This has been my most highly anticipated book ever since I read Mirage back in 2018! So two years later, I still remember that book, which goes to show how amazing this author is. Somaiya Daud created a world that was memorable, characters who captured my heart, and an adventure I wished I could witness on the big screen. The sequel just continued that magic, and I hope this duology will eventually be optioned for a movie. It has so much potential and positive themes, and I wish more books exhibited such strength and perseverance. While there is a romance in the book, which made my heart melt and gave me tingles, the overarching storyline was about two very strong women. Almost every character who had a major impact on the story was female, and that was an absolute delight.
As the double of Princess Maram, Amani continues to struggle for her own freedom and that of her family. Upon discovering that Amani has been working with the rebels, Maram feels betrayed and with her impending wedding to a man she doesn't love, she feels trapped and unsure of who to trust. Amani is also faced with the heartwrenching truth that Idris will be be marrying Maram, meaning that her torment may never end - being close to the man she loves yet never truly being with him. As Idris and Amani fight for their relationship, in spite of the odds, Maram does the same in a way that is sure to sent shock throughout the kingdom if she is discovered. Soon the rebellion is gaining strength, and Amani and Maram must decide what they want their futures to look like. Are they willing to play a part, or will they sacrifice all to find happiness for themselves and their people?
I read through this book so fast, I'm surprised I got any sleep last night! I thought it would be difficult for this book to meet expectations, since those expectations had been building for two years. However, Somaiya Daud produced a book that captured my attention just as the first did, and now I want to share this series with my family and friends. I loved how she developed the characters of Amani and Maram, although I would have definitely liked more development with Idris as well. He was a strong character, and so I had a hard time accepting his reactions mid-way through the book, when he learns of Amani's connection with the rebellion. I think more time spent on Idris would have been beneficial, similar to how we got more insight into Maram's character with chapters from her point-of-view. It would have rounded out the triad of main characters a bit better. However, that being said, it was still very enjoyable, and I loved the direction the author took with Maram's character. She showed so much strength on the outside, and we got to see her more vulnerable, which is when we meet her love interest. You'll never guess who it is, and my heart melted as their relationship grew.
Somaiya Daud is surely an author to watch, and I need more from her soon! She is most assuredly on my auto-buy list going forward.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**