Flame in the Mist Synopsis
“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 favourite 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.”
Note: This review is spoiler-free!
Why did I pick it?
The write up described the book as an “action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass“. Being a big fan of the Throne of Glass series and Renee Ahdieh’s other novels this had been on my most anticipated, have to read immediately list since it was announced.
What I loved about it
As with Renee’s previous novels the setting is richly detailed and a pleasure to discover. The fact that it was Japan, a place I LOVE made this even better.
Although I did feel the book took a while to get going (hence the 4 stars and not 5) once it did it didn’t pause for breath, as the various plot threads wove together across the various character POV’s.
The fact that not all of these threads were “romance” related was refreshing. I’m getting a little bored of seeing it used as the main driver for female protagonists in YA fiction at the moment.
Even though the setting was Japan, magic was a running theme throughout and I liked this added “fantasy” element that elevated the story for me.
What I loathed about it
The book wasn’t without a few issues. With the vastness of the world came an array of secondary characters, not all of whom I felt were fleshed out in enough detail for me to care. The plot thread surrounding the royal family and Mariko’s brother for example, was a little unfulfilling, mainly as I didn’t feel enough for the characters.
Because the book was so action packed it did mean that certain elements were rushed, the end, in particular, left me wanting more. Which I guess is a good thing considering there’s a second book, but as it was so great I wanted more of it.
The sequel is out next year and I cannot wait, if it’s half as thrilling as the first I’m in for a TREAT!
When and where can you get it
You can purchase Flame in the Mist on Amazon today