Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC. I also received a review copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions on Mirage are my own, receiving a copy did not impact this at all.
Release Date: August 28th, 2018
Dates Read: August 17th, 2018 – August 17th, 2018
Buddy Read w/ Sol, who is slow and I left him in the dust.
Trigger Warnings: kidnapping, cultural erasure, physical abuse, war themes, murder, forced body altercations, talk of grief and trauma
Publisher: Hachette Books
Genre: science fiction, young adult, fantasy, romance
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.
R E V I E W
An important note before I get started, I am not Moroccan nor do I know much about the history and culture of Morocco. A #ownvoices review by Em does though! Make sure to check out her review here. This story is also #ownvoices Moroccan rep, but I felt it important to link a reviewer sharing their story too.
Sometimes you read a book and it just makes you go wow. It changes your life and gives you a new trope to fall in love with. Mirage by Somaiya Daud. This book is truly on a new level, authors need to step up because Somaiya is someone to look out for.
I typically don’t like science fiction. I find the writing clunky sometimes and the technological advancements are always confusing to me. Mirage is the perfect merge of fantasy though. It truly is. At times I forget this book was science fiction because I was so immersed in the world and the characters. I just really need to get across what an incredible book this is. The author is incredibly talented and you won’t waste your time if you pick this up.
Somaiya Daud’s debut novel follows Amani, a dreamer and a village girl. She dreams of an adventure out of her home, an isolated moon. That is until she is kidnapped. She is taken straight to the royal palace, fearing the worse Amani is readying herself for death. However, the life she is about to be given may be worse than death. Meeting Princes Maram, Amani is shocked to learn that the pair of them are identical. It is because of this that Amani is forced into the role of being Maram’s body double. Amani is to appear at public events, ones that are dangerous for Maram or just because she simply doesn’t want to go. Amani is swept into a new world, one filled with expectations she had never had as the daughter of a farmer.
The story features romance, danger, and the glitter of friendship. There is a large political presence throughout the story. Themes of colonisation and internalised hatred for your own culture are highlighted throughout the story. There are truly so many layers to this particular story and there are so many routes for it to take in future books which is amazing.
Mirage is a hauntingly beautiful story. This is the kind of book that stays with you. It lingers in your thoughts and drives you to think. The writing of this book had me captured from the prologue and I did not want to put this book down. If I had had my way I would have finished it in one sitting and been happy.
I’m just going to air this out early so then I can gush about this book some more. I didn’t enjoy the romance of this book. It really doesn’t feel like it plays that large of a part in the book but at the beginning, I wasn’t feeling it. It truly feels rushed, which makes sense because it’s life or death for both of them, but I would have liked more interactions and build up between the characters. It would have really cemented the chemistry between the characters initially. As the story goes along there is definitely chemistry built, but that first kiss really threw me off for a while.
My favourite part of this book was definitely Maram. I don’t think we see her enough throughout this book, we probably do but I wanted more. Maram is straight up a villain in this story and the joy I felt at not seeing her redeemed through the story? Oh yeah boy, I’m here for it. I love female characters who are shamelessly going to kill someone. The power that Maram has is definitely not used for the good of her people, much like her father. Hell, Maram doesn’t care about her people. She truly just wants the crown and doesn’t give a shit who she has step on to get it.
Not only that, but the friendship that forms between Maram and Amani is excellent. One girl is controlling the others life but the pair organically start to become friends throughout the story. It was a really interesting factor to see, and not one I was expecting. I was prepared for more insults and arguments, or at least Amani plotting Maram’s death in her mind. That is not at all what happens. It is probably due to the caring nature of Amani but, seriously, wow this author is beyond talented in her work.
Straight up though, the body double trope is now my favourite trope. I have never read a story where a character is filling in for another. Whether that be by force or choice. It was just so damn interesting to see how it came together with this story. I would have liked a bit more violence in some parts because at some points it did feel as if it was all a bit easy for Amani. However, I still loved it. From the point that she arrives, she is forced to be Maram and the reasons why were fascinating. I couldn’t put this book down and I know it’s because of this new trope.
Overall, Mirage is a story everyone needs to read. It doesn’t matter if you don’t enjoy science fiction like me. It doesn’t matter if you simply don’t want to (seriously, why?). You need to pick up this story once it releases because it is worth every second you spend reading it. The author has a talent for creating a complex and layered story that truly enchants you. You will not be able to return to normal day to day life without having Mirage in the back of your mind. A spectacular debut, I can’t wait to see what else this author does.
Happy reading everyone!
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