TITLE: Flame in The Mist
AUTHOR: Renee Ahdieh
TRIGGER WARNING: death, political assassination,
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HachetteNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!
FAVORITE QUOTE: “you are first and foremost a person. A reckless,foolish person, but a person nonetheless. If I ever say you are not permitted to do something, rest assured that the last reason I would ever say so would be because you are a girl”
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track 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.
GUYS, the political intrigue, the characters., the slow building romance, just everything, this book was REALLY well done and I cannot WAIT for the sequel and you BET I will be picking up her other books soon.
A flame in the mist follows a young Woman, Mariko, in a Mulan retelling and it was beautiful. Mariko is a young woman from a noble family who is expected to be beautiful and obedient, but she is odd, she never stops asking questions and is often smarter than many. It is that part of her that keeps her alive in the dangerous forests where Yokai wander waiting for victims. She seeks retribution, but ultimately finds herself in this new life.
I have to admit it, I’m a sucker for politically based books with a slow building romance and this book delivered on both beautifully, with a plot twist I didn’t expect to top it off! Mariko was such a lovely main character and so relatable in the way she questioned society, how she was upset by the lower status of women and how it made her angry, it made her feel like a real person, a well rounded human being I would like to get to know. Another character I loved was Okami, a mysterious boy who seems to be in possession of some kind of magic (which SADLY never got explained and I am a bit salty about that since I LOVE magic systems) who’s past only begins to unravel before our eyes at the end of the story. It also seems, while Okami held the most magic, everyone in the clan had the ability to use some form as they often bled into the shadows and disappeared, not to mention their shape shifting leader. This magic system was honestly one of the most intriguing and left me guessing so much that I genuinely cannot wait to learn more
One of the biggest points in this book is it’s Japanese setting, which, YES, includes Japanese words & culture within it and honestly, I loved every bit of it, because how often do we really get to see Japanese culture in YA? let alone, how often do young Japanese children feel represented by characters, well I’m glad to say this was a cast of fully Japanese characters and they were all terribly beautiful and well rounded in only a way a great author can do.
I can’t wait for the sequel to unfold, as characters who I thought were good guys, either make horrendous mistakes, or unveiled themselves to be villains in hiding and the political game became all the more interesting as the emperor was murdered and two main characters captured.
until next time,