Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Page Count: 320
My rating: 3 1/2 stars
About the book:
The stunning epic fantasy inspired by the author’s Moroccan heritage about a poor girl who must become the body double of a princess of a ruthless empire hailed as ”a rich, dazzling, powerful debut” by Tahereh Mafi, the New York Times author of the Shatter Me series
In a world 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 home.
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 by Somaiya Daud is the first book of the new young adult romantic science fiction fantasy series by the same name. Eighteen year old Amani is from a poor family living in a village on a remote moon when droids show up scanning everyone they come across.
When the droids scan Amani they find something within her that causes her capture and to be whisked away from her home. The next Amani knows she is meeting Princess Maram and finds she is staring into what is practically her own face. That is when Amani knows what her crime was, being a mirror image of the Princess.
Princess Maram is not a kind soul, following in the footsteps of her father she is known to be wicked and cruel and her first meeting with Amani proves to be no different than the rumors have led Amani to believe. Tortured and forced to learn the Princess’ every move Amani is forced to become her body double and stand in during events in which the Princess’ life will be in danger from assassins.
I finished reading Mirage a couple of days ago and had to give this one some thought as to how I wanted to rate this opener. It’s not a bad read by any means but I did have a few issues with this first book. The first being one that happens quite often and that is just being reminded of other books, movies or television, it took awhile to stop thinking of other things and get into this one on it’s own.
But the second is not necessarily bad but more my own preference when it comes to fantasy and that is this one is a heavily character driven read. The biggest portion of this opener is Amani and Idris and their goo goo eyes for one another then the next is Amani and Maram and their relationship forming and it seemed anything and everything else was buried within those interactions. Personally I like more action and more use of the scifi world and politics that the story is set in. The end of the book really picked up though which might give an indication of book 2 going a bit faster now that the character building is set. So in the end I decided to go 3.5 stars on this opener and hope for more in the upcoming installment.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Somaiya Daud is a twenty-something writer and PhD candidate at the University of Washington. A former bookseller in the children’s department at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC, Somaiya is passionate about Arabic poetry, the stars, and the Gothic novel. Mirage is her debut novel.