published: 6th August 2020
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?
Galley provided by publisher
I have been waiting so long for Court of Lions that I almost can’t believe now that it’s here. But it is here, and it was so definitely worth the wait.
The book picks up pretty much immediately following the end of Mirage. Which was sort of good because I couldn’t remember a whole lot of what happened in Mirage, and starting so close on the tail of the ending meant that there was just a hint of a rundown of what happened. So that definitely helped.
(At this point, I feel obliged to note that if you haven’t read Mirage, what on earth have you been doing instead??)
Unlike Mirage, Court of Lions has a dual POV setup. Which means we finally get to see Maram’s POV (although it does not quite follow the same timeline as Amani’s, starting further back before catching up). And I loved being able to see that, because it really shows her turmoil, does she follow Amani, her proclaimed sister, or does she bow to her father’s will? And, of course, it means we get to see first hand her romance with Aghraas.
In addition to Maram’s POV, what I loved about the book was the characters. This was true in the first book, but doubly true here. In Mirage, I found myself not really liking Idris and Amani’s relationship because it felt a little rushed. But that was actually one of my favourite parts of this book, because of the whole forbiddin and angst-ridden facets of it.
And the way everything developed, with first Maram and Amani plotting, then Idris joining in? I loved seeing all three of them together and interacting.
I think the only thing I would say here is that the book never really felt high-stakes in the same way as Mirage did. It was almost like all the hard work in building up tension was done there, and now it’s all downhill (i.e. easy) from here. In any other book, that might have caused me to round down, but I just loved the characters too much to do that.
Overall then, Court of Lions is a highly satisfying and enjoyable conclusion to the duology. I only wish it had been about ten times the length.