Review // Mirage

Title: Mirage
Author: Somaiya Daud
Published: August 2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton (Hachette Australia)
Readership: Young Adult
Genre: Science-Fiction
Rating: ★★★.5
RRP: $19.99 AUD

I received a copy of Mirage from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The crown of Dihya had been stripped from me, my face changed, my body broken.
But I was not a slave and I was not a spare.

I was my mother’s daughter, and I would survive and endure. I would find my way back home.

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, sixteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation and receiving a sign 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 by the government and taken in secret to the royal palace. There, 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’ fiance, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear, and she soon realises that one wrong move could lead to her death…

Mirage was The YA Room’s book pick for September, and I was always going to read it. Young adult science-fiction books are a weakness of mine, especially when they promise strong female characters.

Mirage is the story of Amani, a seventeen-year old girl who is kidnapped by the ruling political party because she is near-identical to the heir to the Vathek throne, a cruel princess who looks down on all those around her. Trained to impersonate Maram and be her body double in dangerous situations, Amani quickly finds herself thrown into situations she’d never dreamed off, and finds herself beginning to enjoy the beauty of the palace, and the company of the princess’ friends, even as she begins to be swept up in political intrigue that could place her life in danger.

I really enjoyed Mirage. Somaiya Daud has created a very rich, history-filled world that, as a reader, I believed existed long before the story began. We’re thrown into the action straight away, and the culture and history that makes up the story are incredibly engaging and rich.

Amani goes through a rough transition from regular girl to trained royal, and she stumbles and falls along the way, learning all the time. She recognises when she’s made mistakes and tries to make the best of a situation she knows she has little control over. Her relationship with Idris, Maram’s fiance, was a bit quick, but that’s in part due to the fast pace of the book itself, and it’s with Idris that she truly begins to learn about what is really happening on a political scale.

Mirage was an absolute pleasure to read and I eagerly await the follow-up to it.

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