Author: Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1
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 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 received a free copy for an honest review. This book was such a shame, it had every potential to be my newest addition to my all-time favorite shelf. It has all the factors/tropes I ever loved, princes, secret identity, fantasy/sci-fi, royalty, and even the idea of being a princess' doppelganger and posing in replacement as her body double seems really promising. So what went wrong? I try to not pin all the problem I have with this book on the fact that this book didn't have a slow-burn/hate-love relationship (which is SUCH a missed opportunity by the way. Definitely was the first huge blow I got and a big disappointment for me personally). I also know it's not the story's problem, because like I said previously, the story of this book was one of the things that drew me in because it seems so interesting. Maram also proved herself to be a very well-written and in-depth villain that is not "pure" evil, and despite never going into her head once, we still can sense her inner pain of being so hated, stuck "in-between" due to her heritage, and it makes her a very intriguing antagonist. So back to my point, what ruined this book for me? The narration. My alarm bells started ringing like crazy the moment immediately after the first few pages, because several adjectives popped into my head when I'm describing this narration to myself that immediately got me realized how this is going to be a problem for me: soft, kind of weak, slow, gentle...and almost boring. This reminded me, again, how important it is to make sure your book's narrative interesting to read. Because we are viewing the story al from one pair of eyes (usually), so no matter how good your story is, if your main character is...boring, your narrative is boring, it's going to do some serious damage to one's reading experience.
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 Books in 8/28/2018.