Audiobook Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud
When Macmillan Audio sold me on Mirage, the team said I would find something special in Mirage. They definitely weren’t wrong! Mirage is a look at colonialism and feminism wrapped in Moroccan culture. This scifi will be a fall darling – check out my 4 star review!
Mirage (Mirage, #1)by Somaiya Daud
Narrator: Rasha Zamamiri
Published by: Flatiron Books
on August 28, 2018
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Speculative Fiction
Bookshop, IndieBound, Audiobook through LibroFM
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.
Let’s get this out of the way first – Mirage has a beautiful cover that will tell you it’s a fantasy but the first sentence of the description sets things straight – this book is definitely in the scifi genre.
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer.
That’s right, Mirage is set in space. Before you write it off, let me tell you why the setting is not really about space but about the world Somaiya has created.
Amani, our main character, lives in a world where she’s been kidnapped to body double for the princess. Why? Is it because there’s a brutal battle for the crown by warring communities? No (you thought you were going to have your fantasy in right here, didn’t you?). Princess Maram can not be seen in public because the people of the world she will someday rule hate her.
The Kushaila people hate Princess Maram because they’ve been invaded by the Vathek (where her cruel father hails from). In this moment, Mirage becomes so much more than the warring factions but a look at colonialism and oppression.
So this exploration of colonialism and oppression should be enough to make you pick up this book but then Somaiya goes ahead and throws in:
- Moroccan cultural influences
- Space (did I mention this is a scifi?)
And by throws in, I mean completely wraps the story in a way that will have you wondering when you can get your hands on book 2. Like, can I climb in Somalia’s head? It sounds great in there.
The relationship between Amani and Maram is complete hook. They’re both living an experience where their worth as a woman boils down to a man’s needs. Amani has the extra layer of being forced to act as a woman whose sole worth is defined by furthering her father’s agenda and yet, she finds small ways to rebel. And the two of them together? Good lord I hope we see a whole lot more of them together in the future. Burn. It. Down.
So likely you’re already considering this book because I just told you there’s literally no reason not to read it but I want to add that the audio for Mirage is an excellent choice of reading. Rasha Zamamiri is a standout for bringing the right intonation and depth to all of the voices in the story, but especially Amani. I found myself so immersed in the story (thanks to Rasha’s narration) that hours would pass before I knew it.
*Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing me this audiobook in advance. This in no way influences my review here