Here’s part of it:
Glenda Larke has written a very enjoyable and utterly compelling story that unflinchingly probes into the psychology of a person who has been robbed of her family, her people and her culture. Ligea’s origins have been stolen from her; her heritage has been denied her – a crime that is compounded by the fact that she has been raised by the very person who has killed her family. Larke has obviously been inspired by real events, mainly the Disappeared Ones of Argentina and the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Australia, a fact that imbues Ligea’s story with a deep-felt resonance.
Characterization constitutes the novel’s greatest strength. It is Ligea’s character that drives the plot and Larke takes the time necessary to build up Ligea’s personality as well as the events and experiences that prompt her to question herself and her values, thus making the manner in which her character evolves plausible. When it comes to characterization, Larke’s work reminds me very much of Robin Hobb. Like Hobb, Larke uses a first-person narrative and she takes the time necessary to build a quite complex character. And like Hobb, Larke is never shies away from revealing bare the less savoury aspects of the protagonist’s personality. Ligea is in many ways not very likeable. Throughout a large part of the story, she comes across as arrogant, self-centered and cruel, but as Larke slowly reveals the forces that have shaped her one can’t help to feel for her. Likewise, the experiences that cause her to change and mature as a person ring absolutely true.
Heart of the Mirage is a very strong novel that offers a multi-facetted and deeply flawed protagonist as well as a well-paced and deeply compelling story about betrayal and identity. Larke has a fluid prose that often emphasizes sensuous detail and if she sometimes veers towards the overly descriptive then this is a very minor complaint.
Many thanks to Trine D.Paulsen