‘Happiness is rebellion, but it will not win the war.’
On the night of the initiation ceremony into her clan, eighteen-year-old Amani is abducted from her family to become a political decoy for the princess of the regime that has conquered her family’s world. Body doubles are used to sample food and take bullets, to be the target for any potential dangers. Amani is taken to the palace as a mere doppelganger, a look alike, but must take on the callous personality and haughty mannerisms of Princess Maram. But how will she be able to learn all the fine points of living a royal life while being away from her parents, siblings, and friends?
Mirage takes place in a world made up of occupied moons and conquered planets, of family factions and angry rebels. Princess Maram is stuck between her conquering father and her dead mother’s native family. And Amani is painted into a corner of duplicity, servitude, and fear. And if her acting does not pass muster, she knows what will happen to her and her family.
I was continually impressed with Daud’s writing and adherence to Amani’s clan’s traditions. From the first page, her writing connected artfully with the world’s mythos of poetry. Lines and full poems are quoted throughout and help to flesh out Amani’s character. Full of lush sensory details, the author shares the minutiae of dress, food, language, and court etiquette with care.
Somaiya Daud’s Mirage starts with a simple premise, yet quickly becomes satisfyingly complex, and very, very good. I raced through this book, particularly enjoying the complex relationships Amani has with Maram and her fiancé Idris. All Daud’s characters are caught in the bands that hold them to their stations. They all must contend with the pressure that comes with a life of expectation, loyalty, and maybe, love. I predict that Mirage will be a very successful book.
5 out of 5 stars
Release on August 28th, 2018.
Thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Somaiya Daud for the advanced copy for review.