Book Review: Mirage – Somaiya Daud

Book Review: Mirage – Somaiya Daud

BOOK REVIEW (31)
Series:
Mirage #1
Release Date: 28th August 2018
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC via Netgalley and then I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop.

Synopsis

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.

Review

THIS BOOK. I requested a copy of Mirage on Netgalley because it sounded like it had quite an interesting premise. After meaning to get around to it for a while I picked it up on a whim and honestly this is easily one of my top five favourite books of the year. I could not put this down and I’m so excited to find out what’s going to happen next.

Untitled design (97)Mirage is a stunning debut that complexly weaves fantasy and science fiction elements to create this gorgeous world where no one is safe and things can change in the blink of an eye. I love the blend of planets and technology with mythology and faith. It worked so well together and I enjoyed every second in this world.

The story is fast-paced and told from the point of view of our main character Amani. My one criticism with this book would be that I wanted more, I’d have loved more time to explore the different places Amani visits, and find out more about the different cultures and people that are ruled by the Vathek. The characters are also completely fascinating. Amani who is dealing with this horrific situation of being a body double and pretty much a slave – she chooses to remain strong and fight back instead of breaking under such an awful situation. I also really loved Maram, she’s a complex character – a future Queen hated by everyone for being half Vathek and half Kushaila, on the surface she seems like your typical villain but there’s so much more going on.

Mirage blends so many themes and ideas in a really beautiful way. There’s family and friendship, what it means to belong and a dash of romance too. There’s also much darker themes as the story looks at the subjugation of the Andaalan people who are forced to speak a new language and serve the new ruling Vathek. This story is gripping and engaging and will definitely leave you on the edge of your seat wanting more. Your only problem is going to be waiting for the release of Court of Lions in 2019.
5 stars

Book Review: Ravencry – Ed McDonald

Book Review: Ravencry – Ed McDonald

BOOK REVIEW (47)
Series: Raven’s Mark #2
Release Date: June 28th 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 432
Find It On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book to review.

Synopsis

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

Review

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. If you saw my top picks of 2018 or indeed my rather rambling review of Blackwing (see it here), you’ll know I absolutely adored the first book in this series. After just a few pages I was completely hooked back into this series and if it’s possible, I loved Ravencry even more than Blackwing.

book cover (22)Ravencry picks up four years after the events of Blackwing. The book also contains a ‘previously on’ which I really appreciated to help remind me of exactly where all the characters were. The story is action packed as Galharrow and his rag tag band discover that someone has broken into Crowfoot’s vault, stealing something that the gang desperately need to get back.

The book features some of the characters that I loved from the first book (particularly Nenn), as well as some fascinating new characters. I particularly liked the new additions of Amaira and Vailya. Ed McDonald does an excellent job creating these complex characters that you can’t get enough of. One of the things I love about this series is that there isn’t always a clear right or wrong answer, McDonald weaves a multi-layered story that I definitely couldn’t put down. It’s full of action yes, but also humour, emotion and friendship. Ravencry deserves all the stars and is without a doubt one of my favourite books of 2018.

Much like Blackwing the book is gory, full of the sights, sounds and smells of battle and living in a grimy city. This brings the setting to life and draws the reader in. Ravencry is unputdownable, and the best kind of page turner. If you read Blackwing and loved it, you’re in for a real treat with book two. This fantasy series is never predictable will keep you wanting more, your only problem will be waiting for book number three.
5 stars