My Rating ~ Three stars
TO BE RELEASED: 28 August 2018
Publisher: Hatchette Australia
Source: Received as an ARC for review from Hatchette Australia via Netgalley
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.
Many thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with an E-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.
Amani lives with her poor farming family until cruel droids suddenly turn up to a special evening and rip her away from them. She’s transported to a palace where she learns she is the spitting image of the cruel and hated princess, and the princess is in need of a body double. Forced into the role of standing in for the princess at any events where she might be in danger, she learns and experiences more than she bargained for.
I think I’m going to be in the minority here: I liked Mirage, but I didn’t love it. I know a lot of people have raved about it, but I just didn’t find it all that gripping. I did enjoy watching the relationship that developed and changed between the princess, Maram, and Amani. Watching Maram struggle with her own personality and defence mechanisms was interesting and I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I never knew whether to hate her or feel sorry for her. The writing style was lovely, but there were just a few too many points I found a little frustrating:
The romance between Amani and Idris (Maram’s fiance) was predictable insta-love. They were basically “in love” from the first time they met. Sometimes I can abide by insta-love if it’s done really well and I love the characters, but Idris just seemed a bit flat and uninteresting. I felt no passion for them whatsoever.
I was so confused by the sheer number of strange place names, customs, religions etc that were introduced, but not really explained, that I think I was missing some plot points just trying to remember them all.
The world building was just…. strange. It seemed to be set in the past to me – with all the talk of farmers, horse and carriages and palaces, but it was actually sci-fi, set on different planets. I just couldn’t reconcile the robots and advanced technology with the world that I kept picturing in my mind from the descriptions.
Lastly, not much really happened that wasn’t in the description of the book, which made the story a little too predictable in the end.
In saying that, I still don’t think it was a bad book. It was fine, I didn’t dislike reading it and I’ll read the sequel, but at this stage it’s just not a memorable book for me. It’s one of those books where I’m hoping the sequel has a bit more action and faster developing plot points, and that might help me fall in love with the characters.
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