Release Date: May 16, 2017Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Read from: May 1-May 9, 2017Flame in the Mist, #1Source: TLA 2017For fans of: Fantasy, Romance, Action, Sparkly Covers, Diverse Authors, Diversity, POC
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.
When I first heard about this, it was just an untitled book by Renee Ahdieh. And then the cover happened, and I was worried that the content couldn't be anywhere as good as the cover. And then I was able to read and review it, and I'm worried that the next book won't be anywhere near the AWESOME THAT THIS BOOK HOLDS.
Mariko is headed out to her betrothed when her and her entourage are ambushed. She narrowly escapes and runs into those she holds responsible. The Black Clan. Mariko sets out to exact justice on them dressed as a boy in peasant clothes. But as she gets to know more about them, it seems she gotten herself into more trouble than she bargained for."Control is an illusion.Expectations will not rule my days."pg. 9
I LOVED Mariko. I wanted to add that as my review, but I didn't think that would be enough and wouldn't give you all a real look into the book lol But seriously, I loved her. She was super strong, resilient, and so smart. She was EVERYTHING a warrior was supposed to be. I also loved the other characters and loved uncovering all their secrets. And trust me, this story was covered with them."Bloodlust. A hunger nothing but slaughter could slake."pg. 73
I also really loved how dark Ahdieh went for this one. There were actual war scenes and fighting and samurais and OMG. I mean her first series was dark too (I mean 1,001 nights lol) But this one just seemed MORE and I really liked that change from her."Sometimes we must fall forward to keep moving."pg. 74
Then there was the plot. This is where my only complaint was. It felt kind of slow. I felt like it was a bit of a set up book (and when you get to the end, you will definitely understand why). But I chalked it up to being a duology, so it WAS a set up book in theory. But then there was the ending, and it made up for it. So much so, that I found myself still flipping pages trying to find the rest of the book because there just had to be MORE you know? (Also, I know I was in love with this book because normally I HATE cliffhangers, but this one was so twisted I LOVED it lol) I also loved the Japanese folklore that was found in this. Like the jubokko was super creepy, but I enjoyed learning about it so much I did further research on it. I wanted to find the folklore containing it and read more about it."A fool's errand often resulted in a fool's fate."pg. 267
In short, this book was everything I wanted and more and I can't wait to get the next book in my hands. At this point, Ahdieh is quickly turning into one of those authors that I will buy anything from, no matter what its about."You are first and foremost a person. A reckless, foolish person, but a person nonetheless."pg. 290
Overall, I give this