For me, February is starting to seem like a big surprise month. Each of the books I’ve reviewed so far have had surprise twists that are made clear on their online summaries, but not the synopsis on the back of the books (for these books I went off the physical book). It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just well, a surprise. The last book I reviewed, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns turned out to be a Snow White retelling, and now Mirage showed its true self, as a Sci-fi. This one I think came as a more exciting twist than Thousand Lanterns did, due to how it came up and how it was interwoven with the main story and world.
So, what is Mirage by Somaiya Daud about? It’s a story that follows a Kushailian village girl whose world and people have been taken over by the Vath, a people who at one point had been peaceful until their world could no longer sustain them. Having lost their own world they turn to their neighbors, and instead of asking nicely, decide to take over and invade. While this invasion is somewhat recent, our main character, Amani, has only known her world as it is now; broken. She has learned to get by in life, and only seeks to live as best as possible with her family, all until the Bath interrupt her village’s maturity celebration, and take her to the new Vath capital, once her people’s Royal Palace, and she learns that she is the exact image of the Princess, Maram, part Vathek and part Kushailan.
Rating? 5 out of 5 stars
This book was so easy to fall into, like it was ridiculously easy to just get engrossed in it. With a full work schedule and birthdays taking over my reading time this book was amazing to have in my hands, it made sticking to my reading challenge so much easier, and the best part is I wouldn’t rate it as a guilty read. Daud did an incredible job building a world steeped in Middle Eastern ancient culture, and the futuristic world that would have droids and technology like in Star Wars. She even developed the two cultures, and a governing body for the universe, which supposedly limits the Vathek from doing even worse things to their enemies. I still can’t imagine worse than what they’ve already done, but that was a great move on her part, showing exactly why the Vath haven’t gone and razed the world mercilessly before taking over. Even the language and elements of how it’s a part of the culture are worked into the story and the world as Amani walks through it. These details are written in a way that you are just sucking them in and loving it, there isn’t any tedious world building, which is why this book was so much fun to read.
Add in the well written characters and how excellently they grew, even the ones you don’t like, and it’s amazing I’ve waited as long as I have to read this. Maram especially is a character to watch, her relationship with Amani being an important and essential part to the story, and the continuation of the series in the coming year. This isn’t one of my longest reviews, but it’s likely to just get repetitive with me simply saying to pick this up and give it a try. It’s an amazing debut for this author, and well worth grabbing if you want a quick, vivid, and immersive Sci-Fi that feels like reading a fantasy.