Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud


Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Flatiron Books
Trigger Warning: Violence, Kidnapping 


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.



I finally read Mirage you guys! Finally. I needed a book I had been anticipating thrown into my mix of ARCS. And let me tell you, Mirage did not disappoint! It did the trick of getting me out of a slumpy mood. So, if you’re in a book slump yourself and not quite sure how to get out of it then a quick fluff of a book should do it! And that is Mirage.

This is the story of a indigenous girl, Amani, who is kidnapped from her small village to act as a body-double for the cruel and hated Princess Maram because… well… everyone hates her. So, Amani is taken to be used in place of the actual Princess to ensure her safety as the threat of rebels gather. She arrives at the palace where she is beat, trained, and ridiculed until she has perfected being Maram. And she must become her; her life depends on it. Amani starts off as wary, timid, and scared but soon we see who she truly is. An empowered, strong woman on a quest to preserve her culture and help her people.

So, quickly, I must say I’ve been having a hard time reviewing this one. It is a well-loved book already – as it should be – but I just couldn’t find the right words to describe this experience adequately. But I’m going to try. This will most likely be a short review.


Let’s begin with my favorite part: The Culture! Daud did an AMAZING job with embodying the culture of this world (Moroccan Inspired). And it is just wonderful. It’s the best part of this book. Everything is described so beautifully, and you really get to appreciate it.  From the clothing to the different places the characters travel to. It’s all just wonderful. The world building is fantastic! Oh! and the romance – although a little tropey – was so cute and heartwarming, it was everything. Amani and Idris were so open with each other and sweet it was just the cutest romance I’ve read in a while! It was different, sincere. The romance didn’t take up the whole book though and it wasn’t Amani’s main focus (yay). She is a tough female lead who carries the thought of her family with her to guide her. She is smart and fearless and just an overall bad-ass with how she handles herself in the midst of all that has happened to her.

ALSO! The relationship between Amani and Maram – loved it! Though it broke my heart at the end. They both deserve so much more! This book was amazing at character development. We were able to see such a depth to them all and this isn’t done enough in YA. Maram is someone I can identify with as a child of immigrant parents. Growing up Mexican-American in society today isn’t always easy. You are defined as either/or, or in most cases, as not enough (to both). You are a foreigner to each side of your heritage. Maram is Vathek-Kashaila. She is half Vathek, half Kashaila. This is the struggle we see within her. She is too foreign for the Vathek and too foreign for the Kashaila, never enough for either. So she turns to cruelty as an attempt to forget all that she is denied,  trying to belong anywhere, all the while not being true to herself. We get to see Maram is not this awful Princess her world makes her out to be, but a Princess who is lost, searching for somewhere to belong. This book is so powerful in this sense as it discusses culture and finding ones own identity. It’s brilliant and moving.

All may see the stars, but few will see their forebears.

This book was a bit weird in pacing but i’m ultimately going to call it a fast-paced, quick read! Because although not A LOT happens, I was pretty devastated at how fast everything DID happened. Does this make sense? Probably not. It was a lot of talking and moving from day-to-day tasks but it was fast in the sense that these day-to-day things took a lot of the book so what actions did occur were minimal compared. Better? And also it was quick IMO only because I wanted to keep reading! But nonetheless, it was really good.

This review is a bit of a mess but only because I DID enjoy this story, it grabbed me right in and didn’t let go until it was too late and there was nothing left to read. I just don’t know how to organize by thought sometimes. – BUT NOW I MUST WAIT FOR BOOK #2 UGH.

That being said, I did have an issue with this book, but only a minor one: The whole space element of the book. This was NOT explored enough. It felt kind of just thrown in there. Different moons and planets are mentioned and the characters travel across them, but it’s done in such a bland way that they might as well just be flying to a different state is all. Nothing big happens nor is anything mentioned of SPACE. Just that it’s there and there are different conquered areas. I was a little disappointed by this, I was really looking forward to seeing how this beautiful culture was going to interact with outer space. It sounds so cool, but it was just like anything else really. I wanted some awesome space stories or seeing stars as they traveled or some Star Wars hyperspace shit going on, y’know? But sadly, nope. The whole space thing was an after thought and could’ve been removed honestly, and it would’ve worked fine with being futuristic.

Bottom line, I really liked this! It was a beautifully written, fluff of a book! If you’re looking for a strong heroine, fluffy romance, a villain who has actual character-depth, and some wonderful, lush world-building then this is for you! (Action-seekers may want to avoid). This is the perfect book to pick up between your next read! I can’t wait for what is in store in the next one!


Don’t forget this book is out in stores already! Here are some links! Happy reading!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Book Depository | Indie Bound 

Let’s chat! What did you think of this one? Did you love it? 🙂 



10 thoughts on “Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

  1. The characters sound pretty amazing and you’re right, deep character development is something I want to see more of in YA scifi/fantasy! The insertion of scifi elements is a little odd, but I think I’m going to try this one just for the characters and the exploration of culture. Great review, Anysaa! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this review so much! And I really agree with your point on the whole ~*space setting*~ not being explored enough in the book. To me, Mirage is really just a Moroccan-inspired high fantasy against a sci-fi backdrop that wasn’t given much attention to.

    If you’re looking for a book that really blends sci-fi and fantasy elements, then I highly recommend that you try A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna. I briefly compared it to Mirage in my book review, and while I thoroughly enjoyed reading both, A Spark of White Fire made a much larger impression on me because it is more of a science fiction novel intertwined with mythology.


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