By: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: August 28th, 2018
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.
Mirage is a truly unique, lush read with an absolutely enthralling setting. It’s world sits in a beautiful and captivating limbo between science fiction and fantasy, and it served to outshine the characters at some points. It is lovely, mesmerizing, painful even, with the obvious Moroccan influences at the forefront of what makes it stunning, especially how Somaiya weaves in Moroccan history, and it is definitely Mirage’s strongest attribute.
Mirage is a slow burn of a book, there is limited action and in its place is a highly character driven plot. While I appreciate plots driven forward by characters rather than actions forcing them along, I did miss that there wasn’t a bit more going on. Not to say that Somaiya is lacking in her character development, she has crafted a heroine who is easy to sympathize with and a complex villain that I was torn between loving and hating. However, the romance left something to be desired. It was quick to develop and I wish there was a bit more chemistry between Amani and Idris for me to invest in.
Mirage is a beautiful book that explores some tough themes through the inspiration of Moroccan history. It takes place in a beautifully rendered world with a cast of characters who build complex relationships and carry the plot. The ending will leave you wanting much, much more and even if you think you aren’t a fan of a slower read, you should give this book a chance.
Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut, and is due from Flatiron Books in 8/28/2018.Find the author:
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Fantastic Flying Book Club. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.