Published by Flatiron Books on August 28, 2018
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 received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This cover. The synopsis. Sci-fi. Fantasy. Moroccan-inspired. What could be better???
As it turns out…….a lot.
While I did not hate my time spent reading Mirage, I did feel that it was a gigantic let down and an average book at best. First of all, there is no science in this fiction. It takes place on a random moon somewhere in outer space, and that’s all we get to learn about it. You want to know more about this moon? Too bad, the world building is non-existent.
Another huge issue that ties into the lack of world building is that the pacing for this book is WAY off. Our main character is chosen to be a body double for the princess and her transformation is basically brushed over in a single paragraph. Where did the rest of the story go??? There is insanely fast insta-love and a succession of scenes that could have been more but are whittled down into a few sentences until they feel inconsequential.
I personally cannot speak on the representation in this book, but there are many wonderful reviews on Goodreads that I suggest you explore if you are interested in giving Mirage a try.
I would be interested in seeing what this book could have been if it was 400 or 500 pages long. It had such promise, but unfortunately, it tried to accomplish too much in too few pages and that caused the story to fall very flat.
When you expect so much more…..
…..blame it on the books.