Series: Mirage #1
Format: ARC (thank you, Flatiron!)
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.
I picked up MIRAGE on a whim, and I’m really glad I did. MIRAGE is a science-fiction novel, very heavy in politics and extremely distinct class systems. In this novel, Amani, a village girl, is kidnapped and forced to be a body-double for Princess Maram, who is immensely hated, in case of attempts on her life.
I really enjoyed reading about Amani’s physical transformation into Maram, yet still being able to maintain her own morals and love for her family. Throughout the novel, Amani is introduced to Maram’s fiance, Idris, and slowly falls in love with him, which causes some interesting conflicts considering that Amani is still technically a prisoner.
Additionally, the writing in this novel is absolutely phenomenal. It is so detailed and ornate, and there are so many nuances to the political nature of this book. The only limitation I have to this novel is that I felt like it could have been longer – I feel like this novel could definitely be improved if there was more time and pages to make it feel like the characters and the plot could be developed and less rushed.
Overall, MIRAGE is a wonderful new debut novel from Daud, and I look forward to reading the sequel. If you enjoy stories with a royal setting, political conflicts, and lush writing, be sure to pick this book up!
Thank you to Flatiron Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Alice is an 19 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.