Mirage

Mirage

by Somaiya Daud

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250126429
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 32,169
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Somaiya Daud is a twenty-something writer and PhD candidate at the University of Washington. A former bookseller in the children's department at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC, Somaiya is passionate about Arabic poetry, the stars, and the Gothic novel. Mirage is her debut novel.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

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.

The box was old, its wood worn of any trace of design or paint. It smelled of saffron and cinnamon, sharp and sweet. Along with the feather there sat an old signet ring, a red bloom preserved in resin, and a strip of green velvet cloth, frayed around the edges.

I crept into my parents' room often when I was small, always to peek into the box. And its mystique only increased in my eyes when my mother began to hide it from me. The feather fascinated me. A five-year-old had no use for a ring or a flower or fabric. But the feather of a magical, extinct bird? Like all things from the old order, it called to me.

The feather was black, made up of a hundred dark, jewel shades. When I held it up to the light it rippled with blues and greens and reds, like magic reacting to some unseen hand, roiling to the surface. It had belonged to a tesleet bird, my mother said, birds once thought to be messengers of Dihya.

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. It was a holy and high calling, and not to be taken lightly. War, pilgrimage, the fate of nations: this was what the tesleet called a person for.

My grandfather had received a tesleet, though my mother never talked about why or even who he was.

"A foolhardy man who died grieving all he did not accomplish," she'd said to me once.

I stared into the old box, my eyes unfocused, my gaze turned inward. The sun would set soon, and I didn't have time to waste by staring at an old feather. But it called to me as it had when I was a little girl, and my thumb swept over its curve, back and forth, without thinking.

There were no tesleet left on Cadiz or our mother planet, Andala. Like many things from my mother's childhood, they had left, or been spent, or were extinguished. All we had were relics, traces of what once was and would likely never be again.

I jumped when my mother cleared her throat in the doorway.

"Amani," was all she said, one eyebrow raised.

It was too late to hide the box, and I could not keep down the surge of guilt for having snooped in my parents' room just to bring it out again.

But my mother said nothing, only smiled and came forward, hand outstretched.

"Did ... did your father give you the feather?" I asked at last, and handed the box over.

Her eyes widened a little. For a moment, I thought she wouldn't answer.

"No," she said softly, closing the box's lid. "I found it a little while after the bird had gone. In a moment of weakness in some shrubbery."

I rarely saw my mother look as she did now, soft and wistful, as if remembering a kinder time. She'd survived two wars: the civil war, and then the Vathek invasion and following occupation. She was hard, with a spine of steel, unbendable, unbindable, and unbreakable.

"What was your moment of weakness?" I asked. I wouldn't get a response. I never did.

But my mother surprised me and smiled. "I was running from love," she said. "Your father, to be specific. I saw in my own heart my father's capacity to lose himself in another person, and it frightened me."

My mouth dropped to her amusement. I knew my parents loved each other; it was obvious to anyone who watched them, despite their differences. But I'd never heard my mother say as much, and to hear her admit it of her own free will —

"What are you doing here, at any rate? You're meant to be getting ready for tonight."

I didn't know how to explain it, so I just shook my head and shrugged.

"I don't know. I just — I love it. I suppose I wanted to see it again."

She came forward and tilted my chin up. I was full grown, and my mother still towered over me by a full head. The backs of her fingers brushed over my cheek, tracing the lines where I would receive my daan — sharp geometric tattoos that would mark my first step into adulthood. I hoped they looked as hers did: stark and powerful, letting the whole world know who she was and where she was from in a single glance.

"I know this week has been difficult," she said at last. "More difficult than most. But it will pass, as they all do."

I bit my tongue rather than say what I thought. We shouldn't have to wait for them to pass. They should never be in the first place. We had suffered not only the burning of our fields this week, but the increased presence of the Vath.

But my mother surprised me into silence a second time, and set the box back in my hand.

"I think this should pass to you," she said, her voice soft again. "Hope is a younger girl's game, and you find more comfort in it than I do."

I opened then closed my mouth, wordless with shock.

"Really?" I said at last.

She smiled again. "Really," she repeated and kissed my forehead. "Perhaps Dihya will send you a second feather, and you shall have your own sign in these trying times."

My mother left me alone in her room, the box still clasped to my chest. After a moment I moved to hide the box away in my room, lest she come up the stairs and change her mind.

The sun was setting truly now, and I hurried to put it away, and find my things. Khadija would be waiting, and I hated to hear her skewer me for my tardiness. Outside, the village was quiet. Normally, around now, I could hear the quiet singing of field workers as they made their way back to the village, and the ringing of the end of day bell. The march of boots, the cries of sellers hawking their wares in our small village square, dogs and goats crying out; all those sounds were absent.

There were no fields left, not after the fire the Imperial Garda set last week. Rebels — or, more likely, starving thieves — had takenshelter in one of the gate houses. Rather than looking through each one, the Garda had set fire to the fields. We'd heard the rebels screaming from as far away as the village square. Now, with the fields gone, the village was counting down the weeks till winter, and the famine that was sure to follow.

What would I want my own feather, my own sign, for? In the wake of this — of life — I had no need for a sign. I wanted something else, something more tangible and immediate. I wanted the world.

The Vath were not settlers in our nebula — they'd lived on their planet, Vaxor, mostly peacefully and in accordance with galactic laws. But they'd poisoned their own atmosphere, and were forced to relocate to an orbiting moon. A stopgap measure, with an exploding population and a lack of resources. Some said it was inevitable that they chose to expand to other systems.

There were moments when I glimpsed the world as it was before the occupation of the Vath. When my mother or father spoke without thinking, or a village aunt said "when I was young," or a man sang an old song I'd never heard before. The bones of our old ways of life were there, barely traceable, and I wanted them back. I wanted all of us to remember what we'd been, how strong we were. And endurance was strength, to be sure, but even a rock wore away to nothing if asked to endure enough rain.

I could want until I was dead and nothing would come to pass. Wanting never solved anything.

I tucked the box away with a sigh, found my cloak and shoes, and made my way downstairs.

* * *

In the kitchen, I packed away the last of the food we were taking with us. We were celebrating my majority night. I and twelve other girls had finally come of age, and as was our way, the whole village would travel to one of the abandoned kasbahs. There, we would receive our daan and become adults in the eyes of the village, and follow with dinner and dancing to celebrate.

"Amani."

I turned to see Husnain, my brother, standing in the doorway. My parents had three children: Aziz, the eldest of us, more than ten years my senior. Myself, the youngest, and Husnain, fifteen months older than I was. I might have relied on Aziz for wisdom, but Husnain was one half of me, a twin despite the months between us. He had all the foolhardiness and fire of a second son, rarely tempered but for me.

"I brought something for you," he said when I sat down.

I grinned and held out my hands. "Give it to me."

"Close your eyes."

I did so, but kept my hands outstretched. A moment later a wide, thin object was folded into my hands. I peeked before he told me I could open my eyes and nearly dropped the sheaf of papers as if they were on fire.

"Amani!"

"Is that —?"

Almost a month ago we'd journeyed to Cadiza Prime, the capital city on our moon, to pick up supplies for the small farm my brothers and father kept on our tiny sliver of land. I'd wandered through the open market, and shoved in the back of a bookstall was an aging sheaf of papers — Massinite poetry. It was too expensive to even consider purchasing it, and besides, most religious poetry was outlawed. It had been used too often as a rallying point for the rebels during the occupation.

Massinia was the prophetess of our religion and though we all loved her, I loved her above all other things in our faith. Just as we had songs in her name, so too had an entire tradition of poetry sprung up venerating her life and accomplishments. I loved such poetry above all else, and hungered for it despite the risk of being caught with it. My hands shook as I reached for the collection.

"You took a huge risk —"

"Never you mind the risk," he said. "It belongs to you now, and that's all that matters."

I was afraid to grin or to touch them. Mine! I could hardly believe it. I'd never owned a collection of poetry before.

"Oh, for Dihya's sake," he laughed, and undid the twine around the pages before setting them in my hands. I would have to transcribe them to holosheets or put them in a database or some such. There was no telling if they'd survive the weather here, or if I would lose them or any number of things that could happen. And I would have to hide them, or risk them being confiscated by the magistrates.

Our souls will return home, we will return, the first poem read.We will set our feet in the rose of the citadel.

I closed my eyes, seeing the imagined citadel, no doubt now turned to dust. I could imagine the pain of the writer, could feel it like a bruise on my heart as my soul looked over its shoulder, leaving something treasured behind. I knew what it was like to trace a quickly fading memory in my mind, to watch it fade with every remembering until it was nothing but a feeling, a well-worn groove you could walk but not recall. The pain on the page was palpable — everyone had a citadel. The city of their birth, turned to rubble, family long gone, buried in an unmarked grave, all of it unreachable except through death.

And this, poetry like this, was all we had to preserve our stories, our music, our history.

"Thank you," I said at last, and threw my arms around him. "You have no idea —"

"I have some," he laughed, and kissed my forehead. "You are my favorite person in the the world, Amani. I'm glad to give you this. Dihya, are you crying?"

"No!" But I could feel the lump in my throat, ready to dissolve into tears at any minute. I'd been so afraid, so nervous about tonight. And in the end, it was a night of joy. I would step into adulthood not just with family and friends, but now with a treasure that would comfort me on nights too difficult to comprehend.

"Maybe now you'll write some of your own," he said, a little softer.

I snorted out a laugh. I was a poor poet, to be sure, and in a world where poetry didn't pay, I'd had no chance to improve.

"You're good," he insisted. "You should write more."

I flushed, hungry for praise. Husnain was the only person who'd ever read my poetry, but I knew he spoke out of the loyalty born between us and not out of any knowledge of what my skill looked like compared to true poets.

"In another world," I said, and clutched the poetry to my chest.

Our souls will return home, we will return.

I looked up, and smiled at my brother, the other half of my heart. "But not this one. In this one, these poems are enough."

CHAPTER 2

Most of our village had set out on the road before sunset, but Aziz, Husnain, and I set out later with a few other families. I'd tucked Husnain's gift in my pocket, reluctant to part with such a treasure so quickly.

"Amani, don't ruin the parchment before you even have a chance to read it," Husnain murmured, low enough that Aziz couldn't hear.

I glanced over at our eldest brother. Aziz had been born before the occupation. Of the three of us, he was the only one who remembered our lives before then, who'd known our parents outside the shadow. The years under the occupation had forged our brother into steel. He was wise, perhaps wise beyond his years, and reliable. While Husnain jumped before he looked, Aziz watched, relentlessly, as if in the end all the world would surrender its secrets to him. Including his unruly younger siblings.

"I won't," I promised Husnain, fighting a grin.

"I should have waited until after to give it to you," he said, but his grin matched mine.

Outside, the air was eerily silent but for the sound of Vathek probes whizzing overhead, their bright white beams scanning the ground. To our left was the orchard, scorched earth, the air above tinted red with the fumes of the extinguishing canisters the Vath had lobbed at it at the height of the fire.

A few weeks ago there had been three fields side by side — pomegranates and olives to the west, and a field of roses we grew to sell and make perfume facing the east. Now the west orchards looked like a graveyard with a hundred spindly, ashen arms reaching toward a red sky. The rose bushes and the trellises had gone, vaporized in the blaze of the fire. Smoke and red fumes from the extinguishing canisters still rose into the sky. Nothing would grow there now, not for years. I made myself look away. There was nothing to be gained by worrying at the bruise, nothing to be gained from wondering how we would feed ourselves this coming winter, or what we would do for work in the spring.

The fire had been set, they claimed, because of "rebels" in the area. But the only proof the Garda had that rebels sheltered among us was a phrase people said had been carved into the gatehouse.

The blood never dies. The blood never forgets.

It was a phrase from the Book of Dihya — most people believed it was a testament to our endurance and survival. But there were some who believed it meant Massinia might return — that her blood would call her back to the world in one form or another. Whichever meaning you took, rebels had been using it as a rallying cry, now more than ever.

Now the small village of shacks and houses on its outskirts, along with the gatehouses, were rubble. The people who'd lived there, those who'd survived, huddled together around a fire. I felt a pang of guilt looking at them — my family didn't have much, but our home was still intact, and we wouldn't go hungry as they would.

I reached into my bag, my hand settling on the bread I'd made that morning for the majority night celebrations. My mother and I had spent hours at the village oven, along with all the other girls celebrating their majority night, making enough bread for the whole village. We had so much — I could afford to spare a few loaves.

Aziz laid a hand on my shoulder and shook his head, as if he knew what I'd planned.

"They're being watched," he said, voice low. "The Garda believe the rebels hide among them."

I swallowed down my anger and looked away.

"It's difficult," he said and squeezed my shoulder. "But think of our parents, Amani. What would they do if you were dragged off for giving bread to a rebel?"

I glared at the ground. I knew he was right. He, more than I, knew the cost of being thought one of the rebels. At last, I drew my hand from my bag and let him guide me away, leaving the fields and the refugees behind.

* * *

Eventually we reached the old kasbah far beyond the limits of the village. The kasbah was an old building, now one rundown mansion among many rundown houses, overgrown with palm and fig trees. Once it might have belonged to a prosperous family, but was now the refuge of farmers and villagers on nights like this. Lights shined out of broken windows, and threads of music rose into the air, mixing with the sound of wind and wildlife. Suspended over the kasbah in the night sky was our mother planet, Andala, hanging like an overripe orange fruit. With such a sight it was easy to forget everything: our poverty, the rule of the Vath, the specter of loss that hovered over our parents every day.

We arrived with enough time to set up the courtyard and get dressed. All the girls who were coming of age tonight had private rooms in the kasbah for them to make use of before the festivities. The chatter of friends rose and fell as my mother helped me into the qaftan and jewelry.

I felt a frisson of nerves when I looked at myself in the mirror. My mother and I looked eerily alike. She was taller, but we had the same brown skin, the same sharp cheekbones and sharper chin. Her hair was as thick and curling as mine, and seemed to sprout from a too high point on her forehead just like me.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Mirage"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Sumayyah Daud and Alloy Entertainment.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Dedication,
Map,
Prologue,
cadiz, a moon of andala,
the ziyaana, andala,
atalasia, andala,
the ziyaana, andala,
the ouzdad estate,
the ziyaana, andala,
galene's estate, andala,
the ziyaana, andala,
al hoceima, andala,
the ziyaana, andala,
Acknowledgments,
About the Author,
Copyright,

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Mirage 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Mirage is a wonderfully written story of rebellion, deceit, and slow-burn romance. If you liked The Diabolic or The Wrath and the Dawn, you will definitely love Mirage! Amani’s world has been conquered by the cruel Vathek empire, and one day Amani is forced to become the secret body double to the Princess Maram. Mirage was such a delightful book to read. I could feel the tension and stress that Amani could as she tried to be a successful body double and impersonator. I was nearly holding my breath during every interaction she had. One aspect of Mirage that impressed me most was the world building. Mirage, a sci-fi/fantasy novel, takes place in space, across different planets and their moons. Space is a very interesting setting, and it works well with the traditional aspects of Daud’s story. Perhaps my favorite aspect of Mirage is how complex the characters are. At first glance, Maram seems like the likely villain of the story, but overtime I came to sympathize for her. Stories with complex characters, where the lines between good and bad are blurred, are my favorite. The relationships are all complex and confusing at times. I especially enjoyed how realistic the romance was. There’s nothing like a love-at-first-sight story to make me immediately lose interest in a story. Daud wrote a lovely, slow-burn romance that was realistic. In the end I gave Mirage four stars. I look forward to reading the second book in a couple years. The first book set the stage for what is sure to be an action packed trilogy!
taramichelle 9 months ago
Mirage was a thought-provoking debut novel full of intriguing characters and political machinations galore. It was very much more of a character-driven book rather than an action-oriented one, which made Mirage slower than I was expecting. However, I love character-driven novels and was delighted to find a YA fantasy one. The setting was lush and vividly imagined. But there weren’t many science fiction elements to this story. In fact, I actually forgot at times that this wasn’t just a fantasy novel. I’m hoping that future installments in the series meld the two together a bit better. In terms of plot, the beginning was fantastic and the ending had me totally hooked. However, the middle was a bit lacking in tension. I loved how Daud explored the idea of what it means to become your enemy but Amani's journey just fell a bit flat for me.  Daud does an excellent job of not painting issues as merely black or white. Maram, although the villain of this novel, is complex and unexpectedly relatable. I would have loved to have more chapters with her in them or a few from her viewpoint. As much as I loved Maram though, I found it difficult to connect with Amani. However, I love political intrigue so seeing Amani learn how to navigate the Court was a highlight of the book for me. Additionally, the interpersonal dynamics were one of my favorite parts of the novel. I loved how the relationship between Amani and Maram changed and developed over the course of time.  Ultimately, Mirage was a story that I wanted to love. And there were parts that I adored. But it didn’t quite work for me as a whole. However, I was intrigued enough that I’ll definitely continue on with the series. I’d recommend this one for fans of slower, more character-driven YA fantasy.  *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
TheNovelEndeavor 9 months ago
I received a complimentary review copy of Mirage from NetGalley and Flatiron Books. All opinions are my own! I absolutely loved this book! I don't typically read fantasy/sci-fi novels but Mirage sounded fascinating with its Moroccan-inspired setting and strong female protagonists. Amani's quiet courage, confidence, and loyalty to her people and her culture shine in the midst of the turmoil surrounding her. Maram represents everything Amani is not, but yet a reader can't help but want her to change, transform, and blossom into someone worth cheering for. Mirage has everything - two opposing cultures vying for power, strong main characters, valuable and interesting supporting characters, and a luxurious setting painted to perfection. I can't wait for the next book in the series to see what happens next!
TeresaReviews 9 months ago
I have greatly been anticipating this book, especially after actually meeting Somaiya Daud while she was in conversation with Veronica Roth on The Fates Divide tour. Daud is an amazingly fun, friendly, exuberant person who also loves Star Wars. Mirage is her debut novel, and boy what a fantastic novel it is! I was already planning on buying it, having it pre-ordered since April 2018, but listening to Daud talk about the novel (not giving too much away, of course), I just couldn't wait! And I am still sold on this novel and am extremely excited to add it to my collection. I would like to thank NetGalley, Somaiya Daud, and Flatiron books for the opportunity to read this book in advance for an honest review. Did I mention I am definitely buying this book? I love space novels and romance. Some of my favorites include These Broken Stars, Illuminae, and Zenith (among others), and this fits right in! When I first heard about this book, I was like "Huh, sounds somewhat like one of the subplots of Turn A Gundam," which is likewise sci-fi. For those who don't know, one of the plots in the anime involves a moon princess trading places with a girl on Earth who looks just like her. They do it for fun at first, then it becomes an act of political safety and scandal to keep the princess safe. Mirage is similar in that eighteen-year-old Amani is taken from her home moon to its mother planet where the royal family lives. The planet was taken over by the Vath and aims to hold its power over the planet and its moons. Amani doesn't know why she was taken from her home until she sees her own face reflected in that of Maram, the princess. Maram uses Amani as a political double, training her to be and act like Maram in every way so that Amani can be her body double for various events, in case of assassination attempts and the like. In the process, Maram's fiance, Idris, sees right through Amani's guise. A romance buds between the two, but how far can they go without getting caught? And what happens to their relationship when it comes time for Maram and Idris to marry? This novel is beautifully written and full of both romance and political intrigue. It's a page-turner from start to finish. And...it appears there will be a second book (and a third?)! I am disappointed that I have to wait, but I am so excited that there is going to be more to Amani's story and the world of Mirage by such a fantastic new writer in the world of young adult literature!
TheLiteraryPhoenix 4 months ago
I love that his book was both science fiction and fantasy.  I love that it was built on hope and war and poetry.  I loved this book. I haven't seen or heard much of Mirage in the bookish world, only the FairyLoot and OwlCrate unboxing photos.  I am here to tell you that this book is magnificent.  It is sad, but it is also rich and passionate.  The characters flow off the page and the flavors and aromas seem to surround you.  I really, really liked it. Mirage is several things - it is a love story, it is a political fantasy, and it is a story of friendship. These three things wind together flawlessly, on influencing the other, until the whole thing is wrapped in a tidy braid.  Amani is a brave girl struggling in a dangerous situation.  If she fails at her duties, the people she loves will die.  If she exceeds, she could create more misery for the rest of her people.  The more she gets to know about the people of the palace and the nature of the rebellion, the more muddled things get. I liked Amani, because she struggled with every decision.  She felt the weight of knowledge on her, knowing what she should do, what she wanted to do, and what she was expected to do.  Every decision feels like a betrayal and you can feel her discomfort and determination wound together.  I liked the real-ness of this. Nobody is so perfect that they fall into a situation and stick their chin out and do the Exact Right Thing every time and everything turns out sunshine and butterflies.  Amani felt like any other eighteen-year-old - frightened and hopeful and determined and whinging it. The love story felt inevitable, but I wasn't entirely impressed with Idris's character.  I liked him at first, but I knew where his story arc was going and I felt he stumbled into it blindly.  He was too changeable and while I think the relation in general was sweet, Idris himself could have used a bit more depth. Then, there's Maram.  I thought Maram shined.  I would love to get inside her head.  She is paranoid and cruel while also being vulnerable and determined at the same time.  She is a strong character with potential to either be a last-minute hero or a formidable villain and I'd really like to see more of her. There was a lot that felt original in Mirage that was very refreshing, but it never really felt like science fiction to me. It was more like a rich middle eastern-style fantasy and I thought it was stunning.  I am 100% on board with Court of Lions next year.
apeape 4 months ago
Beautifully written debut novel with a distinctive Moroccan flavor, filled with lush prose and solid world building. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, and the relationship between the two main characters is especially interesting to see grow. The romance that develops isn't a surprise, you can see it coming, but it's sweet and swoonworthy and who really cares if we know what going to happen if it's done well? The ending will tug at your heartstrings, and I'm looking forward to the next book so I can see what happens!
RgBooktrovert 7 months ago
I couldn’t put this gorgeous little book down! Miss Daud’s writing and world building were lush and immersive and I couldn’t get enough. The different planets and moons were very fascinating and I loved how unique they were. The plot was fantastic, it moved at a fast but not rushed pace and it kept me turning the pages like a madman. I found the romance wasn’t too over the top or gushy and the ship works. The profanity was nonexistent, and made the book that more enjoyable for me. Overall the book was riveting and hooked me from the first chapter, was fast paced, and very enjoyable. If you’re looking for an immersive sci-fi with a unique twist look no further! Rating: 4.5 Stars Recommendation: ages 14 and up FTC DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review
The-Broke-Book-Bank 8 months ago
Content Warning: Torture, Physical Violence, Kidnapping, Racism, Colonization, Genocide, Cultural Cleansing, Biracial Hatred, Internalized Self-hatred, Mirage is such an intense ride. Character driven loaded with character progression and twisting relationships. Day to day survival and self care teetering against the resistance and greater good. Even the down times have forbidden love and attraction. It doesn't sugar coat colonization so fellow white people, be prepared to take several seats. The council meeting was particularly chilling. I love the world building, the descriptions, and the details. Everything just *popped* off the page and was so vivid. I get the romance, but as a demi I need more time and involvement before I personally feel it. The prince is smart and cute and funny. He's damaged so you just want to hug him and make him feel better. It doesn't steal focus from the bigger picture of the occupation and rebellion. But it is still important. Loving each other against the rules, sharing their culture to keep it alive is an act of rebellion in itself. There's so much I didn't see coming. The only thing I really called was the romance with the prince. Everything else was a surprise. I'm convinced there's more going with the Princess. I have a ~theory~ I hope is correct. Maram and Amani's relationship is EVERYTHING. So unique and fascinating with so many different aspects and full of empathy. I normally don't get anti villains but I think people are going to appreciate Maram like they do Killmonger. Sidenote: The lack of any queerness is disappointing but that's a general complaint of mine. This did not affect my rating at all.
Magdalyn_Ann 8 months ago
Once in a while, there comes a book where you go into it with almost no expectations, in a genre you only occasionally read, where you go into it with an open mind. And then it consumes your entire life. I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I picked up Mirage--part of it came from the fact that I loved the cover. Part of it because I wanted to explore sci-fi more. And part of it because I was eager for a new diverse voice in the market. And Mirage blew me away. I was caught immediately, and it wasn't letting me go. It was brutal, beautiful and unabashedly amazing. I loved Amani, I loved the romance (though I tried not to at first) and I loved the world. THIS WORLD. Somaiya Daud has an AMAZING voice and showed us an AMAZING world filled with richness and splendor. I saw everything, could feel the things Amani felt and saw. I couldn't put this book down to the point where I was late getting off my break at work. I rooted for Amani from the get-go. I watched wide-eyed at how her relationship with Maram and Idris changed throughout the book. I cried (of course I did) towards the end. And all I need right now is to a) read it again, b) shove it at all my friend's faces because WOW and c) that sequel because OMG the ending left me shattered. I can't recommend Mirage hard enough. If I could float down from the heavens like some sort of Bookish Angel, heralding the good news of how much I loved this damn book, I could. But alas, a lack of wings. But I'll shout it from every Tweet and newsletter and in podcast episode!
Anonymous 8 months ago
I received a review copy of Mirage by Somaiya Daud from Netgalley, and these are my personal opinions of the review copy. I was really excited going into this book! Reminded me a bit of Star Wars: Phantom Menace and I was interested to see how this version of a body double in space story would play out. Unfortunately, I did not love this book and I think it has some flaws. Character and character development are some of the most important things in a book to me. If I don’t care about the characters, then I just don’t care about the book. Initially, I was really drawn to the primary character, Amani, because she has a deep sense of respect and love for her family. So often you see YA characters who hate or fight with their parents/siblings so it was refreshing to see a character who really loved them. Amani appreciates everything her parents did to help her survive in turbulent times, and that made her really interesting to me. Her development stymies a bit though when she becomes a royal body double for Princess Maram. Since this happens only about 3 chapters in, my interest in Amani waned quickly. The body double plot isn’t something I have read a lot of, so I don’t have any major points of comparison. I find the premise interesting because you have a chance, not only for the non-royal to see how those in power live and behave but also for the royal to learn more about those she believes are beneath her. I expected Amani and Maram to learn a lot from each other and to both grown and change as a result of their close proximity and intense training. That didn’t really happen, though. In addition, the training felt far to fast and I didn’t believe that Amani was able to learn everything she needed to about portraying Maram. There is a small amount of romance, but I found it predictable and unnecessary. I could tell from the beginning it would end badly, so it was a bit painful to watch. There were a ton of other characters, but almost none of them made a major impression on me. So much of the plot felt chaotic, and some things didn’t make sense. I found it odd that Maram would be the one orchestrating her body double situation with no input from her father for instance. There was an attempt to make Maram a more sympathetic character throughout the story and it just felt forced. Overall the characters and plot felt underdeveloped.
Arys 9 months ago
Mirage by Somaiya Daud is a beautifully written novel that is rich in detail from the world-building, to the culture, and deep thorough characterizations of the main characters of Amani, Princess Maram, and Idris. Ms. Daud's novel is full of description and visual. I was captivated by Amani as a narrator. From the touching moment in the beginning with her brother Husnain, to the startling anxious moment the Imperial droids arrive and take Amani, and then every moment that followed after that with her future left uncertain. Throw in the cruel Princess Maram and Nadine, and then the moments with Idris that were some of my favorites, and this novel completely had me from start to the end. I really enjoyed Ms. Daud's Mirage. It is fast-paced, well-written, and it has a strong heroine leading the way. Amani is true to herself throughout the novel and doesn't give up hope . She's a fighter and I can't wait to read what Ms. Daud has in store for her in book two. Another character I found intriguing was Princess Maram. The relationship that Amani and her form is tenuous and unpredictable with Maram holding all the power, but it is interesting with the dynamics these two have and how their roles in this story will play out within the trilogy. I want to know what happens next. Overall, Mirage by Somaiya Daud is a great novel that really pulls you in and leaves you wanting more. It's so richly woven with tension, romance, heartbreak and is simply just mesmerizing. I very much recommend and look forward to reading more by Ms. Daud. (I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
Anonymous 9 months ago
taramichelle 9 months ago
Mirage was a thought-provoking debut novel full of intriguing characters and political machinations galore. It was very much more of a character-driven book rather than an action-oriented one, which made Mirage slower than I was expecting. However, I love character-driven novels and was delighted to find a YA fantasy one. The setting was lush and vividly imagined. But there weren’t many science fiction elements to this story. In fact, I actually forgot at times that this wasn’t just a fantasy novel. I’m hoping that future installments in the series meld the two together a bit better. In terms of plot, the beginning was fantastic and the ending had me totally hooked. However, the middle was a bit lacking in tension. I loved how Daud explored the idea of what it means to become your enemy but Amani's journey just fell a bit flat for me.  Daud does an excellent job of not painting issues as merely black or white. Maram, although the villain of this novel, is complex and unexpectedly relatable. I would have loved to have more chapters with her in them or a few from her viewpoint. As much as I loved Maram though, I found it difficult to connect with Amani. However, I love political intrigue so seeing Amani learn how to navigate the Court was a highlight of the book for me. Additionally, the interpersonal dynamics were one of my favorite parts of the novel. I loved how the relationship between Amani and Maram changed and developed over the course of time.  Ultimately, Mirage was a story that I wanted to love. And there were parts that I adored. But it didn’t quite work for me as a whole. However, I was intrigued enough that I’ll definitely continue on with the series. I’d recommend this one for fans of slower, more character-driven YA fantasy.  *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.