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ARCS,  BOOK REVIEWS,  FANTASY,  FICTION,  NETGALLEY,  SCIENCE FICTION,  YA

BOOK REVIEW : COURT OF LIONS (MIRAGE #2) BY SOMAIYA DAUD

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TITLE : Court Of Lions (Mirage #2)

AUTHOR : Somaiya Daud

GENRE : YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi

FR RATING : ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 Stars)

DATE OF PUBLISHING : August 6th 2020

FR REVIEW

DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Hodder for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I read Mirage last month and loved the Moroccan-inspired story set in a star system with the brutal Vathek Empire. I had high hopes for this book as Mirage was a splendid debut with a beautiful world, culture, and traditions. We followed Amani, a young girl who gets kidnapped and brought to play a body double for the Vathek Princess Maram. The Kingdom is expanded further, and we get to see more of the amazing world. The effect of colonization and how the people of the Kingdom are faring after the brutal Vathek conquering is realistically portrayed.

I loved seeing Amani grow into the role of Maram and how she plays a vital role in helping the rebellion and leading them forward. The way she took strength from her position and how she plans to take down the Vathek Empire is brilliant to watch. Her hope, single-mindedness, and dedication to helping her people at any cost is what makes such a strong personality. I also loved seeing her grow from being timid and scared to being confident and making bold decisions that will help her people’s cause. Her relationship with Idris was full of yearning and the hurdles they face make us feel sad for them. While their relationship started quickly in the first book, in this book there is time for their relationship to blossom. I enjoyed them together a lot.

Maram has quite a lot of transformation in this book. We see things from her perspective as well in this book. This helps us understand her struggle between cultures and how her childhood and people who brought her up shape the way she feels about her mother’s homeland. We see her struggle with her identity and how Amani is her source of strength and helps her grow into someone who can be looked up to despite her many flaws. While I don’t know how to feel about her, I understood what made her act the ways she did. She is not an easy character to like especially when she relies on Amani to help her out and it feels almost like she wants to hide behind Amani to make tough decisions. There are few surprises this book offers when it comes to her life and the direction it takes. The relationship development felt very much insta-lovey and more so than Amani’s. While I didn’t mind it as much, I thought it could have been developed better.

The political angle, rebellion is kind of the central theme of this book. There is a lot of planning, moves to handle and change people’s perception of Maram. The story mainly deals with Amani executing plans to bring the rebellion to success and bring down the Vathek rule. The way she handles discussions and how confidently she deals with people of different tribes was really exciting to read about. The different tribes, leaders, different towns, and their cultures were wonderfully portrayed with extensive details.

The lores, history of their belief system were wonderful to explore. Every detail added gives a lot more flair to the story. The pacing was ok, a bit slow in the beginning. Overall the story was engaging and enthralling to read. I loved how everything concluded and while it was all neatly tied up in a bow I enjoyed the happy ending the book gave us. As I am a sucker for happy endings I enjoyed it. I felt the book was well written with a good cast of characters and a unique world. I enjoyed Mirage a lot more than this one. I felt that certain characters and relationships could have been developed a bit more. This was a good YA and I had fun reading this series. I gave the book 4.5 stars. I highly recommend checking this series out if you are looking to read something different in YA fantasy. I do think this is more suited for the mid-YA age range and lower YA age range. If you love a plot-driven political intrigue heavy story with wonderful characters with a rich world and beautiful storytelling this book will provide a unique experience.

SYNOPSIS

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? 

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