Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Published May 16th 2017
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 was sent an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Flame in the Mist is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It was so original, well written, and I really liked the main character.
It was a little slow at times and I was kind of confused at first but once I got into the plot and understood what was going on, I really liked it. It was very difficult for me to keep track of the characters. A lot of the characters had nicknames and titles and it was all thrown around at the same time. I feel like I would have to read this book a second time to really understand who was who. However, I haven’t really seen anyone else have this issue so maybe it was just me.
The main character, Mariko, was such a badass and I felt like she could totally have her own action movie. She did come across as spoiled at times, which was kind of annoying, but it was definitely because of her upbringing and it made sense.
My favorite things about Flame in the Mist was the plot and setting. The plot was so engaging and captivating. I really liked the Mulan-like elements. I don’t know if this was meant to be a retelling but it definitely felt like one.
The setting was absolutely amazing. The Japanese culture paired with the writing style was a match made in heaven. I loved how much detail there was on Japanese culture from the food to the traditions. Renee’s descriptions of things painted a beautiful picture and I loved it so much.
I haven’t read Renee’s other books so I can’t compared Flame in the Mist to The Wrath and the Dawn but I’ll definitely be picking up TWATD very soon.
Overall, Flame in the Mist is one of my favorite books of 2017 and I definitely recommend it. The writing style, setting, and diversity was amazing and I can’t wait for the next book in Mariko’s story.