SPOILERS FOR DAYZZZZZ
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.
At first Glance:
At first glance, the cover obviously stood out to me. The purple/gold combination is gorgeous and I love the design-which might be how the “daan’s” (tattoos) are supposed to look like.
When I first read the synopsis, I was at first reluctant to read it. The trend for YA novels has turned from the paranormal and launched itself to space. I have tried to read a couple of space-themed YA novels and they were mere replicas of one another.
So I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by Mirage and I hope future space operas follow suit with Daud’s writing style.
The Plot is nothing new– There are a people, the Vathex, who conquered most of their solar system and Amani, lives on one the conquered planets moons. The Vathex are these silver-haired “aliens” (aren’t they all aliens?) who are feared and hated, and the King is the epitome of evil. And oh yeah, can’t forget that there is a rebellion brewing. If you add in superpowers, it sounds like a plot for half of the YA novels nowadays.
Countries/planets conquer people/planets all the time but there was never a clear derivative on why they needed to conquer the planet, we must assume it’s because they are soooooo evil.
Side note: There is mentioning of galactic law but who creates it/governs it?
There is not much of a climax in the novel-Amani is supposed to be the body double because Miram is soooo hated but there is not even an attack until the very end of the book. So I must ask, was she even needed?
Amani is trained as Maram’s body double and through this experience, Amani is able to see behind Maram’s cruel mask. Through Amani, we are able to see how Maram became a monster through her circumstances.
The ending is supposed to inspire hope but it feels kind of rushed. I going to assume that there will be at least two more books.
Amani is a whimsical girl who stubbornly holds on to her people’s traditions and is strengthened by the bounds of her family. I liked how despite the cruelties she experiences, she does not back down or give up. I thought it was an interesting aspect of her imitating Maram and how she became to enjoy the power Maram wields. Both of the girls have strengths, Maram uses fear and coldness like her father, while Amani finds strength within herself, which was molded by close-knit family.
My only problem with her is that she was too trusting. She jumped on the chance to trust Idris and the rebels-which is understandable- but they could have been tricking her! I was expecting Idris to be like -haha sike- at any point.
When we are introduced to Maram, she is as cruel as possible. Cold, condescending, she made a great villain because she had her secrets and there were flashes of vulnerabilities we could try to decipher. But as the story goes on, Amani slowly wins the princess’s affections and Maram begins to show a softer side to her. I can kind of relate to Maram, which utterly surprised me. I am black/white so I know how it feels to be tied between two races and to be hated for choosing one side over the other.
Maram is a complex villain which is a juxtaposition from her father, the King. We know little about the King expect that he is ruthless, which makes him a caricature rather than a character. But towards the end, Amani does not even consider her evil but rather as a sister.
Okay, so Idris role is pretty much to be “beautiful and tragic’ all the time and that’s about it. If Amani is not ogling his naked chest then she is pitying him.
He is charming, cute, sweet, lovable…. and why did I find that so BORING? I wanted someone who was burning with hopeless rage, leading the rebels, stealing guns, just about anything than just sitting around and being cute. Like I get it, the Vathex court is soooooo soooooo cruel but where was the fight in him?
We do not get a clear understanding of his and Maram’s relationship because it was mentioned that they are good friends but Idris never mentions any topic him and Maram share to Amani.
I of course feel horrible for him-to not only lose your family, people, lands, but also your culture and language… it’s colonialism at its worst. My heart clenched when Amani read his daan because he lost the language but other than that, he was pretty unremarkable.
Don’t get me started…… oh, too late here I go.
I, Mecca-Amirah Jackson, love romance. I will literally go out of my way to not read a book because it was mentioned there is little to none in a book. I even read those silly chic-lit books because I need a good dose of romance once in awhile but I must say, THERE WAS NO NEED FOR ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK.
I said this about my Sky in the Deep Review as well. Sometimes, a plot can be going so well that there is no need to add a layer of romance because it can hinder the plot or pause the tension.
I of course thought it was sweet but it happened so fast. It should had continued to the next book and kept the suspense going at least.
It made sense for them to bound over their heritage but how can people fall in love so quickly especially if they have not spend so much time together? Or maybe that it is how it is for YA books now- this crazy, insta love thing. I personally cannot stomach that much nonsense.
The writing….it was so lush and beautiful and very descriptive. There were at times where I could perfectly picture the scenes she painted with words and I liked the religious element to the story.
Will I read the next book… eh, only if I am bored.