Friday, 24 August 2018

Mirage - Review

Book Review:
Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release date: August 28th 2018
I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Happiness is rebellion.”

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, and of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventures, and travel beyond her isolated moon.
But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped 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 to appear in public, 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 and 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.

Hmm. I don't know where to begin.
Let me start off by saying, I did like Mirage. I think it's a great sci-fi that will interest many people, but it just wasn't what I expected.
First of all, I went into this book thinking it was a fantasy, but nope, it is definitely a sci-fi book with multiple planets and droids. Secondly it's quite a slow-burn of a book. Don't expect there to be major action every chapter or even for a good chunk of the first part of the book. Mirage is a book that slowly builds everything up, allowing you to absorb all the information and really get to know the world and characters before anything intense happens.

Before I touch upon what didn't work for me, let me tell you what I loved about this book, because I did overall enjoy it.
My favourite character in this book was Maram, who is technically the 'villain' of this novel. She kidnaps Amani and forces her to act as a body double, so obviously she's not the nicest of people. But getting further into this novel, you see there's more to her - she's a complex character with many layers to her. Although she's cruel, you can't help but feel bad for her. And her growing relationship with Amani was great. Their relationship was enemies to friendship, which I adore. Whenever they spent time together you could see their barriers slowly falling and the trust (very) slowly growing between the two.

Another thing I loved was the Moroccan elements. When reading a sci-fi/fantasy book, I love learning about different cultures. In YA books we've seen worlds inspired by Russia, Rome and many others, but I don't think I've ever read a book with Moroccan/North Africa rep. It's always great to see more cultures incorporated into novels because it's refreshing and allows more readers to feel seen.
The world Somaiya Daud created was undeniably rich.

But like I said, the book didn't work 100% for me. And the reason for that? It was just soooooo slow! The ARC I had was roughly 300 pages, and I honestly felt like I was waiting for something to happen for just over half of it. There was a lot of focus on characterisation and world-building, which was great, but as a result it felt like the plot was not moving along at all. The second half was better than the first, in terms of moving things along, but it was still a long wait for some sort of intense action.

Next up, the romance. Throughout this novel we see Amani and Idris, who happens to be Maram's fiance, get close and form a romantic connection and relationship. It was kind of endearing, but ultimately I had no strong feelings about it. I am a sucker for romance, but every time Amani and Idris were together, I was hoping that it would be Maram with Amani instead, so we could see more of their budding friendship. The friendship in Mirage definitely interested me more than the romance, which I'm actually really happy about, because YA should focus more on friendships (between females in particular.)

Overall, although I wasn't blown completely away by Mirage, I did enjoy many aspects of it and I am planning on picking up and reading the sequel when it releases next year.

If you enjoy slow-burn books that focus on rich world-building and characterisation, I do recommend picking up this book. I can already tell that it will appeal to quite a lot of readers!

3 Stars


  1. I love books that focuss on character development! it looks like it really need to get a copy of thiss book for myself

    also great review

    1. Thank you! And yes, if you love a lot of character development, please do pick up this book!!