but I was won over by them as a couple as the story went on.
I enjoyed this book overall, and look forward to what Somaiya Daud releases next. If you’re looking for a rich, immersive Moroccan inspired fantasy, I recommend this series highly.
Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment.
Bookshop (affiliate link)