Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron (Aug 28, 2018)
Series: Mirage #1
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.
I’d like to thank Macmillan International USA for sending me an ARC of Mirage in exchange of an honest review.
I’d like to thank Aimee for hosting the Mirage blog tour and for having me! Check out her giveaway of a copy of Mirage on her blog!
When I first caught sight of Somaiya Daud’s novel on Twitter, I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on it because it was everything that I wanted in a space opera. Inspired by Moroccan folklore, Mirage had the makings of an incredibly thrilling story that transcends space and time. Add a gloriously lush cover to the mix and you have a winner, baby.
Mirage follows the story of Amani, who is about to undergo her majority night where she will step into adulthood upon receiving her daan—markings on her face where she inherits her family’s heritage and ultimately, her identity—but everything upends when she is taken away from her loved ones. Confused and frightened to the core, Amani is taken to the Vathek empire where she discovers a shocking revelation: she looks nearly identical to the vicious viper-like Vathek princess, Maram.
I have always been someone who trusts his gut feelings and I knew, for a fact that I had a gem in my hands. Mirage is nothing short of spectacular and wonderfully written. The writing is lush, layered and it is the perfect blend of prose and poetry, where Somaiya Daud incorporates Moroccan folklore and poetry into the Amani’s story. Which definitely proves that Somaiya Daud’s writing prowess puts her in the same league as other best-selling writers.
In many ways, reading Mirage made me think of a book that has a similar storyline and premise: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. It’s everything Carve the Mark should have been, personally, I loved Somaiya Daud’s sparkling debut with all my heart. It definitely hit it out of the park when it comes to space operas. Of course, I don’t mean to shade Veronica Roth, but both books had equally great premises but Mirage definitely takes the cake when it comes to execution.
Mirage’s heroine, Amani is a born from an oppressed race where her home planet has been conquered by the Vathek empire. I liked that she’s constantly afraid of being at the mercy of the Vath but at the same time, she’s determined not to show weakness being in the presence of her oppressors. Though I liked that Amani was the protagonist of the book, I couldn’t help but be more drawn to Maram, the supposed villainess of the book. I loved how she was initially the cruel and vicious Vathek princess who was ruthlessly demanding and throughout the events of the book, she warms up to Amani slowly. As she opens up to Amani as their friendship blossomed, I was very pleased that we see a different side of Maram which shows a lot of potential for Somaiya Daud to work on in the next book.
Mirage reads like a breathtaking piece of poetry that you can help but keep thinking about and being in awe with. The romance between Amani and Idris is written so evocatively. The world Somaiya Duad has introduced is steeped in history and culture and I couldn’t get enough of the universe she had created.
Hand on heart, Mirage had completely blown my mind. With its fantastic and detailed world building, beautiful writing and a strong and wilful heroine, reading Mirage felt like being transported to a new universe that I could revisit again and again. It is a gripping story about a survivor who is strongly motivated by her love for her family and people to get the opportunity to rise up against her oppressors and break free from the shackles of being in the shadows of the Vathek empire.
Full blog tour schedule:
AUGUST 20 (MONDAY)
AUGUST 21 (TUESDAY)
AUGUST 22 (WEDNESDAY)
AUGUST 23 (THURSDAY)
AUGUST 24 (FRIDAY)
AUGUST 27 (MONDAY)
AUGUST 28 (TUESDAY)
AUGUST 29 (WEDNESDAY)
AUGUST 30 (THURSDAY)
AUGUST 31 (FRIDAY)