Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in May 2017
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes and Noble
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
I finally read Flame in the Mist. It’s been on my TBR for ages, and I finally got a copy through my library to read. I’m so glad that I took the time to delve into the world of Flame in the Mist. I absolutely loved the Feudal Japan era and the Japanese characters. It’s been so long since I’ve seen my culture featured in a book that wasn’t manga. & I can’t believe I’m #12 on the waitlist for Smoke in the Sun, the sequel, at my library. These waitlists are killing me!
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh is about a girl from a prominent samurai family that is betrothed to the second son of the emperor. On her way to the emperor’s palace, her convoy was attacked with the intent to kill her. Suspicions rise that the attack was done by the Black Clan. Therefore, she infiltrates the Black Clan posing to be a boy to learn their reason for wanting her dead. There’s more than meets the eye, however, with secrets swirling around the Black Clan, the emperor, and even her family.
What immediately captured me, was Mariko, the female protagonist. She was a fast thinker. Despite her loyalty to her family, she grew a lot while with the Black Clan. She discovered her own strength, found people that appreciated her, and faced the reality of the world she thought she knew. I found her to be a wonderful, well-developed character, and I absolutely loved her interactions with the rest of the Black Clan. Ranmaru and Okami, best friends and leaders of the Black Clan, were also very intriguing characters. They had a secret that I desperately wanted to know.
The overall plot of Flame in the Mist was a page-turner. There’s a lot going on in the story from action, betrayal, love, and lots of secrets and intrigue. I don’t think there was ever a moment while reading Flame in the Mist where I was bored.
However, towards the end of Flame in the Mist, I did get a bit confused. I was particularly confused regarding some of the magical elements of the story. Especially, the scenes that occurred at the palace. I’m assuming more will be revealed in Smoke in the Sun. Flame in the Mist did leave a lot of questions unanswered. So I’m hoping to find my answers in the next book. (Whenever my turn on the waitlist comes around…)
Overall, I would highly recommend reading Flame in the Mist. If you enjoy fantasy and delving into some historical worlds, I think this may be a story for you. If you enjoy Japanese culture, I’d also recommend reading Flame in the Mist. It was fun reading the occasional Japanese word, and it was funny to read some of the explanations. A lot of the words were words I never had to really explain before, like daifuku, which is delicious by the way.
Have you read Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh? Have you read any books featuring a Japanese protagonist recently? I’d love to hear your thoughts!