Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Amani is ripped from her family by the alien race that has taken over her star system, the Vathek.  She finds out why she was singled out when she meets Princess Maram and sees that they could be twins.  Amani is trained, sometimes violently, to be exactly like Maram in order to be her body double at events where Maram might be in danger.  The princess's father is Vath and Maram seems to be just like the cruel overlords so people are not looking forward to her ascension to the throne. But after a rough start, Amani begins to see that Maram might be more understanding and could possibly be turned into a good ruler.  In the meantime, Amani is sent into many situations along with Maram's politically convenient fiance, Idris, and soon the two find themselves growing close.

I set aside time today to finish this book because I just wanted it to be over.  I had heard such hype about it and was looking forward to an exciting sci fi adventure but instead it just dragged along.  The main sci fi thing about it is that the Vath are from somewhere else in the solar system.  But other than that knowledge about them, they basically act like humans (or like whatever the original people are on the planets where Amani lives), except meaner, so there's not much of a sci fi element.  The world that was built was fine but the mythology of the culture was not explained clearly enough for me to embrace it or even understand some of it at times.  I wasn't 100% sure what a tesleet was until at least half to three quarters of the way into the book.  The love scenes were long, particularly the actual consummation scene, without drawing me in with the descriptions of how Idris didn't speak the language but he could read what she was feeling, etc.  On a side note, that poem about ploughing and flushing - OH MY! 

Plot-wise, not a whole lot happened.  Once Amani got the knack of being Maram, there was the romance and some pretty clothes and a bunch of scenes where Amani met people are fooled them or confessed to them.  Even the spying was pretty lackluster.  I needed more political intrigue or action.  Finally, I expected some sort of revelation about why the two girls looked so much alike, especially since Maram is only half Andalaan (I think that's the ethnicity...) and all the Vathek look very much alike in coloring.  I assumed we'd find out they were sisters and then Amani would have to deal with her own tie to her oppressors, but no explanation was offered for the resemblance.  It's clear this is book one in a series so maybe that will come up later.  For now I have to assume that they're "cousins, identical cousins...". 

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