By: Somaiya Daud
Mirage #1 | 320 Pages | Pub. Aug 28, 2018
Mirage at a Glance
- Overall Rating:★★★★ 1/2
- Heroine: Aww honey
- Dude: I’d cite erotic poetry to him, too 😉
- Steaminess: Poetry will never be the same
- Brutality: Brings new meaning to The Birds
Pairs Well With:
- 2 oz Proseco
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- 1.5 oz Peach Schnapps
- 1.5 oz Black Sambuca
- 1.5 oz Bourbon Whiskey
Description from Goodreads
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.
We received a review copy of Mirage from Netgalley & Flat Iron Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Holy wow, we loved this book – it’s so pretty and we are both pre-ordering physical copies as we speak! Mirage is the diverse fantasy adventure we needed and gave us the complex female characters we wanted. The Moroccan inspired setting and culture mixed with the science fiction element of space travel and conquest made this YA fantasy stand out from the mold. We couldn’t put this captivating book down and hope you all give this book a chance.
What We Liked
The Writing and Worldbuilding – We find it hard to believe that this is Daud’s debut novel because she crafts a magical world for her readers. Mirage isn’t your typical mindless fantasy – it’s full of rich cultural descriptions about the different tribes of Andala and life under colonial rule. There is a focus on poetry and folklore in this story that weaves their history. Amani and many of the native Andalans grasp onto this as their culture is slowly eradicated by the Vathek. The detail that Daud put into creating a rich history and world is heartbreaking and breathtaking at the same time.
The Villainous Maram – We loved watching the evolution of Maram, the evil princess who kidnaps Amani as she develops into a character that you want to like despite her past actions. Maram is a complex villain than what we usually see in YA and watching her struggle with hating pieces of herself and her heritage was compelling to read. Maram made us feel things we weren’t prepared to feel and we liked it.
Amani’s Character Growth – The journey of Amani from a terrified kidnapped girl into a strong force that fights her captors every step of the way was one of my favorite parts of this book. At times Amani seemed naive, but overall she developed into a realistic and sensible character who fights for her agency and her people. The difference in her maturity from the beginning to the end of the book is vast and we are excited to see her further development.
Maram and Amani’s Friendship – Their friendship was unexpected and at times made us feel uncomfortable but together they challenged prejudices and really acted like sisters. We found ourselves rooting for this friendship over the romance because they had such a wonderful dynamic. Their bickering was fantastic to read.
The Romance – The romance that peaked throughout this story was perfect. The novel isn’t driven by the romantic plot line, but the romance is sweet, slow burning and the perfect amount of happiness and love peeking through a brutal story. Idris was a little too perfect to be believed at times, so we are interested to see who he turns out to be.
What We Disliked
The Vathek – The Vathek are pure evil and having to read the descriptions of their oppressive rule and how they seek to erase all cultures and beliefs that are not their own was difficult.
There just wasn’t much to not like in this book. It was a great fantasy read without the book hangover. Give it a try!
Have you read Mirage? Let us know what you thought in the comments!