STARRED REVIEW
September 2018

The princess and the imposter

By Somaiya Daud
Review by

With a mix of Moroccan-tinged fantasy and interstellar sci-fi, Somaiya Daud’s Mirage fits squarely in the new class of genre-melding, diverse young adult literature.

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With a mix of Moroccan-tinged fantasy and interstellar sci-fi, Somaiya Daud’s Mirage fits squarely in the new class of genre-melding, diverse young adult literature.

Amani’s family lives under the rule of the Vathek empire, which conquered their planet and its moons a generation ago. Amani is delighted to be among family and friends on her majority night, the ceremony in which she comes of age and receives her daan, the traditional family markings on her face. But the Vath interrupt the ceremony and take Amani to the old imperial palace they now occupy.

As soon as Amani sees the half-Vathek princess Maram inside, she understands why she was taken: The two girls are identical, and the unpopular princess needs a body double. Maram’s life is in danger whenever she appears in public, so Amani will take her place. As Amani perfects her impression of Maram, she gets closer to the princess, whose cruelty stems from being raised between two enemy cultures. Amani also finds companionship with Idris, Maram’s fiancé. Her feelings for Idris grow stronger as she learns more about their shared Kushaila culture and religion, but will she be able to fight for her people and protect Princess Maram at the same time?

Amani is an admirable heroine, always striving to do right, though the world building and background of the Kushaila and Vathek cultures could be stronger. But with Daud’s emotional plot and cliffhanger ending, readers of romantic, tense and slow-burning fantasy will be enthralled.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Mirage

Mirage

By Somaiya Daud
Flatiron
ISBN 9781250126429

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