☾ about the book
Author: Somaiya Daud
Format: hardcover, fairyloot exclusive
Trigger Warnings: death, torture, verbal abuse towards girls
☾ the synopsis
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.
But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.
As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.
☾ the characters
Amani, a simple girl and victim of the cruel ways of the Vathek empire, is kidnapped and taken away so she can act as a stand in for the Vathek Princess.
Maram, the Vathek Princess, is a very hated person, but the way she acts towards others doesn’t help her with being liked more.
She insists on abusing Amani to shape her into a second version of herself and doesn’t recoil from putting Amani’s life in danger.
☾ the world building
The Vathek empire conquered Amani’s home and is now destroying the ancient culture that had existed there before.
There are quite a few sci-fi elements in the book.
☾ what i liked about this book
I liked Amani and the culture of her ancestors, it was really interesting.
☾ what i didn’t like about this book
All the things that usually make a book great fell short in this story.
The plot was practically non-existent, the world building was lackluster – the sci-fi elements that were constantly being hinted at fell short in the face of also very lackluster character development.
The characters, though this was probably intentional, very unlikable and quite underdeveloped.
☾ should you read this book?
I know that to a certain community on bookstagram – the muslims, I believe, without meaning to stereotype them – this book means a lot.
However, I failed to see the appeal of it and I am not thinking about picking up its sequel.
So, I don’t think I would go as far as recommending this book to anybody.