Mirage is clearly a special book before you even pick it up. Visually stunning, brilliantly colored and designed, it’s a book that draws you in with it’s richness and only begins to hint at the continuing luxuriance within.
Somaiya Daud as a debut author displays a deft hand at her craft with this Moroccan-inspired story. Aside from the visual appeal, from the first page the reader is drawn in with the descriptions of Andalaan culture, the people, and what the Vathek colonization and continuing effects thereof has meant for them, more specifically for Amani and her story in Mirage. As I was reading this novel, I felt so much: love, terror, empathy, dread. It was so intense, reading this book, and it makes me so happy, with the tour starting, that the members of it will be able to share our thoughts.
Aimee from Aimee, Always has organized a excellent tour for Somaiya Daud’s debut novel, Mirage, full of our thoughts and with a good dash of creative posts and a giveaway of one copy of the novel (US only) as well. A lot of care went into preparing this tour and I want to thank Aimee for allowing me to take part.
Published: 28 August 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult/Science Fiction
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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Immediately drawn into the story of Amani, growing up under the Vathek occupation, I was interested in the detail of everything. Somaiya wove so much in descriptions of events (such as the majority ceremony) stories of deities, and continued to build upon these foundations with her characters.
Amani is the person through whom the story is told and whose perspective we learn things through. Her memories, her history, and most importantly to the events of the book, what life is like because of the Vath, the people that colonized her planet and ultimately kidnap her for their own purposes. There are many instances throughout the book that demonstrate colonialism, the attempts to obliterate the Andalaan culture, so much harshness that draws many parallels to real world events that make some scenes alternately sad, heartbreaking, and stomach churning-ly terrifying.
Mirage was also, I found, a nice blend of character and plot driven narrative. It neither relied too heavily on one or the other. There was much to learn and to derive from the narrative, and rich as it was, you then saw it flow through the characters, influencing their evolution. Early on it was easy to think that they might be one dimensional, but there were subtle moments, a flinch or a comment, that built upon one another until you realized that everyone was either changing or not entirely who they were to begin with. It was confusing, but in a fun, Chesire Cat grin spreading sort of way where you are so happy to realize that there’s a new discovery to be made about the people you’re reading about.
I liked how, even though Amani had a lot of work to do in order to be prepared as Maram’s body double, the necessary elements of this preparation were not conveyed to the reader in excruciating detail. The progress was evident, as shown through tests Amani was put to, and small scenes to training with Nadine, a High Vath secretary of the King. That was enough and it kept the plot moving along, a much appreciated thing where it could easily have been bogged down with text that ran to minutiae that was unnecessary.
Mirage has much to offer its readers from political intrigue to historical threads and more. There’s a lot it can teach, a lot it can give, and I think it changes each time you pick it up because there are facets in the magic of reading this book. It’s possible to understand something new each time you read a certain passage, like watching a movie over and over again and noticing something new in a familiar scene. Somaiya Daud in her debut has hit a level of exquisite quality and more from her, and from the world of Mirage, will be much anticipated from me.
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.
ONE winner will receive a finished copy of MIRAGE by Somaiya Daud (US Only).
AUGUST 20 (MONDAY)
Aimee – Aimee, Always (Review, Creative)
Harker – The Hermit Librarian (Review)
Austine – NovelKnight (Review)
AUGUST 21 (TUESDAY)
Kaleena – Reader Voracious (Review, Creative)
Jamie – Books and Ladders (Review)
AUGUST 22 (WEDNESDAY)
Lara – Bellibone (Review)
Karlita – Tale Out Loud (Review, Creative)
Sara – A Gingerly Review (Review)
AUGUST 23 (THURSDAY)
Naadhira – legenbooksdary (Review)
Shealea – That Bookshelf Bitch (Review)
Breanna – Paws and Paperbacks (Review)
AUGUST 24 (FRIDAY)
Caro – Bookcheshirecat (Review)
Lila – Hardcover Haven (Review, Creative)
Sarah – Sarah June Blog (Creative)
AUGUST 27 (MONDAY)
Brianna – Polish & Paperbacks (Review, Creative)
Kate – The Backwards Bookshelf (Review)
Simant – Flipping Through the Pages (Review)
AUGUST 28 (TUESDAY)
Carolina – fictionologyst (Review)
Nandini – Unputdownable Books (Review, Creative)
Kevin – Bookevin (Review)
AUGUST 29 (WEDNESDAY)
Wendy – whatthelog (Review)
Jacquie – Rattle the Stars (Review)
AUGUST 30 (THURSDAY)
Vanessa – Through Prose Tinted Pages (Review)
Imogene – Amidst the Pages (Review, Creative)
AUGUST 31 (FRIDAY)
LaRonda – Flying Paperbacks (Review)
Vicky – Vicky Who Reads (Review, Creative)
Marie – Drizzle & Hurricane Books (Review)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.