Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books (August 28, 2018)
Print Length: 320 pages
Audiobook Length: 8hrs and 58 mins
Narrator: Rasha Zamamiri
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.
While the setting of Mirage (Mirage #1), being fluenced by Moroccan culture, was an intriguing concept when mixed with a fantastic sci-fi flare, the execution of the novel left something to be desired.
Mirage (Mirage #1) is a YA fantasy novel that tells the story of eighteen-year-old Amani as she is stolen from her simple existence and forced to act as a body double for the cruel ruling family’s princess, Maram.
While the actual writing of the novel was beautifully rendered, the plot really didn’t do it any favours. First, the world of Mirage is set in a fictitious galaxy, with a fictitious invasion, but yet it was almost introduced as almost an afterthought, leading me to thinking that this was actually a Moroccan inspired fantasy novel. There was also very little that actually happened in the novel. This could be because of its shorter page count but I also found myself wanting more from the political and science fiction themes that were so blatantly teased. Also, when setting something in a fictitious world you open yourself up to being able to create anything and naming anything whatever you want. It was then almost lazy on Daud’s part to label people, places, and things on words and phrases that already exist, instead of showing more of her creative side.
The characters, like the plot, for me was equally irksome. First, I found Amani to be incredibly whinny. To the point where I skimmed several passages so I didn’t have to hear her complain. I found it quite odd that she complained most fervently but never did anything to change her situation. She was kidnapped by the royal family but never tried to find a way to escape, and instead accepted her incarceration and maybe kinda sorta join the rebellion. I also really didn’t enjoy how quickly the romance in Mirage progressed. I am pretty understanding of the YA insta-love trope, going so far as to have several favourite insta-love moments, but I found that there was no substance at all when it came to the relationship between Amani and Idris. It was rushed more than usual, which is due, I’m assuming, to the rather small page count and was repetitive in terms of the various scenes.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud. Have any YA science fiction/fantasy recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.