“The blood never dies. The blood never forgets.”
Read in December 2018
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
May be spoilery
Amani lives in a poor farmer’s village on Cadiz, a moon of the planet Andala with her parents and her two older brothers. Her family has known nothing but oppression by the ruthless Vath Empire that rules over the entire galaxy. While slowly but strongly trying to erase all local cultures as well as traditions and religions, the Vathek also are violently crushing any rebellion movements.
Mirage begins on the celebration night of Amani’s entering in adulthood, a tradition of her village when she receives a daan. But that night everything goes wrong, Amani gets kidnapped by imperial droids and is taken to the royal empire where she is trained to serve as a body double for the cruel Imperial Heir, Princess Maram as they are both nearly identical. She must learn to imitate her at certain official events to avoid the princess to be at risks.
I wanted this book to work for me. I really did. And, I mean, why not? The cover was gorgeous with purple-sprayed pages and most of my GR’s friends who read it gave it pretty good reviews. Well, I’m sorry, friends, but I really didn’t enjoy myself one bit. And here’s what went wrong for me:
★ The character development
I feel like the character development was awful. None of the evolutions (if there were actually evolutions) were subtle and gradual. I’m sure it was worsened by the shortness of the book, there wasn’t much room to actually make the characters develop in a believable way. I honestly could point the pages where Amani decided to change her mind on things (other characters or her role in the world). It was so obvious it made the reading experience very clumsy.
“When night falls, come and visit me, For I have seen night keeps secrets best.”
★ The telling, and not showing
This book is full of pretty sentences and wording, however, the characters did not act accordingly to what was said. For instance, I really loved the following quote “You are not defined by the men in your life, no matter how powerful. You lived before them and you shall live after them. You can’t let them determine your path.” however, the MC let her story be defined by a man in most of the book (but I’ll do a full part on the romantic aspect of this book below). Let’s not talk about the first quote of this review as Amani seemed to have a very dysfunctional memory. Last but not least, the following quote is: “Even Your Happiness is rebellion.”, well for a book based on rebellion, she did a whole lot of nothing, except going with the flow (after the previously mentioned man asked her to) and messing up their plan. Well done Amani.
★ The Romance/Friendship (Can we say this book has romance though?)
Insta-love is one of my pet peeves, and Idris and Amani falling instantly in love (and actually using the word ‘love’) was too much for me. They really shared no chemistry and the time they spend together didn’t allow them to develop any kind of intimate friendship. Idris himself, despite being described as “perfect and perfectly handsome” didn’t even poke my interest. As for the Maram/Amani friendship it felt as the rest of the book did, things didn’t seem gradual and even though Maram was the most thought out characters, she had unbelievable reactions all along (though TBH I would ship Amani and Maram as a couple)
★ The Rest
– I wasn’t a fan of the sci-fi setting (I don’t read much sci-fi so I can’t tell if it’s the book itself or the genre that made me uncomfortable), and I really fell like there were many parts taken from Star Wars (is it just me?).
– It was WAY too short, after finishing my reading, I checked the audiobook and it barely exceeds 8 hours, and now I understand more why I feel like almost nothing happened while feeling like things went too fast at the same time. I wanted to DNF it when I realized I was actually already at the end.
– I usually really like North African inspired stories, but here it felt oddly displayed.
– The climax was underwhelming AF.
So overall, I’m glad that so many of you seem to be liking this book, but I’m really having a hard time to say anything nice about it and I probably won’t be reading the next ones.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it?