Author: Somaiya Daud
Synopsis: 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.
Hello everyone. I received Mirage in the Fairyloot September box. I was so excited that this was the book that came in the box. Mirage is a science fiction crossed with a Moroccan background/setting. I didn’t have to read the plot to be fascinated by this book. But once I read the plot, I knew I had to read it. I am a huge fan of science fiction, but I find it hard to find a well done science fiction book. Although I thought this book missed the mark on the sci-fi aspect, I still really enjoyed this book.
Mirage is about a girl named Amani who is taken from her home and family and brought to court. Her solar system was overthrown by the Vathek, who are now in control. The Vathek are hated among Amani’s people because the Vathek have made her faith and her language forbidden. Amani is brought to court because she shares an uncanny resemblance to the half-Vathek princess, Maram. Maram’s father is the ruler of the Vathek, while her mother was Andalaan and read Kushaila. Princess Maram is known to be cruel and unkind, and the people hate her. It has become dangerous for Maram to step out into public, which is where Amani comes in. Amani is trained to act like the princess and when needed, go out and be her in public. This story is the much needed feminist read of 2018. Through everything thats been done to her, Amani never gives up. She stays strong and perseveres through it all, finding the light in the dark tunnel.
No Spoiler Review
This book was a full on strong female character book. The main character Amani was such a badass person. She wasn’t badass in a crime fighting way, she was badass in a can handle anything way. Amani was taken from her home, her family, and thrown into the brutality of court. Throughout the whole ordeal of being the double for the princess, Amani remained strong. No matter what the princess did she didn’t crumble and give up. She stayed strong and persevered. She was just such a strong female character and I was all for it.
Amani was taken from court to be a double for Princess Maram. I was surprised by how much I began to care for the princess. I can’t quite go into it to much for then it will spoil the book. However I will say this, the developing relationship between Amani and Maram, whether it be bad or good, was very fun and interesting to read. During the book I looked forward to every interaction had between them. On top of that, is the complexity of Maram’s character. I found myself growing more and more attached to her, suddenly caring for her. I found myself questioning her and her actions, did she decide for herself or did she only do because she wanted her father’s approval.
Idris, the prince, was a character I found myself not really caring about. I was a fan of the growing relationship between him and the main character Amani, However as a character by himself, I didn’t find myself caring all to much about what happened to him.
This book wasn’t centered around the romance like a lot of YA books are. It was refreshing to read a book where the whole book doesn’t center around the two main love interests. This book had a nice balance between the romance and the actual plot of the book which was Amani being a double for Maram.
The writing style was amazing. I was surprised to be honest on how well it was considering this was Daud’s debut novel. The writing was descriptive and it flowed nicely. The settings described in the novel were vivid, I was able to picture what I think the setting looks like. The construction of the characters was well done, especially the complexity of Maram and the fierceness of Amani.
So, one thing that I didn’t like about this book was the science fiction aspect. The only sci-fi aspect I saw was the droids and the world. The droids weren’t even in the book all to much, maybe five at the most. Another thing that I had a problem with was the world. I was confused by the whole thing. I thought that the world wasn’t well built or well constructed. There were places mentioned in the book that I had trouble finding on the map so I was left in a state of confusion because I couldn’t find the setting on the map. To me, this book would have been better had it just been a Moroccan based story, the sci-fi left out.
One other thing that I found a problem with was the character Idris. When I first met him, I liked him. But something about him throughout the book made me change my perspective. I think my dislike for the character is because I feel that out of all the characters, he is the most undeveloped. To me, Idris’s backstory was muddled. I wasn’t completely sure why they were murdered, what part in monarchy system did they have. I also felt like his character wasn’t that complex. I was disappointed because you have Maram who is by far the most complex character in the book and who is hard to read. And then you have Amani who is a complex badass character. Then, theres Idris, who to me, just seems like a one level character with no real development. I hope in the next installment in this series will change that and we will get to see more development with Idris’s character.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It ended in a way where you don’t have the longing for the next book. It was a complete ending that left you wanting to read the next book without having that whole in yourself that leaves you needing the next book. I ended up finishing it in about 7hrs. I COULD NOT put it down. So, moral of this review, go pick the book up!