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Heart of the Mirage (Mirage Makers, #1)
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Heart of the Mirage (Mirage Makers #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  601 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The Exaltarch rules the Tyranian Empire through force and a network of spies known as the Brotherhood. In Kardiastan, Tyrans has forced out the Magor ruling class and imposed their own leaders.

Ligea Gayed, one of the top agents of the Brotherhood, is ordered to find a Kardiastan rebel leader and bring him to justice. A straightforward enough assignment for her, but all Lig
Paperback, 466 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Orbit (first published March 29th 2006)
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Rating details
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Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
One of the things that excites me about a writer is when life philosophies - whether the author’s own or not – and personal wisdom, insightful commentaries and generosity (or even meaness) of spirit is fleshed out in distinctive characterisation that has the story, as well as the characters, leaping off the page. Coupled with an amazingly vivid world that has been painstakingly constructed, yet is expressed with such ease that it never overwhelms, but rather creeps up on you, Larke has granted t ...more
Pauline Ross
So here we are in the Roman Empire - sorry, no, not the Roman Empire, definitely not, this is fantasy after all. This is Tyrans, nothing to do with Rome. But - centurians and latin-esque names and so forth. Well. For some people, it doesn’t much matter, but for me I prefer the ‘vaguely inspired by’ type of world-building, rather than ‘pretty damn close’, with a few novelties thrown in. So that’s the first hurdle, a not terribly imaginative backdrop to the action.

The second problem is the main ch
Kelley Ceccato
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: magical-heroines
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Well, if I wasn't convinced that the YA genre is already so diseased that very few- if any- books could be considered good or simple above average, this book made me want to burn the entire genre at the stake. Not only is it what I consider to be a perfect encapsulation of everything I loathe in these types of books- I'll get into what exactly those are in a bit- but also adds elements I find utterly repugnant to be presented to a presumably young demographic as positive in any way in the presen ...more
Jason McCoy
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't know if I can recommend this book or not. The main character is poorly driven with unclear goals, the setting can be confusing and muddled, and the overall plot is not gripping. That being said Glenda Larke is such an amazing story teller that I found myself caring regardless. It's just one of those books that I'll look back on and pull apart, but I also can't put it down when I start reading it. Looking forward to reading the next one.
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had real problems at the start of this book: Was it really a fantasy, or a quasi-historical novel based on the Romans?
I'm glad I persisted. It's an enjoyable and smooth-flowing story with a high quality of writing, well-developed characters, and a side order of mystery.
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Der Bund der Illusionisten 1 -Flüsternder Sand" von Glenda Larke ist der Auftakt zu einer Fantasy Trilogie.
Ligea ist gebürtige Kardin wird aber im Alter von drei Jahren von einem tyranischen General adoptiert und großgezogen. Sie ist Mitglied der Bruderschaft, einer Organisation von Spionen, und soll jetzt eine Verschwörung in Kardiastan aufdecken. Denn sie hat die Fähigkeit Lügen zu spüren und sie somit auch aufzudecken. Sie erhält die Anweisung dazu vom Exaltarchen höchstpersönlich. Auf diese
Allistor Kirkland
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
The first time I tried reading this I ended up giving up because I disliked the main character.
After finally completing it, I still dislike her, but for other reasons such as it was hard to tell how old she was as sometimes she would act like a sixteen-year-old girl and other times she would have the maturity of a forty-year-old woman.
I liked the story well enough and the ideas behind it were interesting, but the characters all fell flat for me. The main character had a habit of repeating hersel
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well I just finished book 3. And yes I read all 3 because the core story was interesting.
My problem with the trilogy was the incest. I understand that in many past cultures, royalty practiced incest. The whole keeping the bloodline pure. The author did not write explicit sex scenes but it was mentioned several times throughout the trilogy and it set a tone for me. My opinion.
I wanted to really like this trilogy because I enjoyed the Stormlord trilogy but I couldn't.
Again, my opinion.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, another Larke novel, another reading experience fraught with emotion and action and intrigue and awesome.

Most reviews will talk about the novel’s obvious parallels to ancient Rome and their widespread conquest of Europe. Tyr has indeed conquered far and wide, with the unruly Kardiastan being one of their conquests, and there are stark similarities with Tyranian references to baths, etc. While this bothered some people, it didn’t really bother me. The “strong nation conquers many weak nations
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
it has been a while since I have read a heavy fantasy book (something ASOIAF or LOTR like) with detailed lore and histories to delve into. The complex cultures and rich histories of the Tyrans and Kardiastan was what I enjoyed most about Heart of the Mirage. Combined with the magical elements to the book and the strong main character, Ligea, it made a unique fantasy story that promises to continue into the next books in the series.

As I said, my favourite part of the book was learning about the t
Nov 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I have to say I wasn't very impressed with this book. The idea behind it is decent but, for me, the it was let down by a number of points in the execution.

1. Worldbuilding: I've seen a few reviews praising this book for being based on ancient Rome rather than Medieval Europe. The problem is that the world not so much "based on" ancient Rome as it is "ancient Rome". It genuinely annoys me when a fantasy writer just takes a culture and a geography, changes a couple of names and just drops it into
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
When you take the idea of "Heart of the Mirage", it sounds like the perfect book for me. Our main character Ligea is a secret agent tasked with a sensitive mission that could change the fate of her nation. She's strong-minded, independent, and thinks things through. There is powerplay, and playing mindgames and getting the enemy to stab his own back, which is something I love.

Ligea also comes with her own problems, having been adopted as a war orphan and taken to Tyr from the very nation she is
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Another Fantasy Fiction series, so my kind of books. Having said that this didn't keep me completely gripped, and at first I wasn't quite sure why.
The characters were varied and the plot had enough twists, turns and undercurrents to be interesting without being too complicated.
However, when I think about the book as a whole I realise my attention wandered when the magic elements became too contrived. I know magic doesn't really need explaining, and is unbeleivable by its very nature, but this ma
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
The story begins presenting a world that seems solidly built and quite well maintained too, with an empire that conquers all in its path - well almost all.

But what really irked me with this books, besides the history behind the characters, the main character just plain irritated me. Not because she seems cruel at the beginning of the story, but because, as a spy, you would think Ligea would have a better and more careful head on her shoulders. As it is she seems like a very naïve character - jus
Penelope Green
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Early on I wasn't too sure. The Roman Empire analogy was a little strong and the internal monologue of our main character was a little too fangirl of the empire to feel comfortable. having completed the book, I understand why but it still felt forced and heavy handed for the first 100 pages or so.

While I'm not sure it ever reached the heights of a serious look at cultural appropriation etc the end note aspires to, it did turn into a quite the page turner and kept me reading well past my bed time
Lisa Cassidy
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read this book almost ten years ago, and picked it up again recently when I was in the mood for a good high fantasy read. Just like last time, I was engaged in this book from page 1 and enjoyed it even more on the second read. Larke’s characters are flawed and compelling, and her skill with world-building allows you to become completely immersed in the story. Her main character- Ligea Gayed- is a tough, kick-ass woman, and Larke writes her in such a way that even when she’s not necessari ...more
Petra Eriksson
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I didn't expect this book to be good for some reason, I just didn't have high expectations. But it was really good. The tempo is good, and the plot is good and the development of the maincharacter is beliveable, but she sure can be annoying sometimes, but that is part of it. Even the ending is true to her peronality and I kind of like it, even if it is annoying, it sort of part of her charm. The other charcters is also interesting and fits the story. I likeed the magic in the story as well, even ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
c2006. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Different concept of magic and mayhem with a distinct Roman feel to it - at least some of the terminology made sense. Star crossed lovers? Political? Hard for me to put it in a fantasy type so to speak. However, I was looking for a good rollicking tale and this met all the criteria. Definitely want to know how this all turns out - Ligea/Brand/Tem - not really a triangle but close. "The Shiver Barrens: a land that burned with vicious heat by day, and stole the ...more
S. McPherson
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Incredibly unique and interesting story premise. I enjoyed getting into Ligea's (Derya etc etc) mind and watching her evolve and change throughout the story. There were times when I was disappointed by her changes as she seemed to go from an incredibly strong heroine to a weak shell of herself at times. But at other times, she showed her true and fierce self which was delightful. I am looking forward to reading book 2 in the series and seeing where this adventure takes me.
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Drawing from historical events and basing the language and culture on Ancient Rome, and what feels like a mix of the Australian outback and African deserts, Glenda Larke manages to weave a believable tale of self discovery, and magic while avoiding the standard fantasy trope of medieval Europe.

My only regret is that I did not realize that the next 2 books in the series are not available in ebook form in the US.

Hayley Forrest
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this
I think the main character and the hypocrisy etc at the beginning are supposed to be irksome, so hey that was effective. Continued to be engaging and interesting, and the main character definitely got better and less frustrating :). Thoroughly enjoyed this. Not perfect... sometimes the names seemed a but overdone, it was a bit predictable etc ... But I'm dying to find out what happens so I'm pretty satisfied.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
A solid story that is interwoven strongly with the development of the main character. In fact, more happens on the inner landscape than the outer, to the point where it was focused so much on one person that it lost the strength of the world plot (Reminds me of Jemisin). An interesting political world reminiscent of a Rome trying to quench an annexed province with magical people.
I'm undecided if I will read the rest of the trilogy or leave it be.
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it

Took me a while to get going with this book but was sufficiently intrigued to persevere and was really glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved some of the ideas and concepts! Happily I just discovered it's the first book in a trilogy so book 2 is now sat on my Kindle and calling me to click its title and unwrap the next installment...
I have to admit, this one was a let down. I've loved every other Larke book I've read so far, but this was not only very tough to get into (I almost gave up on it several times in the first third of the book) - when it DID get good and interesting, it ruined it with predictable twists and a horrible ending. Not at all sure I'll be picking up book 2.
Lylly Emerick
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was about 1/3 of the way through the book before I actually became engrossed. The story suddenly became engaging and I realized I had no idea what was going to happen to Ligea/Derya/Sarana (the main character goes through several name/personality changes) and I really wanted to know. Surprising, satisfying, slightly painful. Deals with slavery, politics, a bit of magic. Good stuff.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I want to give this book 5 stars but I can't quite bring myself to do it. It was very good and had all the elements of a good fantasy novel; it had a unique and interesting world and engaging characters, but it was just missing the little spark to make it truly good. I think it might be that it moved a little fast. Anyway, it's the first in a trilogy so I'm hoping the next 2 will improve.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2014
Was a bit of a struggle to finish. Didn't really care for the main character, even after she had her 'change of heart'. Also there were far too many made up words for my liking. Will not be reading the rest of the series.
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loved this! I found some of the language a bit to formal, and I got a little bit sick of 'I said "etc"'

But I'm still giving it 4.5/5 So that has to say something about the actual story.

Also the mirage would have been amazing to write! I loved the purple ducks with ribbons.
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Glenda was born in Western Australia, the daughter of a farmer. She was educated at government state schools and the University of Western Australia, where she obtained a degree in history and a diploma in education. Married to a Malaysian scientist, she has grown-up children, and now lives in Malaysia, where she is actively involved in rainforest conservation.
Author of The Isles of Glory trilogy
More about Glenda Larke

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Mirage Makers (3 books)
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