Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Amani loves her family, her cultural traditions, and the poetry that is scripture to her people. Poetry has been banned by the Vath who have conquered Amani's moon, the planet that they orbit, and several other moons as well. On the night of her coming-of-age celebration, the Vath disrupt the party and kidnap Amani. She is brought to the ancient palace to be a double for Maran, the Vath princess who is destined to be the next ruler of the kingdom. Through her physical and mental struggles, Amani finds strength and identity in her faith. She also finds love and discovers that, even as a servant, she can wield more power than she ever would have imagined.
The strength of this book is the faith that Amani has and her love for her family. She is a great character, both weak and strong, which makes her a character that is easy to relate to. Faith and religion are seldom treated with sincere respect and belief, and that is what sets this book apart from other fantasy with similar themes. This adds depth both to the main character, to her struggles, and especially to her personal victory of self-identity. She stays true to her beliefs—even when it means making difficult choices and sacrificing her own needs. This is a great beginning for a new series with a lot of hope, action, and belief.
*Contains mild sexual content and mild violence.