Mirage by Jenn Reese is the sequel to Above World. In Mirage we continue adventuring with our favorite merpeople (but call them Kampii to be safe!), centaur and bird-girl. Mirage takes place mostly in a desert setting, but I’m definitely still counting it for my Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge because it is pretty darn tough to write about mermaids in the desert (even when they have two legs). Reese continues to amaze with her blend of fantasy creatures and sci-fi world. The Above World series may be middle-grade, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is interesting in the premise because I don’t normally read middle-grade/early YA but this series continues to impress me. There may be some spoilers for Above World given that this is a sequel, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, check out my review of Above World instead!
Note: I received Mirage for review from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you to Candlewick Press for the opportunity!
Mirage by Jenn Reese (Above World #2)
Published by Candlewick Press on March 12, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, MG, Sci-fi
Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - Book Depository - Goodreads
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The desert is no place for ocean-dwelling Kampii like Aluna and Hoku, especially now that Aluna has secretly started growing her tail. But the maniacal Karl Strand is out to conquer the Above World, and the horselike Equians are next on his list. Aluna, Hoku, and their friends — winged Calli and Equian exile Dash — race to the desert city of Mirage, intent on warning the Equians. When they arrive, Strand’s clone, Scorch, has gotten there first. Now the Equian leader has vowed to take all his people to war as part of Strand’s army. Any herd that refuses to join him by the time of the desert-wide competition known as the Thunder Trials will be destroyed. To have any chance of defeating Scorch and convincing the Equians to switch sides, the four friends must find a way to win the Trials. The challenge seems impossible. But if they fail, the desert — and possibly all of the Above World — will be lost to Karl Strand forever.
- I talked about the awesomeness of a male/female friendship that doesn’t turn into a romance in my review of Above World and I am happy to say Mirage continues the awesomeness. The two MC’s are mer-children that have been best friends forever, but that doesn’t mean that they have to fall in love. Turns out boys and girls can be just awesome friends :D.
- The romances that are brewing are pretty adorable with the kid love antics though! Remember when you were young and holding hands seemed like a big deal but then you didn’t really know what to do after? Yeah, it’s pretty cute.
- There is a really awesome message about disabilities and not being “normal.” There are several characters that didn’t form their human + animal forms normally and they are treated poorly by some members of their species. However in the end it is those individuals using their unique strengths that contribute to beating the bad guys. On a similar note, there is a good message about not hating an entire group of people because they are probably not as bad as you think they are. Yey great messages subtly woven into awesome stories!
- The love saving the day story gets a little old for me, so it was exciting to see Mirage going with the honor saving the day message since I think it’s something that fits the younger audience well.
- Did I mention there are mermaids in a desert? Not a problem as long as you have legs right? But if you start growing your tail… yeah that’s a problem and it was so interesting!
- There was a couple of moments where there seemed Mirage would have a love triangle, but then it didn’t, but then it seemed like it again. Let’s just avoid that shall we?
- The plot of Mirage was fairly predictable, but given the age range, I understand.
Above World built an amazing world mixing sci-fi and fantasy elements. Mirage continues to expand that world, showing us different regions and starting to weave the basis for an epic final battle. The bad guys (and gals!) are getting badder, the good guys and gals are getting freaking awesome. If you are a fan of all of those human + animal fantasy creatures (mermaids, centaurs, naga, harpies), then you just have to read this series. I continue to be flabbergasted at how well Reese takes the fantasy critters we all love and makes them fit perfectly into a dystopian/sci-fi story.
Mirage by Jenn Reese
© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.