Mirage | Review

Greetings readers!

So I have been sitting on this review for a while. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say. It’s even harder to rate when you know you liked it but there were also things you didn’t like. I have a mix of emotions. It’s just…a lot of….hmmmmmmmmm. (Not about that stunning cover though!)

Mirage (Mirage, #1)

Publisher: Flaitron Books
Pub Date: August 28th, 2018
Price: $24.99 CAD
ISBN:  9781250126429

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.


Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*I was provided an ARC by the publisher! All opinions are my own!*

I wanted to love this. A Moroccan inspired sci-fi tale of deception and discretion. How amazing does that sound???? Answer: Incredibly amazing. But there is a BUT. I could not love this one. It had so much potential every time I picked it up to read on but it just continued to let me down. Sigh. And yet I still very much enjoyed it!?

What I Liked:

The Characters:

Amani was a fabulous MC. She was fierce and passionate. After being thrust into a strange new world, where her life was on the line every single day, Amani had to learn to adapt. She was headstrong while also very compassionate. She had this love for her culture and religion which I found very admirable. No matter how much the society she was in tried to change her, she held on to her values as best she could. She made mistakes of course and I yelled at her for a bit, but she was definitely an interesting character to follow.

I was also fascinated by Maram….(?) Like I know she starts off as cruel and wicked, but I loved that Daud dug in deep into her character, her flawed past and her fears. She has to deal a lot with the “You are not enough” BS because she is biracial and Daud explores that theme beautifully. She is a character I look forward to reading more about in the next book. You’d think there would be girl on girl hate..but Amani’s relationship to Maram is much more complicated and complex which I loved!!!!

Idris was cool. Definitely swoon worthy, but I think he needed  little more character to put him on the book boyfriend list.

The World:

It was stunning. Daud spends a lot of the book–and I mean a lot of the book–explaining and describing this world. These planets and moons that are strung together, filled with different kinds of people and cultures. I’m sure the finished copy will have a stunning map to reference all the places that the characters go to! The world is so well drawn out, the messy history is clearly explained and the political motives are starkly stated. I could definitely see the Morrocan influence in this universe, which was absolutely stunning.

The mythology behind the deity in Amani’s world!!!! It was beautiful and I loved the story behind the prophetess. Daud was able to infuse it quite easily into the characters dialogue, so it added to the scene instead of shifting the focus from the characters.

The Spicy Poetry:

I mentioned this in my mini Goodreads review because it just really stuck out to me. Poetry was really important to Amani and her upbringing. It was something that she loved although outlawed and was willing to break many rules to have her chance to read it. And let me tell you, there was this one verse of poetry that was very ummm hot hot hot. Like spicy hot. It had Amani and me blushing, so I laughed just a little.

james corden flirting GIF by The Late Late Show with James Corden

The In-Between…

The romance was meh for me. Personally, I think their feelings developed too quickly. It was not long before the proclamations of love starting coming around. I mean they did have a lot to relate to, but not enough to say the three words! I mean I get it, he’s hot, I would blush too…but the chemistry??? I think a slow burn would have worked much better to add to the drama, tension and danger that Amani was in. Or maybe I’m just a cynic. Frankly I was more interested in Amani’s relationship with Maram, which although unromatnic, was far more exciting!

What I Disliked:

Nothing Happened:

Over 300 pages and most of it is Amani’s inner dialogue. The very beginning was great and I was really looking forward to continuing on and getting to the high stakes…but there were none. All she does for the first half of the book is talk to herself. Character interaction is minimal if not repetitive and when she did interact with someone else it was usually Idris and as I said the declarations of love. This frustrated me. I was getting bored and as much as I love the development of the world, I need something to happen!! Where was the action? The high stakes???

Bored Alice In Wonderland GIF

The Sci-Fi-ness was naught, this was Fantasy: 

Daud created such a beautiful world, with stunning scenery and elaborate customs…but every now an then this beautiful, fantastical image that I had in my mind would shatter when the random droid appeared. I often forgot that this was a Sci-Fi book and not fantasy. This would have been fine, but the Sci-Fi elements were really not weaved into the world well which I found disappointing. I expected to see the technology up front and center. But instead there was as I mentioned the random droid, the spaceship/pod and the use of the tablet. There was space for more elements. You know…instead of the the game the played be a board game, it could have been holographic/virtual, the doors in the palace could have been sliding doors, the references to the technology in the society could have been used more often to just remind the reader that this is a space opera!

I think the Sci-Fi elements disrupted the story more than add to it. Sorry!

The Twists:

Were there any??? The ending doesn’t count because of course something had to happen since nothing had happened in the previous 250 pages!!!

Overall, I did like this, but I am disappointed. I did not love this book and I was greatly anticipating it. It’s not that it is bad, I was just expecting so, so much more! The characters go through little risks and the plot was very mellow. It was a fast read and the world was beautiful, but I had a hard time staying attached to the story line and there were very few exciting moments. I hope the sequel makes up for much of what I didn’t get in this one.

Rating: 3.75 / 5 Stars

Recommend: Huhhhh. I’m gonna leave it for you to decide. I mean if you like your reads mellow and your characters relatively safe from much harm, then by all means.

Let me know what you think! Are you thinking of picking this book up? Which highly anticipated book has let you down lately?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


Bandwagon Books I Want to Jump On!

Greetings readers!

We all know there are some books that we say we are going to read and then months, perhaps even years go by and we still haven’t read them. I especially have this problem with super hyped books. For example, I only started reading the Throne of Glass series  because I heard  so much buzz around it, and that was two years ago, when Queen of Shadows came out (the fourth book). Not to mention, I didn’t actually get into reading until my early teens so I missed a whole lot of old hyped series and because I am that inefficient, I’m missing out on a lot of new hyped series!

The Bandwagons Series is what I call them. There are a lot out there, that out of the blue I just feel like jumping onto them…but I lack serious motivation to do so.

So why not list them all out for you. Clearly I like to share my inefficiencies with you all!

The Percy Jackson series…actually the whole Rick Riordan Franchise!

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)
via Goodreads

Ever since middle school I have been eyeing these. Then the movie came out and well I set my eyes on Logan Lerman (hello!), but I never got around to picking up the books. Plus, some boy in my class had the audacity to say that I should read Percy Jackson because it rules and Narnia drools. No. You don’t say that to me. I immediately knocked them off my list. Him and the books, for a short while.

But lately, my urge to read them has resurfaced and with all the other companion series…I just really want to jump on this bandwagon. I want to get all the inside jokes!

The Shatter Me Series by Taherah Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
via Goodreads

No I haven’t read these ones either. My cousin did and she did throw the books in my face and yelled at me to read them…but I haven’t. Now that new additions are being added, I kind of want to get in on this action too.

Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
via Goodreads

Two words:

Epic Fantasy

I’m alllllllll for it. I’ve heard endless praise for it by my favourite BookTuber Regan @PeruseProject and I have seen so many raving reviews! Plus and anniversary edition of this just came out and it looks gorgeous!!! Just give me all the pretty epic fanatsies!!!

Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
via Goodreads

I saw this one a lot of Tumblr and boy oh boy does Tumblr make it seem intriguing. Not to mention all the hype surrounding this and the new companion series about this Noah person. I know there are mixed reviews about this series, but it really does sound interesting and I want to get in on all the inside jokes…………………….(that’s basically my reason for everything.)

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)
via Goodreads

I actually almost bought this book. Then I saw that it was a love triangle or as people say “love triangle” (which putting it in air quotes I think kind of gives the secret reveal away…but I’m not 100% on what that secret revelation is, though I have good faith that I am right.) ANYWAYS…past the love triangle, I have heard incredible things about the characters especially the MC and although I think the titles and covers are kind of cheesy, I shall not remake the same Winner’s Trilogy mistake. (i.e. I shouldn’t judge the covers…or title)

PLUS…there is a companion series coming out so…….*geez Rendz let’s just keep elongating this list with the companion series*

The V.E. Schwab Train

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)
via Goodreads

Self-explanatory really. I haven’t read a single Schwab book, I missed her signing here in Toronto because I hadn’t read any of her books AND I am missing out on a lot of epic fantasy and intrigue and pain.

Shame on me.

(And it was announced that there will be companion novels…)

The Cinda Williams Chima Bonanza

The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)
via Goodreads

Again, Regan made me list all her books on my TBR. More epic fantasy. And yes there are companion series. *Rendz you have a problem*

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


 confused hand robert downey jr frustrated sigh GIF

You know me. I have put off this series for a long while. (After jumping on the ToG bandwagon and heading down a bumpy road, I lost faith in SJM) I actually said I wouldn’t read them and then I said I would and then I wouldn’t and just………I will. I bought the books, so I kind of have to. I will be 100% honest that I only bought the series because Indigo had a beautiful fan art edition of ACOWAR, and I liked the art so yeah…Otherwise I’m not too excited. I do want to get the inside jokes and all the memes and stuff (and you know it’s also getting companion novels) but like I can wait a little longer.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
via Goodreads

Yeah………this is so not going to happen. I always say “someday”, “one day”, “when I’m older and I can buy a pretty set”, yeah…….probably not.

*Dodges tomatoes*

It’s not that I’m saying the series is bad…I’m just saying it’s a bit overrated and sometimes too much hype can cause some serious set backs. I mean even the thought of all those companion novels doesn’t strike me (but sometimes it does). It’s a back and forth, “I will, I won’t, I will, I won’t etc.” I do have the inclination to watch the movies when they are on TV, but like I can’t watch the movies and not read the books, it’s sacrilegious.

So yeah people….biggest black sheep confession of the day.

Clearly there are more series I could have listed, but these are the ones that have struck me recently. There are so many bandwagons I’d like to join, but only so much time to read! Plus, all of these basically have companion novels…which apparently I’m just discovering I have a fetish for. I am very odd.

Let me know what you think? What are some bandwagon books you jumped on? What are some books you would like to jump on? Which bandwagon book should I jump on first? Has hype ever killed a book for you?

I’d love to know!

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


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