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.
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Mirage (Mirage, #1) Review
- January 1, 1970Emily May“you are not defined by the men in your life, no matter how powerful. You lived before them and you shall live after them. You can’t let them determine your path.” 3 1/2 stars. Now THIS is the feminist YA fantasy of 2018, not Heart of Thorns. It's imperfect, yes, falling into a number of debut author traps, but it's a slow-burning, diverse fantasy with a rich, Moroccan-inspired setting.Somewhat surprisingly, Mirage is a character-driven fantasy. Most YA fantasy I read is driven by mindless acti “you are not defined by the men in your life, no matter how powerful. You lived before them and you shall live after them. You can’t let them determine your path.” 3 1/2 stars. Now THIS is the feminist YA fantasy of 2018, not Heart of Thorns. It's imperfect, yes, falling into a number of debut author traps, but it's a slow-burning, diverse fantasy with a rich, Moroccan-inspired setting.Somewhat surprisingly, Mirage is a character-driven fantasy. Most YA fantasy I read is driven by mindless action and romance, but Daud crafts fascinating relationship dynamics between her female characters. Amani's romance with Idris was unexciting to me, but that's okay because it was totally eclipsed by the far more interesting growing relationship between Amani and Maram (I was kinda hoping the romance would be between them, to be honest).In this world - a vaguely sci-fi setting that reads like a fantasy (not unlike Meyer's Lunar Chronicles) - Amani is kidnapped from her poor village on the moon, Cadiz, and taken to the royal palace, the Ziyaana, on the planet of Andala. There she finds she is the body double of the cruel princess Maram and must pose as the princess and learn to imitate her at societal events. The book looks at themes of colonialism and the erasure of native cultures. Andala has been invaded and occupied by the Vathek Empire-- which cannot coincidentally share the name of Beckford's orientalist Vathek. Away from the prying eyes of the Vathek elite, Amani and Idris celebrate Kushaila poetry and bond over their stories of the occupation.But what I enjoyed most was how Daud develops Maram into such a complex and interesting character. I love "villains" who are more than simply bad. I dislike so much that she does but I care about her, too. Also interesting is Amani's navigation through the political and social world she finds herself in, and how easily she soon finds it to become Maram, even seduced by the power she holds.As I said, it's not perfect. The sci-fi elements are perfunctory in a novel that otherwise seems to be a straight-up fantasy book. The addition of droids adds nothing of interest, which is disappointing. There is also the standard "character made to recite world history for no good reason" that happens so often in YA fantasy. There has to be a better way to integrate this info.It's a slower book than the average YA fantasy, focusing on conversations and exploring relationships. Amani must juggle allies and decide who, if anyone, she can trust. And, you know, it was actually really refreshing-- to have both a unique setting and a tale that focuses on character interactions and court politics. I'll be reading the sequel.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtubemore
- January 1, 1970EmI am, as the poets say, a complete mess over this book.I love this book for many reasons: least of which that lately I’ve been full of the restless, dissatisfied energy that seemed to move into my heart after finishing a book, I’ve been chasing that particular high you only get from certain rare stories – the ones that make you want to press the book against your chest and try to soak up the gorgeous literature via osmosis, the ones that resonate with you on a strange personal level, like a remi I am, as the poets say, a complete mess over this book.I love this book for many reasons: least of which that lately I’ve been full of the restless, dissatisfied energy that seemed to move into my heart after finishing a book, I’ve been chasing that particular high you only get from certain rare stories – the ones that make you want to press the book against your chest and try to soak up the gorgeous literature via osmosis, the ones that resonate with you on a strange personal level, like a reminder of a half-remembered memory that was once very dear to you but has somehow been forgotten; and chief of which is the ragged awe of reading something so achingly familiar, a story that feels like home, and the most gentle and glowy emotion in your chest at the knowledge that your culture has found its way into the YA fare and has been brought to an audience who likely would not have known about it otherwise. So, what is this book about? Mirage is set in a Moroccan proxy world called Cadiz, a moon of the planet Andala which has been conquered by the Vath, a ruthless empire from another planet intent on erasing the customs and traditions of the Cadiz people. During her community’s traditional coming of age ceremony, 18-year-old Amani is violently stolen from her family in an impoverished village on Cadiz, and held captive in the imperial palace, Ziyaana, where she is shocked to find that she bears a striking resemblance to the half-Vathek princess, Maram vak Mathis, who is known to be as cruel and unforgiven as her Vathek father but with the face of her Kushaila mother. In response to increased rebel attacks, Amani is forced to train to become the princess’s body double. “I had lost a battle I’d never been equipped to fight. I’d been stripped of all things that were meant to be mine, that Dihya had blessed me with, and now – how could I keep myself, preserve myself, if I had none of myself left?If all I had was Maram?” Mirage is drawn from recent Moroccan history, especially a historical episode known as The Years of Lead or the “black years”– the period in Morocco between the 1960s and 1980s under the reign of Hassan II. A very dark era folded in the history of my country that was notable for violent crackdowns against dissent that ranged from poetic expression to insisting on the recognition of Morocco’s many indigenous groups. It was a time of fear, a state of utter terror when officials acting on behalf of the monarchy have tortured, kidnapped, arrested and murdered without a trace thousands of victims. The book also addresses the enduring wounds of colonialism, appropriation, injustice, suppression and erasure along with orientalist tropes. And Amani’s experiences of prejudice and structural inequalities draw vivid parallels with our world, without allowing a didactic message to dominate.But what is most fascinating about this book is the way the author taps into a rich imaginative lineage as she weaves Northwest African mythology into a bespoke world that resonates with our own. Andalan is truly a treat of a fantasy world, fully-formed and entirely thought-out, with a thematically rich mythology and a gorgeous imagery. Many elements of the story are modeled on concepts specific to the Amazigh – an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa that predates the Arabs of Morocco but that’s been historically left out of the political process and severely marginalized, like the warrior queen Dihya (also known as Kahena) who still serves as a symbol of empowerment and feminism and anti-colonialism.With a propulsive pacing and a compelling narrative, the story felt like a gaping chasm of possibilities, fearful and breathless and awed. There was a sense of magic, of possibility and of anxious danger as Amani enters a world that is as alluring as it is treacherous, as she learns to navigate the complexities of court and the machinations of politics, as her days as a prisoner in the imperial palace become increasingly bleak and she finds solace in poetry. Throughout her journey, Amani slowly develops the resilience needed to fight back. I love how she starts out as someone who is furious at the injustices being committed against her indigenous community but feels as if she is uncapable of doing anything about it, that she is too small for the skin she wanted to carry. But by the end of the novel, she becomes a person who can be a rebel, a person who not only has found the strengh to endure – but to act. “The crown of Dhiya has 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 home.” I also loved how the rest of the characters have been humanized by giving them the room to be fully fleshed and multidimensional instead of diminishing the full spectrum of their personality and presence. The reluctant friendship that emerges between Amani and Maram, the princess, positions itself structurally as the heart of the book, as Amani finds out that Maram is a forgery. The half-Vathek, half-Kushaila princess has lived her life being too foreign for her conquered people, too foreign for her conquering empire, never enough for both. Her cruelty is merely her last attempt at hardening her heart into armor and chiseling herself into a harder but ultimately, a less truer version of herself.The romance between Amani and Maram’s fiancé, Idris, is definitely trope-based and kind of insta-lovey which would have otherwise made the cynic I am at heart cringe inwardly. But honestly? I loved how it wasn’t the crux of the book. Amani, as a strong female character with a strong, compelling narrative is a teen navigating love, intimacy, and affection without being denied depth of character.And all of it makes it so exciting to remember that this is just the first book of a duology. We’ll get to see the author develop her mythological system and work out the first-book kinks over the course of this series. There’s definitely a lot to look forward to. “Happiness is rebellion.” ✨ Thank you so much to Mel for sending me this arc in particular and for being her lovely, generous self in general 💛BLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLRmore
- January 1, 1970Sabaa TahirI have been waiting for this book and I didn't even know it. Smart, fast-paced, sexy, heartbreaking, with spectacular worldbuilding. The cultural details, from names to clothes to physical descriptions to poetry are so painstakingly and carefully done. It's a sci-fi that feels like a fantasy, which tbh is my favorite genre combo. You will be hearing me yell about this book all year. Add it to your TBRs, try to get your hands on an ARC. It is absolutely fantastic.more
- January 1, 1970MelanieARC provided by Flatiron in exchange for an honest review.You all should check out this amazing ownvoices review from Em! 💜 “On a small moon orbiting a large planet, in a small farmhouse in a small village, there was a box, and in this box was a feather.” Mirage is a magical, wonderful, important, gift to the YA SFF world. From characters I fell in love with, to the messages about the importance of your culture and your family, to the most lyrical and beautiful writing. I loved this story with ARC provided by Flatiron in exchange for an honest review.You all should check out this amazing ownvoices review from Em! 💜 “On a small moon orbiting a large planet, in a small farmhouse in a small village, there was a box, and in this box was a feather.” Mirage is a magical, wonderful, important, gift to the YA SFF world. From characters I fell in love with, to the messages about the importance of your culture and your family, to the most lyrical and beautiful writing. I loved this story with my whole heart, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it. This story is an ownvoices Moroccan inspired story about a young girl named Amani, who has known nothing but oppression on the moon that she and her family live on. She and her family are farmers, trying to live the best life possible, even with the constant heartbreak surrounding them. “You learned a different sort of fear when you grew up in a village like mine. Fear of hunger. Fear of Imperial droids. Fear of the low hum that came with Imperial probes. But that fear taught you endurance—you could let its unwavering presence wear you down, or you could learn to stand up despite it.” In this galaxy, the Vathek rule, and are slowly trying to erase other cultures, religions, and beliefs around them. While also trying to do any and everything to ensure there is no uprising or rebellion. But the rebels have been planning, and calculating, and waiting, and will do anything to make sure that the Vath do not continue to oppress and rise. Amani has finally turned eighteen, which means she gets to finally celebrate her coming of age with others in her village. She has been looking forward to this day, and the blessing that will be bestowed upon her, for her entire life. And Amani is able to get her daan, a tattoo that means everything to her; her family, her faith, her inheritance. But the celebration gets crashed and quickly comes to a terrible end. “I’d dreamed forever of leaving Cadiz, of visiting other star systems in our galaxy. But I’d never thought I would be taken against my will. I was dragged through the building, pulled onto a ship, silent and numb, then finally deposited in a holding cell.” Amani gets kidnapped by imperial droids and flown to the royal empire. Upon arrival, she soon realized the reason she was taken; she is nearly identical to the Princess Maram, the heir to the throne, a girl who is cruel, and is wicked, and is disliked by both sides of her people, because she is half of the other. Maram’s father conquered Andala, and violated galactic law, so the only way he could keep the planet was to marry and have a child, so Maram was born. And Maram has a half-sister that very much does not think that Maram should rule, and she might be willing to do anything to make sure of it. Maram is in fear for her life, so she rationalizes abducting Amani and forcing her to make her public appearances, while promising her death if she fails to be convincing. Amani is thrown into a world that she has never known, while being constantly reminded of the family, culture, and traditions she had to leave behind. Maram’s father also murdered most of the families that lead the resistance against him conquering their planet, even though they did surrender. A boy named Idris, was spared from the Purge, as a reminder what would happen if people tried to oppose this new ruler. But he was also promised to be married to Maram once she comes of age, so she will forever be tied to the planet her father bloodily conquered. Trigger warnings and content warnings for kidnapping, physical abuse quite frequently and heartbreakingly, war themes, death, murder, forced body alterations, talk and depiction of sever grief and trauma. “He a prince and I a slave in all but name. There was no happy ending to this story, no way for the two of us to make one.” And Amani is forced to play so many roles, while she convincingly has to pretend to be a princess whose father has taken so much from so many. And Amani is therefore thrown into a world of politics, betrayals, secrets, and even love.This book beautifully illustrates that we are not the actions of our parents and the terrible things that humans are capable of doing. We are only our actions, and we are only held accountable for our actions, and for the actions we choose to repent for. “We are not responsible for what cruel masters enact in our name.” This book perfectly talks about family, culture, religion, traditions, and the things we are willing to do for them and in the name of them. Honor and believing in something are one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, forces in any galaxy. And standing up for your convictions is sometimes the only thing we have in this world. Never, ever, stop believing. “When Dihya wanted to give you a sign He slipped the feather into your hand. When He wanted to command you to a calling, to take action, He sent the bird itself.” The book amazingly showcases how important friendships can be, and how loneliness can take many forms. Everyone deals with depression, grief, and trauma differently. And sometimes an unexpected friendship can be the thing that makes you feel even a little bit better. Kindness truly is sometimes the best thing that we can give to another living soul. Overall, Somaiya Daud’s debut SFF novel blew me away. I loved this with my entire heart and soul. This book is beautiful, this book is powerful, and this book is completely captivating. I never wanted to put this down, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Don’t sleep on this book, friends. Preorder this before it’s August 28th release! Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens, Lilly at Lair of Books, Jules at JA Ironside, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, & Chelsea at Chelsea Palmer! ❤more
- January 1, 1970Cait • A Page with a ViewRelease date: August 28, 2018Ok pretty sure this is going to be another one of my top reads of this year. It felt like a fantasy story with sci-fi elements mixed in and was just so wonderfully original. I was initially going to mention that I thought this story had echoes of Star Wars, buuuut that probably just reflects how shallow my actual sci-fi knowledge is instead of anything about the story. ANYWAYS this whole story is SO WELL DONE. The basic idea is that Amani is kidnapped by imperial dro Release date: August 28, 2018Ok pretty sure this is going to be another one of my top reads of this year. It felt like a fantasy story with sci-fi elements mixed in and was just so wonderfully original. I was initially going to mention that I thought this story had echoes of Star Wars, buuuut that probably just reflects how shallow my actual sci-fi knowledge is instead of anything about the story. ANYWAYS this whole story is SO WELL DONE. The basic idea is that Amani is kidnapped by imperial droids because she looks exactly like the cruel princess. She's taken off her home planet and forced to start a new life as a stand-in who will impersonate the princess at public events and wherever there might be trouble. Amani grows close to "her" fiance, who initially doesn't realize that she's not the princess. After the two travel to a distant moon and encounter more of the rebellion, Amani decides to use her position aaaand gains a lot more agency... The writing was absolutely wonderful, the story flowed perfectly, the settings were really vivid & creative, the romance totally worked, and the characters were all well developed & realistic. I loved how complex the princess was. Even characters who weren't in a ton of the story, like Aziz & Husnain, were really strong! And I was just so thrilled to see a well-rounded story that had a full plot arc on its own, yet still set up the sequels perfectly. You can totally get into this one without worrying about having to wait for a sequel for the plot to deliver!The back of the book mentions the author's interest in Arabic poetry and I think that passion really came through in the story. Every element of this gorgeous, creative world worked together perfectly to create a truly original story that I think fans of SO many genres will enjoy!!Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.more
- January 1, 1970destiny ☠ howling librariesThat was absolutely AMAZING. Don't sleep on this when it comes out in August! RTCBuddy read with Danielle, Kelly, and Kaleena! ♥♥♥
- January 1, 1970C.G. DrewsThis is such a lush sci-fi with an AWESOME premise! Body-doubles and rich backstabby courts and rebellions and the actual most intricately detailed culture and world! (Although lowkey thought it was fantasy?! I think the non-galaxy-starry cover threw me haha.) It's also really important and special to see #ownvoices sci-fi featuring POC characters and culture. I'm sad there were things that didn't work for me regarding plot logic/writing style...but I still think it's a beautiful book and will a This is such a lush sci-fi with an AWESOME premise! Body-doubles and rich backstabby courts and rebellions and the actual most intricately detailed culture and world! (Although lowkey thought it was fantasy?! I think the non-galaxy-starry cover threw me haha.) It's also really important and special to see #ownvoices sci-fi featuring POC characters and culture. I'm sad there were things that didn't work for me regarding plot logic/writing style...but I still think it's a beautiful book and will appeal to many readers.more
- January 1, 1970may ➹after three days of trying to read this and literally reading only 1%, I’m giving up. I have to come back to it eventually and it wasn’t bad??? but the amount of motivation I had to read this was the equivalent of the amount that I have when I’m supposed to get out of bed (which is to say, none)more
- January 1, 1970Elise (TheBookishActress)this is "inspired by the author's Moroccan background" and it's about a poor girl who becomes the body double to the cruel imperial princess. this sounds like The Diabolic but I'm lowkey so hopeful it's better considering how many of my friends have adored it!!more
- January 1, 1970Jasmine from How Useful It IsAbout: Mirage is a young adult fantasy written by Somaiya Daud. It will be published on 8/28/18 by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, 320 pages. The genres are young adult, fantasy, and science fiction. This book is the author’s debut and is intended for readers ages 13 to 18. My Experience: I started reading Mirage on 4/6/18 and finished it on 4/14/18. This book is an excellent read! I love that there’s a village on the moon. The body double is interesting to read, especially w About: Mirage is a young adult fantasy written by Somaiya Daud. It will be published on 8/28/18 by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, 320 pages. The genres are young adult, fantasy, and science fiction. This book is the author’s debut and is intended for readers ages 13 to 18. My Experience: I started reading Mirage on 4/6/18 and finished it on 4/14/18. This book is an excellent read! I love that there’s a village on the moon. The body double is interesting to read, especially when Amani learn her subject mostly by observation. She doesn’t know the inside secrets of what Princess Maram revealed to her fiancé and friends. I like Idris and his cleverness. I like how Amani hold on to her language and culture like a precious stone and Idris regrets forgetting his mother’s tongue. “You can read?” “My mother taught me.” It’s a good reminder to me because as I live in a country I was not born in, I lose the feeling of importance to teach my son the language and culture I was born with because I want him to succeed where he born and lives.This book is told in the first person point of view following Amani, 18, as she gets ready to attend the majority night celebration to celebrate her and fellow villagers’ coming of age by getting a face tattoo (daan). She lives on a poor forgotten moon in a small village with her parents and two older brothers in a tribe. The party was ambushed by droids and then Amani got taken away against her will leaving her family and all she’s known behind. She soon learns that she will become the body double for the wicked and cruelest Princess Maram, 17. Princess Maram’s life is in danger because she was born 50/50 between good & evil and since they both look alike, Amani is suited for the job. Amani will have to endure many harsh training lessons to eat, talk, and walk like Princess Maram. There are different cultures and languages in this book. Some languages are forbidden and some cultural practices are prohibited. The current King is ruthless and there are rebels that want to overthrow the King and Princess Maram. Amani is put to the test when she begins to journey to faraway places for an extended period of time as Princess Maram, but her challenge takes an unexpected turn where she least expected it.A well written story, this book introduce an interesting plot and an unfamiliar language/culture to challenge readers. I have to admit that my pronunciation of names and locations in this book sounds as foreign to me as it looks. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to unravel how a village girl saves herself from her face when she no longer has her freedom. I like the forbidden love portion of the book as well as the importance of valuing your own history. I like that Amani know so much of everything even though she lives in a village far away from the city. I like the dispute Princess Maram struggles with, between good and evil and not knowing which direction to follow. The ending is a bit heart breaking as well as hopeful. I look forward to the sequel of this book. I highly recommend everyone to read this debut!Pro: fast paced, page turner, adrenaline rush, outer space, cultural practices, forbidden love, espionageCon: noneI rate it 5 stars!***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more detailsmore
- January 1, 1970NaimaI JUST GOT AN ARC FOR THIS IM SO EXCITED 😭🎉
- January 1, 1970CarrieMirage by Somaiya Daud is the first book of the new young adult romantic science fiction fantasy series by the same name. Eighteen year old Amani is from a poor family living in a village on a remote moon when droids show up scanning everyone they come across.When the droids scan Amani they find something within her that causes her capture and to be whisked away from her home. The next Amani knows she is meeting Princess Maram and finds she is staring into what is practically her own face. That Mirage by Somaiya Daud is the first book of the new young adult romantic science fiction fantasy series by the same name. Eighteen year old Amani is from a poor family living in a village on a remote moon when droids show up scanning everyone they come across.When the droids scan Amani they find something within her that causes her capture and to be whisked away from her home. The next Amani knows she is meeting Princess Maram and finds she is staring into what is practically her own face. That is when Amani knows what her crime was, being a mirror image of the Princess.Princess Maram is not a kind soul, following in the footsteps of her father she is known to be wicked and cruel and her first meeting with Amani proves to be no different than the rumors have led Amani to believe. Tortured and forced to learn the Princess' every move Amani is forced to become her body double and stand in during events in which the Princess' life will be in danger from assassins.I finished reading Mirage a couple of days ago and had to give this one some thought as to how I wanted to rate this opener. It's not a bad read by any means but I did have a few issues with this first book. The first being one that happens quite often and that is just being reminded of other books, movies or television, it took awhile to stop thinking of other things and get into this one on it's own.But the second is not necessarily bad but more my own preference when it comes to fantasy and that is this one is a heavily character driven read. The biggest portion of this opener is Amani and Idris and their goo goo eyes for one another then the next is Amani and Maram and their relationship forming and it seemed anything and everything else was buried within those interactions. Personally I like more action and more use of the scifi world and politics that the story is set in. The end of the book really picked up though which might give an indication of book 2 going a bit faster now that the character building is set. So in the end I decided to go 3.5 stars on this opener and hope for more in the upcoming installment.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more review please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/more
- January 1, 1970Candace RobinsonThis was another just okay read for me. I wasn’t a fan of some of the scifi elements, maybe that type of stuff just isn’t my thing. I did really like Amani and her poetry fetish. Although the writing was excellent and the romance was nice, I just wasn’t fist pumping over this one.more
- January 1, 1970may ❀ARABIAN SCI-FI FANTASY WITH A GORGEOUS COVERGIVE IT TO ME PLEASE BEFORE I JUMP INTO THE SUNalso, im 95% here for the fact that the villain shares the same name as my bestie 😂😂 that's what you get maram
- January 1, 1970Fadwa (Word Wonders)I..am not okay.I really am not okay.This book was absolutely stunning and it broke me. I really do not have the words right now to form coherent sentences and express how much it means to me.Review to come when can pick myself off the floor.
- January 1, 1970AmandaYou can also find my review here:https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....I went into this book on reputation alone. I didn't read the blurb. I heard that it was good and a fantasy. I had not read any reviews before reading. I tried to go into reading it with as little bias as possible. All I knew was that some bloggers and reviewers opinions who I trust enjoyed reading it. I am glad that I read Mirage because it was an epic fantasy that swept me off my feet.The plot moved kind of slowly. But it You can also find my review here:https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....I went into this book on reputation alone. I didn't read the blurb. I heard that it was good and a fantasy. I had not read any reviews before reading. I tried to go into reading it with as little bias as possible. All I knew was that some bloggers and reviewers opinions who I trust enjoyed reading it. I am glad that I read Mirage because it was an epic fantasy that swept me off my feet.The plot moved kind of slowly. But it didn't bother me because the characters were incredible and kept my attention. Amani was a compassionate and brave character who amazed me throughout the story. I found myself loving her through the entire book. But my favorite character was actually Maram. I hated her so much in the beginning, but I feel like her character arc and the changes she went through were more important. I also love star-crossed lovers so the romance got me by the heartstrings.Every relationship was built up slowly. Tiny intimate moments meant so much as the characters grow closer to one another. Intimate moments held the right amount of intensity with the writing as well. I felt emotionally attached to the characters. As a person who doesn't like contemporary romance much, I loved this book, where a lot of the focus was on the romance. I can only attribute that to good writing and amazing character development.I found myself so immersed in the culture of the world that Mirage was set in. The world building really made this one stand out. It felt like reading Aladdin, only set on a different planet. The culture was so important and was a big part in the story. I had a hard time pronouncing some of the things in my head, but since the information wasn't dumped on you all at once, but rather given piece by piece it didn't bother me that some things were hard to pronounce. It is clear that this is a story influenced by Arab culture, or Middle Eastern culture, which made this story so unique and so beautiful.When I got to the end I was crushed that it was over. I wanted more. Luckily, this is a series. Trust me when I tell you that this is one release you don't want to miss. The only book that I can compare it to is The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, if you like that book you will enjoy this one. I found it hard to believe that this was Somaiya Daud's debut novel, but I will be following for the rest of the series and anything else she comes out with.I received an Advanced review copy from Netgalley and Flat iron books.more
- January 1, 1970CourtneyI got to read MIRAGE early and it is brilliant.Wow.More: https://www.instagram.com/p/BdOFSe9n36P/-Step 1. Read the description.Step 2. Add to your To-Reads List immediately becauseStep 3. [heart eyes emojis]
- January 1, 1970BenjaminI received ARC in exchange for an honest review. RTC. Me trying to catch up with all the ARC I have:I'm so behind my reading schedule, but I will try to read more books and write reviews as fast as I can...I'm back btw.
- January 1, 1970Anissa (FairyLoot)Ahh, this book. Loved it so much!
- January 1, 1970BethGot an ARC and I’m readyyyyyy!
- January 1, 1970Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Alwaysa soft, charming, very feminist read!✨ lots of character development✨ relationships are lovely✨ confusing politics???✨ nothing much else happened???rtc
- January 1, 1970Allison3.5/5I enjoyed this book, but after giving it some consideration, I feel like there could be some improvements to it. I saw a bunch of 4 and 5 star reviews, and I was trying to get myself to like it, but in certain portions, I just found it boring. The concept sounded really great, as it kind of reflects back on the title of the book. The plot was just okay, and I felt like a lot of it wasn't necessary. Basically, the entire book was about Amari's developing relationships with Maram, Idris, and 3.5/5I enjoyed this book, but after giving it some consideration, I feel like there could be some improvements to it. I saw a bunch of 4 and 5 star reviews, and I was trying to get myself to like it, but in certain portions, I just found it boring. The concept sounded really great, as it kind of reflects back on the title of the book. The plot was just okay, and I felt like a lot of it wasn't necessary. Basically, the entire book was about Amari's developing relationships with Maram, Idris, and a few other characters. I feel like there wasn't any exciting events, as the entire book was about Amari going to a few events and pretending to be Maram. I did like the romance in the book, and I liked Maram's development all the way until the end of the book, where she turned against Amari and she went back to her undeveloped self. I mean, I might pick up the sequel to see if it gets any better, but this book wasn't bad as a whole. I can definitely see why others may like it, and it's all up to subjection. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me an e-arc of this book.more
- January 1, 1970Jodi MeadowsBeautiful worldbuilding and culture.
- January 1, 1970Lilly (Lair Of Books)ARC provided by Flatiron/Macmillan in exchange for an honest reviewBuddy Read: Melanie @Meltotheany | Amy @A Court Of Crowns and Quills | Julie @Pages and Pens | Jules @JA Ironsidet | Chelsea @Chelsea PalmerFULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKSMY REVIEW...***5 EPIC STARS***Content Warning: Physical abuse, Kidnapping, and Cultural erasureMirage is Somaiya Daud’s Moroccan inspired debut that will leave readers wanting more from this author once the very last page is read. I’m not sure ho ARC provided by Flatiron/Macmillan in exchange for an honest reviewBuddy Read: Melanie @Meltotheany | Amy @A Court Of Crowns and Quills | Julie @Pages and Pens | Jules @JA Ironsidet | Chelsea @Chelsea PalmerFULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKSMY REVIEW...***5 EPIC STARS***Content Warning: Physical abuse, Kidnapping, and Cultural erasureMirage is Somaiya Daud’s Moroccan inspired debut that will leave readers wanting more from this author once the very last page is read. I’m not sure how I’d missed the fact that this is a Sci-Fi book when I first came across it however, this only further served to enhance my curiosity. The fact that it also spoke of poetry in the blurb was a major draw & wow! I had no idea how much of a treat I’d signed myself up for with this one. Daud gives us beauty and pain all wrapped into one with Mirage & that it’s set on another planet/moon is just the backdrop to this story. At its core, Mirage is a story about cultural erasure and the brutality faced by an invaded peoples. We are introduced to an MC who has had everything she values most taken away from her but somehow manages to hold on just enough to never surrender her spirit. I admired our MC, her values, culture, tradition, and people defined her and emboldened her to fight back. Mirage doesn’t read like a debut at all but instead that of the works of a seasoned author. Daud is an author I will be keeping an eye out for and hoping to everything that we get more of her writing in the very near future *fingers crossed*For Amani, receiving the tattoos on her face known as Daan on her Majority Night was everything to look forward to. A representation of stepping into adulthood, a rites of passage. Nothing could’ve prepared her for the events that destroyed her ceremony & took her away from those she loved. Kidnapped by imperial droids, Amani is taken covertly to the royal palace. There, she meets royal heir Maram who she is the spitting image of. Maram has plans for Amari that would make her a human shield. For Maram, being part Andaalan from her Mother’s side has always generated her much hate from the Vathek on her father’s side. She knows her life faces constant threat and figured Amani would make the perfect body double. Stripping Amani of her Daan was just the beginning, she is also made to learn Vathek mannerisms, history, and etiquette against her will and through physical abuse. Maram isn’t the only heir with a claim to the throne, she has an older sister who poses a threat and proving her worth to her father and the Vathek is her top priority.We see Amani get sent out as Maram’s doppelganger which allows her an inside look to the politics of the kingdom. She also spends plenty of time with Maram which inevitably leads to learning her vulnerabilities. Part of acting in as Maram means keeping up appearances with her courtship as she is promised to Prince Idris ibn Salih. Idris is from one of the oldest and largest Andaalan royal families who once resisted Vathek invasion. Their concession to Vathek rule resulted in the loss of many lives and Idris the last surviving heir was pledged to marry Maram. The true test would be seeing if Amani could pass for Maram while in his company. Both Idris and Amani carry the weight of their peoples loss and pain on their shoulders. They both have so much in common that a connection is almost impossible not to make once they start spending time together as a part of their courting. This romance is dangerous and had my full attention from the very start, every meet-up had me a bit nervous for these two. We see both Amani & Idris make decisions in hopes of one day freeing their people which means they will also face some serious obstacles & I’m just here hoping theirs is a good ending.If you’re looking for A+ world building, political intrigue, strong characters, Moroccan inspired culture, and yes a bit of insta-love (but I promise it’s the one you’ll want to root for haha!) and a bit of Sci-Fi along the way… then MIRAGE is the book you’re going to want to read! so much lush culture & tradition within these pages that I am left anxiously & patiently waiting on the follow-up.more
- January 1, 1970Noha BadawiI have a l o t to say about this book.I need some time to wrap my head around it for it to come out right.
- January 1, 1970idiolectsthis is the truest space fantasy pleasure cruise i've taken since star wars took me to space monaco—get ready, now, for space morocco!—and the most clearly rendered in its detail and intention in... a while. no spoilers, but the engine of this book drives PERFECTLY and the vessel is equal parts streamlined for starworthiness and viscerally lush. it knows itself, grounds its world, loves its material, knows its own heart, and if you're reading this you should be very excited for august.more
- January 1, 1970ilsa ➹WHY AM I THE LAST PERSON ON EARTH TO HEAR ABOUT THIS?! IM ALL HERE FOR SUPPORTING WRITERS OF COLOUR!! ALSO THAT COVER!!! THIS BETTER NOT DISAPPOINT!!!
- January 1, 1970Julie Zantopoulos* ARC provided by Flatiron Books in return for an honest review. I was so thrilled when I got approved for the physical arc of this stunning, diverse, and richly woven story of Amani, who is the exact double of the cruel Princess Maram. She's recruited to act as the Princesses double, making public appearances and risking her life as the rebellion strengthens. She finds comfort in the Princesses fiance, Idris and the religion and culture she was stolen from, even if both are forbidden. This is a * ARC provided by Flatiron Books in return for an honest review. I was so thrilled when I got approved for the physical arc of this stunning, diverse, and richly woven story of Amani, who is the exact double of the cruel Princess Maram. She's recruited to act as the Princesses double, making public appearances and risking her life as the rebellion strengthens. She finds comfort in the Princesses fiance, Idris and the religion and culture she was stolen from, even if both are forbidden. This is a fantasy sci-fi with planet travel, drones, and technological advances, which was a really cool combination. I loved the mythology, the heritage, and tradition that this story wove. It is a story much like a lot we have seen before, a girl put in an impossible position and making the most of it, taking comfort and making friends however she can. The love story in this was insta but legit, I didn't care. It was sweet and pure and lovely. Idris is a freaking dreamboat in my head. There are some lovely lines in this story, beautiful writing and a pace set in the story that I really did enjoy. Each day, as the buddy read pages, ended I was compelled to keep reading. Which, of course, means that I finished early because I couldn't put it down. That's always a great sign! It was a bit tropey, a tad insta lovey, but the story was great and overall a total win. I can't wait for everyone else to experience this brilliant book when it releases in August. I read with the following fantastic ladies: Melanie at Meltotheany, Lilly at Lair of Books, Chelsea at Chelsea Palmer , Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills , and Jules at JA Ironside!more
- January 1, 1970carnovalesqueOkay. To preface: this is not a bad book. This is a good book. In some ways, in fact, it's great. I just want to stress this because my review might seem overly critical, but most of my reasons are really all about me and my tastes, which seem to be changing. So what is this book about? Well, the Goodreads summary does a pretty good job explaining about 50% of the book (which is part of the problem, but I'll get to it later). So, Amani is Princess Maram's body double, she predictably falls in in Okay. To preface: this is not a bad book. This is a good book. In some ways, in fact, it's great. I just want to stress this because my review might seem overly critical, but most of my reasons are really all about me and my tastes, which seem to be changing. So what is this book about? Well, the Goodreads summary does a pretty good job explaining about 50% of the book (which is part of the problem, but I'll get to it later). So, Amani is Princess Maram's body double, she predictably falls in instalove with the Maram's fiance, and she predictably decides to spy for the rebellion. That's pretty much it (also part of the problem, but again, later).Right, so, first, let me talk about what I loved. First, the North African culture. Y'all. Y'ALL. I have NEVER seen North African culture in a YA fantasy. I mean, yes, I'm Egyptian and not Moroccan and those two things are waaaaay more different than most people think but I still recognized a lot of stuff and it just filled me with joy to be reading about food and words and customs I was familiar with. I loved how the author played around with fantasy and reality and how she adapted Morocco's Amazigh culture. Like. You barely see vague Arab/Middle Eastern culture represented, let alone specific Amazigh things like their tradition of tattooing their faces. Loved that. And I loved how the author talked about colonialism and its effects. Second, the writing. The writing is what initially drew me in. See, I hadn't planned on reading this book now at all. But I saw someone on here review it and I thought I'd just see how it starts and I was hooked by the writing, which was really good. It's very descriptive without overdoing anything and it's just the right amount of formal without being stilted. Third, I loved the relationship between Maram and Amani. I thought it was a really fascinating dynamic they had going on especially as they started to become friends. Whenever they had a scene together I was hooked.Okay, now for the not so great. First, this was boring. Like, really boring. Remember how I said the summary explains 50% of the book? Yeah. It's really slow. Barely anything actually happens in this book. Amani only meets the rebels at the 51% mark. It's just endless stretches of nothing happening, then Maram attending a party or something as Maram, and then nothing again. It was boring, and it was repetitive. By the 30% mark I was struggling to get through it. I just wasn't interested. Part of that is because the characters weren't that interesting. Maram is fascinating - I kind of wish we'd had the story from her perspective, actually. Amani is fine, but I didn't get strong vibes off her, and Idris is suuuuuuuper dull. He serves no purpose. He may as well not have existed.Which brings me to my second point. The instalove. So, I don't actually hate romance. It might seem like I do, but I don't. I've been known to swoon over well-done romances. But this felt very much like an Inexplicable Heterosexual Romance shoehorned into an otherwise decent story for no reason at all. The first time Amani meets Idris she finds him handsome and charming, the second time they're together they make out, and the third time they're declaring their love for one another? It was dramatic and boring and predictable and it did not need to be there. Every scene these two had together was boring. Amani's interactions with literally every other character were so much more interesting. Third, okay, I'm just gonna say it: the setting of this book is fucking weird. I don't get it. So, they're in space...there's galaxies and spaceships and androids, somehow...but they still live like it's Olden Times? What? I feel like the author was going for a Firefly-type vibe here, but it didn't work for me at all. I would start to find my groove somewhere and then the story would drove a word like "droid" or "holoreel" and it would take me right back out. It was so jarring and inconsistent. It felt like the technology that was included was just included to make certain things more convenient for the plot. I don't understand why this couldn't have just been set in Olden Times and left at that. I would have liked it way more. This way it just feels gimmicky, because the whole space/galaxy thing doesn't really come in except when the plot needs a particular technology. It's not even clear how long these people have lived here or what existed before these planets or where exactly they came from.Finally, and here's where this review gets a lot more personal, I'm just so over this type of YA fantasy plot. I keep seeing it recycled over and over again. Country is conquered/a people are discriminated against, MC joins rebels and fights conquerors. It's been done to death. And, I mean, that's not this book's fault. Not at all. Like I said, I do think it's a good book, and, like Laura Sebastian's Ash Princess, it does the job it's meant to do, and I know there will be a lot of people who will love it. I totally get that. I might have loved it too, if I had read it in, say, 2015. But at this point, I've read this plot SO many times, with little to no new variations, that I'm just tired of it, and all the inevitable tropes that come along with it. Again, not the book's fault, and I highly recommend this to people who still do love this sort of YA fantasy, but at this point I think it's just not for me.more
- January 1, 1970elThe ratings for this are insane,, gotta see what all that fuss is about
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