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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Two Books That Had Potential: Mirage by Somaiya Daud & See All The Stars by Kit Frick

MIRAGE

by Somaiya Daud
Series: Mirage #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷
Amazon - The Book Depository

  • Mirage with its stunning cover and its roots in Morrocan culture caught my attention, despite not being much of a YA fantasy reader. It sounded so interesting too because it fused together elements of science-fiction and fantasy. While overall reading this book was a decent experience, Mirage fell short of my expectations.

  • The story revolved around Amani, a young woman who dreams of being a poet. Kidnapped and forced to act as the body-double of as the Princess of the Vathek empire, Maram, she finds her life turned upside down. Amani was a passionate girl. Her love for poetry and her desires for adventure shone through the Mirage. Her main goal throughout this book was to get back to the safety of her home and family.

  • This was where my one of my biggest issues with Mirage stemmed from. Though you could sense that Amani wanted to go home, I never felt like she actively tried to get out of her situation. This baffled me because this was the core of the plot.

  • Princess Maram was an intriguing character. She was cold-hearted and cruel, but there were shades and layers to her characters. I almost wish that we will get a novella told in her POV because I'm interested in knowing more about the background that turned her into such a vicious ruler.

  • My biggest problem with Mirage was the romance. Princess Maram's fiancee, Idris, figured out early on that Amani was a body double. After just a couple of interactions, these two were head over heels over each other and it made no sense. The romance was rushed and felt incredibly out of place. Not to mention, we begin to see no progress in the plot because of this romance. I took away much of my enjoyment of this book. There were no sparks between Idris and Amani too which didn't help this book.

  • Next, the plot. Mirage seemed to go nowhere when it comes to the story, mostly because Amani did absolutely nothing to get out her kidnapping. This meant that the book was dull in many places. Towards the second half, we did get to see some progress including common fantasy tropes such as secret rebellions and court politics.

  • In the end, this wasn't a book that 100% impressed me. I think there is much potential here and I only hope it gets explored in the subsequent books.




SEE ALL THE STARS

by Kit Frick
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Publisher: McEldery Books
Publication Date: August 14th 2018
Source: ARC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★
Kiss Factor: ✷

  • If you asked me what exactly drew me to See All The Stars, I wouldn't know what to say because I can't remember why I added the book to my TBR pile. I went into the story without reading the summary and was thrilled to find an enjoyable story and a strong debut.

  • This book is a mystery told in past and present about what happened between four girls that tore them apart. I'm going to try and keep the review as vague as possible so I don't give too much away. The writing and the progression of the mystery kept me on the edge of my seat in See All The Stars. The "then and now" chapters drew my attention and managed to hold it throughout the entirety of this book. It was not the most twisty or suspenseful book and it was easy for me to figure out what tore the girls apart, but the journey to revelation was written well.

  • The primary protagonist in See All The Stars is Ellory. We see and hear the story through her lens. She was an interesting character but something about her had me suspicious all throughout. This was great because this only made me flip through the pages of the book faster because I wanted to know if my intuitions were right. Kit Frick made sure that her every emotion was relatable from her anger to her happiness to her grief. It was quite an experience being inside this girl's head because she captured so much of what it was like to be a teenager.

  • The other characters were also well-developed though no one made that great of an impression on me. What I did find memorable were the different relationships, particularly the friendship between Ellory, Bex, Jenn, and Ret. It was fascinating to see all sorts of facets to these relationships - you find support, love, jealousy, and anger. All aspects that are parts of many friendships.

  • There was also a romance here that Ellory found. I wasn't particularly fond of it and found that it did nothing for me. It wasn't a romance that I swooned over, unfortunately.

  • See All The Stars was an engaging read and I highly recommend it to YA readers looking for a book that explores teenagers and friendships with a decent mystery. I will be looking forward to more from this author.

Have you read anything meh lately? What are some of your disappointments of the year?
Let me know in the comments below!

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