Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud
I’ve been having a hard time putting to words my exact feelings of this book. I listened to it on audiobook and at the end, there was an interview with Somaiya Daud about her thoughts, inspiration, and meaning in her message written so eloquently on the pages of Mirage. The interview really opened up my eyes and made me understand so much more than my first impression of what this story meant and the enjoyment of reading a really beautiful book. Mirage is about family and history and religion and how all of those things could be taken from us if we don’t fight to keep them alive. It’s also a look into a future where we have a achieved travel in space and to other solar systems and yet our heritage and culture will still follow us no matter what planet we might be on. And in the face of a leader who would like to take that away and live in one unified front we must fight to keep our past from disappearing altogether. So my trouble comes with trying to give justice through this powerful message through my own meager words.
Mirage is a Moroccan inspired sci-fi fantasy. Based in a different solar system than our own, there are people still fighting for their own language, religion, and freedom. Amani comes from a conquered planet where her traditions and heritage are slowly being erased by the Vath Empire. As a tradition of her people, after their young come of age, they hold a ceremony to recognize this tradition into adulthood, and on Amani’s ceremony night with others in her small farming community, the Vath turn her entire world upside down when they threaten those she loves in order to steal her away for unknown reasons. She is then held against her will in a secret royal palace where she discovers that she surprisingly looks almost identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. Maram is disliked by all her conquered people so much that she needs a body double and so she forces Amani to take on the role of her protector where she will stand in for the princess in dangerous situations.
Amani was such a strong character. I loved that in the face of so much change and cruelty she still stuck to her love for her family and found the strength to adapt so she could protect them at all cost. She realizes that she must learn to become what they need her to be if she ever wants to return home to her family. And being a dreamer and poet at heart plays to her advantage as she inspires those she meets to see past the violence and conformity in hopes to eliminate this fear they all live with constantly of being who they truly are. Along the way to becoming Princess Maram, Amani has to also play the part of fiancé to Idris. But their time together starts to feel a little too really for Amani.
Somaiya Daud also says in the interview, that she wanted to weave a strong thread of poetry throughout Mirage as an homage to the way that it holds such an important role in Moroccan culture. It is the base of their language, and much of their literature is written through poetry. We see a lot of it in Mirage, especially where Amani is concerned. She loves the poetry of old and if given the opportunity could be a poet herself. I thought that this was such a beautiful way to bring this part of the culture into the story. Poetry is such an emotional and relatable way to connect to a story and my heart was captivated throughout this one.
The end of this book leaves on quite a cliffhanger and I am definitely interested to see where this goes. I loved the authors voice and the beautiful way she writes that pulled me in from the very beginning. You can tell there was so much research, knowledge, passion and love that went into this book and it’s only the first in a trilogy! Daud mentioned a wedding in book two but not who we would expect! I can’t wait to find out who!! I’ll be eagerly anticipating the release of the next book, but until then Mirage will be running through my mind, inspiring me to really love my family and appreciate all that we have.
If You Liked This Book
If you were a fan of Mirage then you should jump into Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart next! Both of these books had strong female roles with women who were thrown into a certain role of royalty that they were not prepared to take on. But through this role they stuck true to themselves and brought out the want to make life better for those around them. Both books also had a really unique take on the Fantasy genre with some sci fi and newer elements thrown in there as well.
Have you read Mirage? What did you think? Does knowing the authors meaning and inspiration behind their book help you connect with the story like it did for me? I’m curious to know what you think! Let me know in the comments below!