Monday, September 17, 2018

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Hachette

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’ 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 perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.
Review by Nara

There were certainly some cliched and predictable things about the plot of Mirage. In particular I'm thinking of the romance, which was about at stereotypical as you could get it. However, I didn't actually mind that this was the case because the book still had enough unique aspects that meant I could I ignore the cliches. And the romance was quite well developed even if it did follow the typical path.

Despite being a science fiction novel, Mirage reads much more like a high fantasy. There isn't a lot of focus on technology or space travel; mostly the book focuses on the politics of the Vathek empire. To be honest, you could literally make the various moons and planets different countries on a high fantasy world and the book would read exactly the same. Still, Daud did an admirable job of building the various cultures in her world, especially with her descriptive writing.

Very much a character focused slow novel, I would probably actually recommend Mirage to those who like political high fantasy novels.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5