Blog Tour Review: Mirage, Somaiya Daud (+giveaway – US only)

There are no spoilers in this review.

Mirage was one of these books I had heard of, but wasn’t certain that it would be my cup of tea. See, even if book blogging has made me way more into fantasy books than I ever thought I would be, made me dabble into sci-fi just as well, I wasn’t sure that I would love this world. Yet I am thrilled to say that this book was a beautiful surprise for me.

A million thank-yous to the beautiful Aimee @ Aimee Always for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour. Thank you to her and the publisher, Flatiron Books, for sending me an e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

INTRIGUING (BUT A BIT CONFUSING) WORLD

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“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 story about oppression, where a young girl, Amani, living with her family on a moon, poorly and facing oppression every day, is kidnapped by imperial droids and taken to the royal empire, only to realize she is the exact body-double of the princess and future heir of the throne. I have to admit that I was really nervous about the setting and world-building of this story, not being too familiar with sci-fi overall and, in the end, that’s what confused me the most. I could appreciate the world-building a whole lot, intricate and detailed, with North African and Moroccan inspirations (this is an #ownvoices Moroccan story) and some of it was quite fascinating. Yet, I felt more often than once a bit confused by it just as well, by the politics overall.

GREAT CHARACTERS CARRYING THE STORY TO ANOTHER LEVEL

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Despite this confusion at times, I ended up appreciating Mirage way more than I thought I would and it’s all because of the characters. If the story is a bit slow-paced, the characters won me over more than once and they were the shining stars in this story. Mirage is definitely a character-driven book and I am ALL here for this.

Amani, our main character, is forced to take the princess’ place, to learn how to be her, to act and speak just like her in order to fool everyone. Amani struggles to find her own place and sense of identity in it all, yet as the story goes on, she manages to find herself and her cause, her will to fight and everything else. She is passionate and fierce, I had such a great time with her.

“I was not a slave and I was not a spare. I was my mother’s daughter, and I would survive and endure. I would find my way back home.”

Yet, the shining star in the story really was… well, strangely, the Princess Maram. Her character arc was incredible, she was flawed, complex, she was mean and cruel yet she slowly grew, developed and showed who she really was as relationships with Amani developed. I loved it so, very much and she was my favorite in the entire story for sure.

 

CHARACTERS’ INTERACTIONS & FAMILY TIES: THE HEART AND LOVE OF THE STORY

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Both the characters and their relationships to each other were really shining in this book, even more than the world-building, which is something I did not expect, but loved. I am a huge character kind of reader, as you know, so I was thrilled.

The relationships between Maram and Amani were fantastic and it was great to see them grow, change as the story went on. The romance was also great to read about: I appreciated how the two characters got to know each other and grew close to each other. The evolution of the relationship into a romance was a tad predictable, but I didn’t mind that much, because the characters were really adorable to follow together.

“There was no happy ending to this story, no way for the two of us to make one.”

The family dynamics in this story were also really interesting to follow, from Amani’s ties to her own family, the separation and suffering of being far away from her home, to Maram’s complex relationship with her own father and the expectations he has for her as future heir of the kingdom…It was all really, really a great addition to the story.

“Happiness is rebellion.”

OVERALL

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If you’re looking for a great #ownvoices Moroccan inspired story, really focusing on character interactions and development, I’d definitely recommend Mirage. It’s a bit slow-paced, but the characters, for me, makes it all worth it. Complex, flawed and amazing overall, they shine in this story and make this a definitely promising first book to a series I’m curious to follow.

Final rating:  3 drops!

Trigger warnings: physical abuse, kidnapping, death, murder, grief and cultural erasure.

Also check out this #ownvoices review from Em on Goodreads, as well as Fadwa’s review on her blog.

All quotes are taken from the e-ARC and are subject to change upon publication.


Somaiya Daud, Mirage,  Published by Flatiron Books, August, 28th, 2018.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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.

Buy on AmazonBook Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Somaiya Daud was born in a Midwestern city, and spent a large part of her childhood and adolescence moving around. Like most writers, she started when she was young and never really stopped. Her love of all things books propelled her to get a degree in English literature (specializing in the medieval and early modern), and while she worked on her Master’s degree she doubled as a bookseller at Politics and Prose in their children’s department. Determined to remain in school for as long as possible, she packed her bags in 2014 and moved the west coast to pursue a doctoral degree in English literature. Now she’s preparing to write a dissertation on Victorians, rocks, race, and the environment.

Author website –  GoodreadsTwitterInstagram –  Facebook – Tumblr

  • Enter to win one finished copy of Mirage! (US ONLY) : ENTER HERE!

Did you read Mirage? Do you want to? Why, or why not?

Do you like your fantasies character-driven? Do you know other books with character-driven stories like this one? Let me know in comments!

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

34 thoughts on “Blog Tour Review: Mirage, Somaiya Daud (+giveaway – US only)

  1. Oh, this is a wonderful review, Marie! I was really excited about this book, but I didn’t know a whole lot about it, and now I can read it with the right expectations re: plot and characters. 🙂

    I’m so happy you ended up liking it more than you initially thought you would! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a brilliant review Marie, and I’m glad you enjoyed Mirage as well. 🙂 ❤ I've been seeing plenty of this book around, so many people seem really excited about it, but I haven't seen too many reviews. I do enjoy character-driven stories as long as there are well developed characters to make up for the character-over-plot aspect. It sounds like that's the case with Mirage and I'm glad the rep was well written too. It's a shame the world building was a little confusing as well, that happens with me in sci-fi books at times as well. If there's too much technical wording I just end up lost. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Beth! ❤ I hope you'll get the chance to read it at some point, it was such a great stoy, even if it focused way more on the characters. I loved that, but you know me, I am a character-person hahaha 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t you just love those beautiful surprises? It’s always great to get those little gems you weren’t expecting to love. Also, I am super excited about this book! I love fantasy novels, especially when they are character-driven! Sure, it’s important to have an interesting plot and suspense and all that, but if I don’t connect with the characters, then all of that other stuff is wasted (Example: Shadow and Bone). Thanks Marie, for such a wonderful review and for being your wonderful self! Have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, it’s always so great to get a great surprise like this with a book! ❤
      I'm so happy you're excited about this book! I feel the same way, I HAVE to have great characters in order for me to fall in love with a book, no matter how good the rest is, I have to… like the characters too, in some way, to really hit it off!
      Thank you SO, so much for your sweet comment, Kat! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So I enjoyed it a little more than you but I am happy that you liked it too. It was certainly a character-driven story. My favorite character was Maram as well. I really loved how her character has been developed over the time. Reading about her and Amani’s discussions were some of my favorite parts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH YES, Amani and Maram’s scenes together and discussions were some of my favorite parts as well, they were just so good together! 🙂 I am impatient to see what happens in the sequel 😀
      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your Review is fantastic and so well written!! 😍💕 I really loved having the family dynamics in the bookd as well and I especially loved how we got to see Amani interact with her family in the very beginning, I immediately loved the relationship she had with them! I also agree with the world: it was so interesting, but I’m confused about a few things as well, maybe that’ll be explained in the next book though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww you’re too sweet, thank you so much!! 😭
      I’m so happy you felt the same way as I did about this book – it was a lovely read, even if some elements left me a bit confused. I loved the characters so much and I’m curious to see what happens next! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah Marie, reading this review makes me miss all your other reviews! You always write them so so well and I enjoy reading them so much ❤ And I have an eARC of Mirage that I still haven't read yet, but reading your review makes me want to pick it back up ASAP! I didn't know it was so character-driven, which makes me really happy to hear. (I think the slow pace is really getting to me at the beginning haha.) Lovely review, and I'm so glad you liked the book! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH May 😭 Thank you so, so much, this means so much that you enjoy reading my reviews, I’m always so nervous about them. Thank you! ❤ ❤

      I hope you'll be able to read it soon – I get why the slow-pace might be a turn-off, at first, but I feel like it's worth continuing, the characters are amazing 😀

      Thank you so, so much! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been hearing quite positive things about this one so I added it to my TBR! I like the sound of this one being based off of Morrocan tales and such, and I really like a good sci-fi read. But it does sound like at some points it gets a bit confusing, so i will have to be paying very close attention to everything we are told about how things work. The characters growth sounds good to me too! Great review x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you have this book on your TBR already and I hope you’ll love it as much as I did! It was a bit confusing at times, but the characters made up for that with their awesomeness 😀
      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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