“On a small moon orbiting a large planet, in a small farmhouse in a small village, there was a box, and in this box was a feather.”
The feather is an heirloom, a reminder of when Amani’s grandfather saw a tesleet–a bird sent by the old god Dihya to point his followers toward a sacred calling.
There are no tesleet birds left on the moon called Cadiz or on Amani’s home planet, Andala. The old ways are only memories.
It’s still possible, sometimes, to find small moments of joy even amidst the fear and the bloodshed of the Vathek regime. One such moment comes when Amani receives her daan during a celebration of all the Andalan women turning eighteen. But after her daan is applied, things go horribly wrong.
Amani is whisked away from her friends, her family, and her planet. Taken to the royal palace in secret Amani soon discovers she shares a dangerous connection with the half-Vathek princess and heir to empire Maram: they have the same face. When her family is threatened, Amani has no choice but to agree to act as the princess’s body double–a decoy to appear in public when the princess is most likely to be harmed.
It’s impossible to ignore the luxury and beauty of the palace, or the charm of Maram’s fiance. But beneath that shine there is still violence and danger. Amani will have to navigate both sides of life in the palace if she ever wants to see her family again in Mirage (2018) by Somaiya Daud.
Mirage is Daud’s debut novel and the start of a trilogy.
Daud introduces readers to a rich and brutal world inspired by her own Moroccan heritage. Amani’s affection for her home is infectious and immediately obvious with evocative, deliberate descriptions that bring Cadiz to life. The abrupt contrast and tonal shift as Amani is forced into her new life in the palace is jarring and brutal in comparison.
Amani’s first person narration is empowering and heartening as she refuses to be broken down or diminished even as she is held captive. With no one to trust and only herself to rely on, Amani is determined to rescue herself and her family–all while trying to save her people.
Mirage is the nail-biting start to a trilogy that promises even more twists and surprises to come. Recommended for readers looking for a truly unique sci-fi adventure with a fiery heroine who just might change her world.
Possible Pairings: Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhatena, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig, The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur, Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid, Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Impostors by Scott Westerfeld
*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*