This "enriching, thrilling, and captivating" (BuzzFeed) debut " has what it takes to be the next big thing in sci-fi/fantasy" ( SLJ , starred review)
"A refreshing and unique coming-of-age story...and a beautiful and necessary meditation on finding strength in one's culture.Read more...
This "enriching, thrilling, and captivating" (BuzzFeed) debut "has what it takes to be the next big thing in sci-fi/fantasy" (SLJ, starred review)
"A refreshing and unique coming-of-age story...and a beautiful and necessary meditation on finding strength in one's culture. A-." --Entertainment Weekly, Top Pick of the Month
In a world 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 home.
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' fianc , 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.
- ISBN-13: 9781250126429
- ISBN-10: 1250126428
- Publisher: Flatiron Books
- Publish Date: August 2018
- Page Count: 320
- Reading Level: Ages 13-18
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.85 pounds
The princess and the imposter
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.