Court of Lions (Mirage #2), by somaiya daud
Published by Flatiron Books (August 6th, 2020)
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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?
after screaming for months about how Mirage captured my heart, Court of Lions came to crush the slim hope i had of this story not completely destroying every little piece of my heart.
this story was absolutely brillant. while it is on the slow side, i couldn’t help but fall in love with how the story evolved, drove into a climax and concluded. it is remarkable how the author put so much thought and creativity into bringing to live a story like this one, inspired by moroccan culture, a culture so vast and beautiful. i was delighted to spot every reference of the culture that i’m so proud to be part of.
the writing was soothing, poetic, though simple and easy to understand, which makes it easy to get into the story. i found myself gripped each time i picked it up, and couldn’t put it down. and while i still praise the writing of Mirage, i could definitely see that the author’s writing improved while reading Court of Lions. it was great, and now it’s even greater.
the thing about Court of Lions is that it is 100% character-driven. the main ones go through a lot of character development, and, to be quite honest, i wanted to hug them all. i love each one of them so so much. i have no words to describe how fond i am. i guess you could say they’re my little babies (even though they are probably my age).
Court of Lions was not only a great book in itself, it was also a great conclusion to this duology. i am so sad to let this world and characters go, but i am so so so happy with it.
a little piece on why this story means so much to me, a moroccan reader:
on the second part of this post, i decided to sit down and have a little chat about how much this story means to me. ever since i read Mirage back in march, i hadn’t stopped talking about it.
obviously, the fact that it’s a Moroccan-inspired SFF by a Moroccan author plays a great role to me as a moroccan reader. of course it does. i’m not ashamed to say that i’m 100% biased by this. but in a world where i barely see myself represented, i will hold on tight to every piece of media that would show even a tiny little bit of me.
and Mirage does it wonderfully. it didn’t show little of me, it beautifully displayed my culture in a way that makes me so proud to be Moroccan. this series is so dear to me because it’s a great story AND has great representation. not only that, but it’s by a Moroccan author. it’s someone who understands the roots and depths of the culture, so it’s a 100 times better. no one could have done it better.
in conclusion, i am so glad that i stumbled upon this series. i love it dearly, and i will never stop recommending it and throwing it at people’s faces. i will keep promoting it. to you, this is a book among others, to me Mirage is a proud display of my culture.
about the author:
Somaiya Daud is the author of Mirage and holds a PhD from the University of Washington in English literature. A former bookseller in the children’s department at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., now she writes and teaches full time.
Prize: Five (5) paperback edition of Mirage and five (5) hardcover edition of Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud
- Open to United States (US)
- Ends on 11 August 2020 (Philippine time)