Books by Muslim Authors, Fiction Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

Mirage by Somaiya Daud – Book Review

Ever since I heard about Mirage I knew I had to read it and that I would love it. And it’s safe to say it did not disappoint! I devoured this book in two evenings and I was up late into the night because I had to read just one more chapter. I am already dying in anticipation of book two.

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Rating: 4.5/5

So if you haven’t heard of Mirage then here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Mirage is a diverse sci-fi fantasy story which is inspired by Moroccan culture. I found this world so original and fresh and I loved the worldbuilding so much! It was so nice to the Moroccan heritage and culture incorporated into the story. The worldbuilding is so intricate and done so well. It was so nice to see a world which is original especially in a sci-fi setting, the cultures of both the Vathek (oppressors) and Kushaila (oppressed) and their power dynamics are so intriguing and well written.

The characters are also so well written and fleshed out. They are complex and interesting to read about and have great character development. Amani is smart and sassy but she learns to be diplomatic and manage tense political alliances. She is brave but also shows vulnerability and admits she is afraid. I loved that we are shown that she is afraid but still persists in her goal.

Maram is initially shown as cold, abrasive and arrogant but we soon learn that there is more than meets the eye. I loved how she develops and we get a deeper look at what she is truly like and we see that she has grown up in a difficult situation and she is more vulnerable than she allows to be seen.

Idris is my new book boyfriend! I adore him even though we don’t get to see a lot of him what we do see is a young man who despite having to live among those who murdered his family is still kind and compassionate. He is very diplomatic and smart and knows how to play the long. He is also fun and charming and shows a different side to him when he learns who Amani is.

I loved seeing the relationships develop between Amani and Idris and Amani and Maram. They were complex and realistic and I am looking forward to seeing more of them and how their relationships develop in the next book. The side characters who we see for short periods are also well written and are all interesting to read about.

I also loved the Arabic poetry incorporated into the story and that it was not only an important part of Amani’s and Idris’ culture but also important to the story. It also gave us a glimpse of how the Kushaila culture was before the Vathek came and destroyed most of it in the war.

One of the aspects of the story that I found really interesting was how prejudice against a group of people can lead to the oppression of them. But also that by actually learning about the culture and way of life can help to overcome the prejudice. This was something I saw as Amani’s and Maram’s relationship developed and they started to become friends.

The story itself was well rounded and had a full arc as well as setting up a larger plot to continue in the next book. I really liked this as normally we are left on a cliffhanger just as the plot starts to develop in the first book.

I highly recommend reading this book! It was wonderfully written and left me wanting more! It was also so wonderful to see diverse cultures and the Moroccan heritage, as it’s not something we usually see in books. I am really looking forward to continuing the story.

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Books By My Favourite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Hey booknerds! I’m taking part in another week of Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find more information here

This weeks topic is books by my favourite authors I still haven’t read

So I always try to read books by my favourite authors as soon as they release but sometimes I’m too busy at the time they release to read them and then they just get pushed further and further down my tbr. But I do want to read these sometime soon!

1 Renegades by Marissa Meyer

2 Bright Ruin by Vic James

3 All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

4 The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman

5 Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

6 How Do You Like Me Now? By Holly Bourne

7 Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

8 A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

9 Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

10 The Extinction Trials Exile by S.M Wilson

Each of these books have been highly anticipated releases for me this year and I really want to read them soon! My tbr is crazy as I’m sure you can all relate and I sometimes wonder if I will ever get through all of my books!

However these are books that I definitely want to read hopefully by the end of the year. So lets see how I get on!

Top 5 Wednesdays

Top 5 Wednesdays – Classics I Wish Had Modern Adaptations

Hey booknerds! It’s another Top 5 Wednesday post! This is hosted by Sam over on Thoughts on Tomes where you share you top 5 for the chosen topic for that week. You can check out each weeks topic over on Goodreads.

This weeks topic is classics I wish had modern adaptations.

So these are classics that I love but I don’t’ think have any modern retellings yet and I think it would be really interesting to see modern retellings of these and what would change or stay the same to make the story work.

1 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I adore this book and though it seems a really popular book I don’t think I’ve seen a modern adaptation of it

2 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I wonder what this book would be like if it was set in modern times. The addition of social media would definitely add more complexities into the story I think

3 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – This story was one of my favourites when I was younger and I would love to see what it would be like in modern day

4 Macbeth by William Shakespeare – This is one of my favourite Shakespeare stories and I would love to see a modern adaptation of it

5 The Time Machine by H.G. Wells – what would the time machine look like if it was created in the modern day? How would things be different? I would love to see it!

So these are the books I chose, let me know what you would want a modern retelling or adaptation of.

If you know any modern adaptations of these then do let me know!

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Hidden Gems

Hey booknerds! I’m taking part in another week of Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find more information here

So this week the topic is Hidden Gems. Books you think deserve more recognition.
So I’m going to share some of my favourite books with you all that I feel like don’t get enough love!

1 The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman – if you like historical fiction then you will love this! The last book is out in a couple months and I cannot wait!

2 Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk – I got this book in a book box and it’s become one of my top reads this year! It’s a Spartacus retelling and I highly recommend it!

3 Gilded Cage by Vic James – this book will tear your heart to pieces and keep you on the edge of your seat and guys, it’s so good!

4 The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson – a book with dinosaurs?! I knew I had to read this book and it’s amazing!

5 The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar – this book deals with the refugee crisis and I highly recommend reading it. It’s such a relevant book and beautifully written.

6 Flawed by Cecilia Ahern – this dystopian was chilling. It’s quite scary how this parallels society and I feel like not enough people know about it.

7 The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – okay so I know that quite a few people have heard of this book but I feel like it’s still very underrated and it’s so good and deserves all the love!

8 Jinxed by Amy McCulloch – I came across this book recently and I fell completely in love but not many people know about this gem and you’re all missing out!

9 The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James – this book has great mental health rep and a badass heroine but not in the conventional sense and I loved it so much!

10 Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed – this book is about the right for an education for all girls and is a topic close to my heart. It deals with a very important topic but not enough people have read it and I definitely recommend it

So these are my recommendations for you all! I highly recommend reading all of these books as they’re all amazing!

What books would you recommend that are amazing but don’t get enough love?

Top 5 Wednesdays

Top 5 Wednesdays – Books I’ve removed from my TBR

Hey booknerds! It’s another Top 5 Wednesday post! This is hosted by Sam over on Thoughts on Tomes where you share you top 5 for the chosen topic for that week. You can check out each weeks topic over on Goodreads.

This weeks topic is Books I’ve removed from my TBR

I’m one of those people who continuously add books to my TBR despite it already being ridiculously huge! But I recently unhauled a whole bunch of books that I either didn’t enjoy or I realise now that I probably will never read.

So some of those that have been removed from my TBR are:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy – I really struggled with the first book and forced my way through it and the trilogy has since sat on my bookcase for a year and untouched. I finally accepted that I will never finish it. I only picked it up because there is so much hype around the books but it wasn’t for me unfortunately

The Legend trilogy – This is another series I picked up because I kept hearing great things but I just about managed to finish the first book before giving up on it.

The Darkest Minds – I actually DNF’d this book because I really couldn’t make myself to continue reading to the end.

Nevernight – I got this book an illumicrate box so I was really looking forward to reading it but I really didn’t enjoy it. I tried reading it 3 times before giving up on it.

The Graces – This is the first book in a series and this book was okay but I didn’t like it enough to continue with the series.

So these are some of the books I’ve removed from my TBR.

What books have you removed? What makes you decide to not continue with a series or not read a book you were previously excited about?