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The Lady or the Lion

An intriguing and well-written story, but one I wouldn’t necessarily call Islamic lit. Read full review for details.⁠

Genre: YA⁠

Ages: while this is marketed for ages 13 and up, I personally found it more mature, for readers ages 16 and up or older⁠

Available: amazon⁠

Screening: cussing, kissing, romantic entanglement, intimacy-nothing R rated, but there is a lot of description of “touching” and it was not a “halal” relationship. There is murder, killing, violence, deceit, and manipulation by family figures. ⁠

Durkhanai is the princess of Marghazar, which is having trouble with its “allies”. When the allies undergo a traumatic event and their own are killed, they blame Marghazar. To quell an impending conflict, the allies ambassadors are invited to Marghazar’s court, and Durkhanai is pressured as crown princess to charm the ambassadors, and one in particular, Asfandyar, catches her eye. She sets out with him to find out who caused the havoc at the allies meeting, and the answers take her on a journey where she has to choose between her heart and her country.⁠

Which will she choose? I am not going to spoil it, but suffice it to say, I was shocked lol. The book def pulled me in and I kept wondering what was going to happen next in the story. The twists and turns def had me gasping aloud. And though I put down this book disliking the ending, after some time and thought, I have come to appreciate it for the writing masterpiece it is. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a moral read, or any lessons taught, but more of a “guilty pleasure” read.⁠

⭐️Note: I wouldn’t really consider this an Islamic story. While the characters are “Muslim”, mention Allah, and there is mention of religion frowning upon immoral behavior, the characters seem to still follow their desires to perform evil, and not just in relationships, but in leading to other characters deaths and murder. ⁠

Culturally, it was full of lots of fun and authentic Desi cultural touches like clothes and food.

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