Smoke in the Sun – Renée Ahdieh*

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh book cover on an ipad

Smoke in the Sun Synopsis

Note: This review is spoiler-free!

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice – to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor’s ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

Why did I pick it?

I was late getting to this second book in the Duology, over a year! so much so I had to go back and refresh my memory on book one before I got started.

I gave the first book 4 stars but things had got going towards the end so I was hopeful that book 2 was going to be a good one!

What I loved about it

The second book really kept pace where the first one left off. Not so much in terms of action initially but more of a move towards political intrigue and customs within the imperial court. We got to see a whole other side of Mariko, more calculating and careful, using her words to play the long game to get what she desires.

I loved the first book for its world-building and in this second book, we get to explore other locations which are equally as fascinating. I could definitely have waited for a third book just to have more of this, it’s one of the things I love about Renée’s writing.

What I loathed about it

MORE, I wanted more! It was such a great story I didn’t want it to end. Although I was satisfied with the ending I would love more from some of the secondary characters, Yumi in particular, I feel she has more of a story to tell.


A change of pace from the first book with a very satisfying end to the duology even if I was left wanting more.

When and where can you can get it

You can purchase Smoke in the Sun on Amazon today


* Book provided FOC in exchange for an honest and fair review

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