Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on May 16th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
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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 ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I . NEED. BOOK. TWO.
I knew this wasn’t a standalone, but I got completely caught up in it and stopped thinking about how it wasn’t going to end. Now I need to know!
Flame in the Mist transports you into the life of Mariko, the daughter of a Samurai and therefore wealthy. In fact, she’s been promised to the Emperor’s son as a wife. She’s never content with just being valued as marital property only, but in the beginning she’s succumbed to her father’s wishes and is headed to be wed. That’s when her life forever changes. Her caravan is attacked and she overhears that she was the target. She fakes death, cuts her hair off to appear as a boy, and heads off to find answers as to who wants her dead.
We’re introduced to multiple characters in the Black Clan, who has been identified as the hired assassins. This is one of the best aspects of the story. The characters are so well-developed and you can’t help but feel some type of way about them.
I’m also a sucker for a mystery. If a book can keep me guessing and dying for answers, then I’m happy. This book definitely delivers. It’s the perfect mix of loveable (or hateable) characters, romance, and mystery. I also thought this was just enough Mulan mixed with originality. I love fairy tale retellings that add their own to the story, and Ahdieh accomplishes that.
5 stars, hands down. I loved it.