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?
Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of Tiger Queen for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
She’d been kidnapped, as all girls in stories were, and brought against her will to the royal palace to serve as body double to a princess. Once upon a time, the girl – I – had been a rebel, and forced to make a choice between the rebellion and a princess who had undergone a spell of transformation herself. I’d chosen the princess and saved her life.
When I first read Mirage back in 2018, I was completely in love with the first book as it had a strong concept and plot. When I saw that I was approved for the sequel on Netgalley, I was more than excited. After two years of waiting for the sequel, I am feeling whelmed and have mixed emotions about this book.
I’ll admit that I did find the book to be enjoyable for me. The most exciting aspect of Court of Lions was reading Maram’s perspective. The author did an excellent job at capturing the complexity of Maram, a character who I found endearing in the first book. Adding Maram’s perspective in the book did boost the rating higher for me. Maram was introduced as a cold and ruthless princess in the first book, but in Court of Lions, I really enjoyed her redemption arc. I would have loved a bit more chapters on Maram as her transformation into becoming the destined queen for her people was well worth it. I felt that the author could have had alternating perspectives for both Amani and Maram, which would have expanded the story more.
I would have liked more chapters on Maram’s perspective because Maram’s relationship with Aghraas could be more developed. I really enjoyed this pair, but I would have wanted more attention to be focused on their blossoming relationship between the two. I felt that their relationship should have been more focused and centered in this novel.
As for Amani, I really enjoyed her growth in being both a rebel and a supportive sister for Maram. Most of the novel is told in Amani’s perspective as she navigates her alliances between the princess, the rebels, and the courtiers. Amani faces challenges as she navigates the court life posing as Maram’s double. Amani overcomes her obstacles and puts her planet’s needs first by becoming a queen maker and supporting the rebellion. She even put her romance and feelings aside to ensure Maram’s ascension to the throne.
Although Court of Lions has its strong points, the build-up to the story was very underwhelming. Though there were high stakes for Amani, I felt that everything went almost according to plan without any challenges for the main protagonists. Most of the novel is spent on building alliances between royals and the rebels. Many new side characters were introduced and there was no proper characterization for all new folks in this book. Only one of the new characters has at least a background story. If you’re looking for a big climatic battle, this is not the book for you. You would think that a conqueror of four planets would put up a bigger fight against the rebellion. The big confrontation scene between the rebels and King Mathis was so rushed…I honestly could not believe this the final book in this series. I could have saw this book be expanded more as the king was a conqueror of 4 planets…The resolution and the conflict was rushed and it ended up being anti-climatic. Perhaps, the author could have written at least 5 to 10 more chapters to make the climax worth it for readers.
Court of Lions was a good book, but the rushed action and plot were the weaker aspects. After reflecting about the ending, I will have to rate this book lower a bit lower.
Rating: ★★★ (3.5)