I am so happy I finished this book this month. It was a really good read!
Amani lives in a star-system that is occupied by the cruel Vathek empire. Under their rule, her culture, tradition, language, and people are oppressed. Still, Amani is a dreamer and a poet. But suddenly, Amani is kidnapped by the government and taken far away from the family that she loves. She discovers that she is near-identical to Maram, the brutal and hated Vathek princess, and is forced to train to appear as the princess in public. Amani is determined to survive the cruel princess and even finds herself charmed by the life of royalty, and Maram’s handsome fiancé.
Mirage is a debut novel that combines fantasy and sci-fi to create a world that is filled with the glitter and glitz of royalty, androids, space and various planets, and ultimately uses it all to tell a story about colonisation and oppression..
Amani, in particular, is a fantastic character because she is so driven by her love – not just for her family – but for her culture. From page one, Amani is defined by her love for poetry which has deep cultural influences and is outlawed. After her kidnapping, Amani’s first act of rebellion is keeping the sheaves of poetry that was given to her by her brother
Another brilliant character that complicates the dynamics of this cultural oppression is Maram, the Vath Princess who is actually half Kushaila – the same ethnicity as Amani. As Amani becomes closer to Maram, we learn about exactly how this specific identity has played a role in shaping Maram into the cruel princess that she is. We also learn that Maram is a far more complex character than just a cruel princess.
“when night falls, come and visit me, for I have seen night keeps secrets best..”