‘Mirage’ by Somaiya Daud is a short book without much intrigue.

Synopsis: 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. 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.

Amani is likeable enough. She’s got a bite to her words and a whole lot of strength but I felt like she eased into her new role as Princess easier than I would imagine. I admired her ability to build such quick relationships with people that initially don’t trust/like her (especially when she is parading as Maram). I found the relationship with Idris better suited to Amani than Maram and I was fairly interested to see where they would go together. Despite her cruelty, I enjoyed Maram as a character. She puts out this fierce persona but inside is quite a lonely girl and I can relate to that more than I would like to admit.

I can’t decide if this book bordered religion or if the theme of tradition was pronounced but without a doubt, I didn’t like it. I’m not one for religion (I’ve said this so many times) and I get bored when I have to read about it. I especially hate it when it’s rubbed in my face and this book came quite close. There wasn’t a chapter where Massinia or something to that effect wasn’t mentioned. I’ll say it again: I don’t have a problem with religion (I generally don’t see the point in it) but I don’t want it shouting at me from a book that I’m trying to read for my pleasure.

I’m not sure I am eager to return to this world. It wasn’t what I was expecting and it didn’t catch my attention as much as it should have.

“All may see the stars, but few will see their forebears.”

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I received this in Owlcrate’s September ‘Masters of Disguise’ box and Fairyloot’s September ‘Starcrossed Swoons’ box.

You can get it here

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