Series: Mirage #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Add it: 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.
Mirage has been getting a tonne of hype lately (“lately” meaning pre-release, but I know it’s now October by the time this post goes up) and I totally fell for it. I thought it sounded like everything I loved. Science fiction about a conquered galaxy, a revolution, and some kind of fantasy other than English. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.
I feel like the author had a good idea going on. The premise was a really good one, but I didn’t feel like it was fleshed out enough. It was really just the bare bones of an idea that never truly flourished, which is a damn shame because I was really excited for this world. I think the author should have spent some more time on the plot and the world building, because I think this one had a lot of potential. It was just never fully developed.
The Moroccan-inspired culture, though, was very interesting. It was probably the best part of the book, and you could tell that Daud put a lot of time and effort into that part of it. I think it was clear which parts of the book she was passionate about.
Also the love story was bloody awful. It was rushed, with no chemistry or real depth between the characters or with their relationship. That aside, I think Daud wrote a really good relationship between Amani, the main character, and the princess. I enjoyed their scenes very much.
Overall, this was generic and more than a little disappointing, but the culture and representation was rich and is probably the only part that kept the book going.