Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Title: Mirage (Book #1 in the Mirage series)
Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release date: August 28, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

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 po-etry 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 identi-cal 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’ fiancĂ©, 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 perfec-tion...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Mirage is definitely a story that I wasn’t expecting but with the way my reading has been lately, I definitely needed. It is an interesting and unique plot, that moves quickly. It was easy to read this in almost one sitting. I loved the characters as well as the lush descriptions of the culture and places

The world building was interesting. I enjoyed the descriptions of the different settings from the architecture, to the foods and just the general differences between the cultures. I think the traditions that vary between the Vath and the Andalaans are so well defined and so much of the culture feels beautiful. I loved the focus on the folklore and stories. The way things are put into poetry and song. I felt like I could really feel and taste what I was reading. As far as the placement of things. I think I could have really used a map to keep it straight in my brain, but at the same time I love that there is a title page letting you know the location they are at.

Even though the story takes place on different planets and moons and at times the Vath are called Aliens. I guess since there are droids too but I wouldn’t consider this really Sci-Fi, to me it definitely flows more in the vein of Fantasy.

The thing I really liked about this book besides the fact that I do think it is a great plot, is the pacing. I love fantasy but lately I feel like the books have gotten really heavy and very involved and lot more like adult fantasy. Which again I do love but I really liked how this story is laid out. There is definitely politics at play but it did not feel overwhelming. Everything is constantly in motion and I did not feel overwhelmed with too many characters. This gave an opportunity for the main characters to be more developed and I really felt bonded with them. It was easy to see why each character is motivated into the actions that they follow.

The writing is great and of course the inclusion of the poetry. It definitely gave it that feel throughout. Plus just a great and unique plot, that is strong in the fact that it’s simple. It’s not too much and extremely easy to follow.

I loved the romance. I needed a romance like this one, sweet and natural. Two people finding solace in having an ally and partner.

I really liked Amani, Maram and Idris. I liked that my opinions of them fluxated as a I read because to me that always shows development. I might not like someone at first but as I learn more about them. I can see things from a new perspective. I also felt like how Amani is strong because she holds on to who she is. She might be striped of many things but she holds fast to her culture and who she is. It’s a deep part of her, where we see Maram often mold herself to what she needs to be.

I’m very excited for the next book. I can’t wait to see where this story takes us next.

Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s de-gree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Deter-mined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment. Mirage is her debut, and is due from Flatiron Books in 8/28/2018.

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Prize: One finished copy of Mirage by Somaiya Daud (USA only)
Starts: 8/22/18
Ends: 8/30/18

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