Disclosure: I received an advance e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a review. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. I get a small commission if you purchase an item from an affiliate.
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Page Count: 320
Release date: Aug 28, 2018
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.
The aspect that most drew me to this story was the Moroccan influenced fantasy world inspired by the author’s heritage. The book takes place in space and includes droids and other sci-fi aspects, but those weren’t discussed as much and to me the story seemed to have more of a fantasy feel.
I loved the rich sense of heritage and culture. The character development- especially in terms of the main character’s interactions with the princess- was really intriguing.
The world and politics were a little confusing to me and I had a hard time keeping everything straight, but I know that the final edition has some really beautiful maps in it that will help with the location aspect.
I also felt like the story was pretty straightforward. There weren’t many twists or things that surprised me.
I definitely enjoyed reading the book, but for me it lacked that ‘it’ factor to push it over the edge. It didn’t totally draw me in and make it so difficult to put down like other YA books I’ve loved. But I know that factor can be subjective, and there are many other early reviewers who absolutely loved it.
For those who are wondering about content level: There is a lot of reference to killing and destruction that previously happened to lead to the time of the story, but I didn’t feel like it was overly gory in it’s descriptions. There is one romantic scene that gets steamy.
You may also be interested in these other YA fantasy/sci-fi books I have enjoyed: