Book Review: Mirage

Tithe: Mirage (Mirage #1)
Author: Somaiya Daud
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Source: ALA Annual 
Format: ARC

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 (goodreads).

Mirage was mostly set up for the next book. 
Plot: Mirage was one of my most anticipated books of 2018 and unfortunately may be my biggest disappointment of 2018 as well. Mirage told the story of Amani, a young woman who was kidnapped from her home to pose as a body double for a hated princess. The premise alone set up for a daring tale of court betrayal and war when really it focused on Amani making friends and falling in love with the princess' fiance, Idris. 

Truthfully, nothing happened in Mirage. Amani accepted her role as a body double and sometimes even volunteered to go in the Princess Maram's place. For a princess who was so afraid for her safety, there were no tense moments or times when I thought Amani was in danger. The plot moved along in the last 30 or so pages, which makes me believe that book 2 will be action-packed and move the story along. 

Characters: Given that Mirage was just over 300 pages, there wasn't room to get to know the characters on a deeper level. Amani and Idris fell in love easily and without any concern regarding their own safety. Amani, for all her talk in the beginning, didn't seem too worried for her safety at all. There were other characters who will become key players in future books that were glossed over when I think this would have been the perfect setting to expand upon them. 

Worldbuilding: This book was sci-fi, who knew? Although it was sci-fi, I'd categorize this as sci-fi lite. Instead of carriages, we had spaceships, instead of warring countries, we had warring planets, and sprinkle in some droids every now and then. Honestly, I forgot that this was sci-fi until a droid appeared. 

Unsurprisingly, there was a rebellion brewing to defeat the conquering king. The rebellion was a second thought with no explanation of how it worked and who was involved. That was the most disappointing aspect because Daud glossed over potentially great moments. 

Short N Sweet: Mirage had potential and I'm hoping that the second book is more my speed. 

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