21 November 2017

Flame in the Mist // I Enjoyed It And It Gave Me Some History Reading Urges

Flame in the Mist
Published: 16th May 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
My Rating:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan.

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she's not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden - the emperor's son - Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued... or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan's hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that 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 in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

I really loved Ahdieh’s last book duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, so when I heard she was writing another book I obviously added it to my TBR. I then preceded to wait for reviews because I was wary all the same. The second book in The Wrath and the Dawn duology left me with some doubts. It introduced one of my favourite characters but it also left me rolling my eyes at the convenience of the ending. I then saw reviews for this book. Some were good some were bad and so when my request on Netgalley got approved (after the reviews had come in) and I was even warier and a little less excited to start it. Which is why I waited so very long to start.

Did I love this book as much as Ahdieh's last one? Probably not. Did I get sucked right in all the same? Damn straight I did.

The reason I wanted to read this, beyond recognising the name of the author, was because I was interested in the history and the actual setting of this book. Also, I knew that the MC dressed as a boy and attempted to find out why she was attacked but was led to question what she knew. I cannot attest to the accuracy of the Feudal Japan setting and the accuracy in the history and cultural elements but it appeared authentic and from what little I do know it was good. I would like to do more research into Japanese history, though, as I know the shift from feudalism to a more modern era was rapid and intriguing. I felt like there was more to the story than I could appreciate from my reading so I would be interested in learning some more about all of that because my historical learning about Japan was all post WW2 really.

I will say this book wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I didn’t love everything, but it was damn enjoyable. I liked the characters. Mariko was smart and although she did suffer from thinking she was smarter than those around her and she had the blinders on when it came to her family. Yet, she grew a lot throughout the book. She wasn’t totally unwilling to recognise her flaws and although she often looked things in the wrong way she developed and I loved her for that. And the members of the Black Clan were many layered and interesting! I do wish that there was more background to the Black Clan members but I reckon that’s something that might be explored in the next book (we’ll see). The secondary characters probably needed a touch more growth and development.

I also felt like some of the story was predictable. A couple of twists at the end I didn’t see coming but then some I did. I can’t reveal what I did and didn’t expect but I did find my attention drifting at times because it felt familiar. I think this may be a problem for many a book lately. Maybe I’ve burned myself out a little with reading, I do a lot of it so I’m bound to notice familiar elements.

It was a good book and I enjoyed it and that surprised me. It doesn’t match my love for Ahdieh’s Wrath and the Dawn but I appreciated it and I hope the second book will be stronger in this series than the last one.

Have you read this book? What did you think? And do you notice that it’s harder for books to surprise you lately or is this just me?

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