Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Published: August 28, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Hardcover Pages: 320

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts: Man did I want to like this book. It's sort of a combination of fantasy and science fiction, leaning more toward the fantasy, which should be my dang bread and butter. But it took me a whole month to read because, if I'm being honest, I was just kind of... bored. I wanted more to actually happen. More twists. More turns. More, you know, stuff.

I read one review that called it fast-paced and I was like what book did you just read? Though the book isn't long, and certainly Amani does change throughout the course of the novel, the action itself is very limited. I often find myself projecting what I think a big twist might be in many books, and oftentimes I am right. But here I was just left waiting for that twist, and it never came. Who knows, maybe it will come in the future, but it was pretty much the only thing I kept reading on hoping to find.

Now, the world-building and the descriptions are all very well done. I feel like I understand the world, the way the people are oppressed by this other empire and all, very well. And Maram, who is sort of the villain, but not at the same time, is a very intriguing character who could have been the main focus of the book as well just because she has a backstory that is arguably more unique than Amani's.

What was most disappointing to me, though, had to be the ending. I got to the last sentences and was like wait, this is the end? That's it? I can tell it's meant to continue, but it felt like an incomplete story. Maybe it's because I read the whole climax in very staccato bits rather than all together at once, but it really didn't make me want to continue on in the series, sadly. Again, I was waiting for a twist that didn't come, at least not in the way I was expecting or hoping, so I just was left unsatisfied.

All of this being said, many people have given it rave reviews on Goodreads, so maybe I'm just not the right audience!

Rating: 2.5/5

What I'm Reading Next: Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

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