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 by Somaiya Daud is a slow-paced book that deals with two girls in the story – the poor girl that has been captured by the empire and the princess who’ve been hidden from the society because of her cruel tongue and personality. Amani, our protagonist, shares the same identical face to our princess, Maram. This is where the novel begins: teaching Amani the art of royalty to portray as the princess for Maram’s security and safety.
This book started for me a little bit difficult – understanding some few words and trying to get used to on the author’s writing style. But, it is a good book that I somehow, at least, enjoyed reading. Mirage intrigue me with its plot; it shows vulnerability and two sides of the coin for our protagonist and unexpected antagonist and yet fragile. Amani pretends in the court for who she is and copy Maram. The way they act, the way her tongue twisted and gave off negative emotions, and implying a lot of demands and hatred. Somehow, those things overcame by Amani.
Although Somaiya Daud gave a lot of hints that Amani portraying as the princess is for the princess’ security, it is undeniable that she crafted Maram’s character for a new side: afraid. The resentment of the society to Maram is intolerable, they despise her even if she wasn’t even known by the community and it hurts her because there are expectations from her father, The King.
From page one to last, Daud executed the story very well. She knows what lesson and idea that she wanted her readers to see having Amani and Maram crossed their paths. It is wonderful to see how Amani could be brave for her family and Maram could be so weak because of the pressure of her situation. I liked how contradicting their personalities and yet the two finds a certain point where they could just be friends. Not a slave, not a queen. Just friends who understand each other. Since it is obvious that the one thing Maram wants in her side is a friend she could trust and talk to about her problems and worries. A confidant that she didn’t have until Amani.
A good book wouldn’t end without conflict, well…Let’s say Mirage has some little-complicated things – especially, issues about trust.
Although I find Mirage enjoyable, I really think it doesn’t live up to the hype and my expectations. There are things that are too dull and boring, then there are some scenarios that I find interesting. I think, Somaiya Daud could write Mirage longer than it is. It is way too short and I could only remember the Science-Fiction aspect of the book. I would appreciate it if there’s a little introduction to the Fantasy aspect of the novel.
All in all, it is a good book if you want to look for a good read in between contemporary or romance novels.
MY RATINGS: 3.5 STARS.
(I was determined to give this book 4 stars but writing this review I really find it generous.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined 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 Book.