Maram and Amani had grown close in the first book, and their falling out at the end of the first plunges them into dangerous waters in the second. This sequel begins not long after the first ends with the royal wedding that had been planned for so long. As they navigate the current waters, Amani tests the bounds of her relationship with Maram and pushes her to become the queen she believes Maram could be. The rebellion is growing and questions remain about whom should lead.
What I loved: This book was even better than the first. Although it has a slow start, it soon launches into the action and political plotting that are absolutely engrossing. The characters are also growing here, both Amani and Maram, into the women they will become. I really loved that we get scenes from Maram's point-of-view as well as Amani's, which gives her a deeper character. She also finds her own romance, and it was brilliant to watch.
The ending sections gave me chills. There are poignant quotes, observations, and some surprises that I absolutely enjoyed reading. Nothing happens easily, but very carefully, and there are some great secondary messages about what makes a leader and the value of government. The mythology and world-building here is really strong, and I loved learning about their culture and the bits of their history that we see. This is a beautifully woven sequel that brings all the strings from the first book to a satisfying conclusion.
What left me wanting more: As a relatively small point, I wish that we could have witnessed more of the romances for both Amani and Maram. They had the potential to be so deep, and while I loved both of the couples, I would have liked a bit more depth/substance behind the built relationships.
Final verdict: Satisfying and enchanting, COURT OF LIONS is a perfect finale to a beautifully woven YA fantasy series. Highly recommend for fans of THE DIABOLIC, THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION, and SORCERY OF THORNS.