Title: Flame in the Mist | Author: Renée Ahdieh | Edition: Hardcover | Language: English
Rating: 4 out of 5
17-year-old Mariko is being sent to the imperial Palace to meet her betrothed when her convoy is attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who have been hired to kill her and as the lone survivor Mariko decides to find out why she was attacked and so she disguises herself as a peasant boy and infiltrates the gang where she falls in love and finds out a lot not only about herself but her family and she begins to question everything she has ever known.
The writing for this book was well written, the books concept itself was very intriguing and it uses Japanese terminology and it is rich with Japanese culture which is a refreshing change of scenery, it allows for readers to experience a new culture.
Mariko’s plan to infiltrate the Black Clan and gain their trust hits a few obstacles with the main one being Okami the ‘Wolf’ who doesn’t trust Mariko or even like her. Whilst with the Black Clan Mariko learns they’re not the bad guys she believed them to be. Whilst all this is happening we get to see Kenshin’s Point of view. Kenshin is Mariko’s twin brother and a super badass Samurai Warrior (Also known as the Dragon of Kai) who is determined to prove his sister is still alive and wants to bring her home and find the people responsible for her attack.
Although this book has been hyped as a Mulan retelling I don’t think it’s a Mulan retelling at all in fact the only similarities between Mulan and Flame in the Mist would be the fact that Mariko cuts her Hair and disguises herself as a boy. Also, Mulan was set in China and Flame in the Mist is set in a Japanese background. The attack on her carriage is similar of the attack in Mulan 2 other than that the book is unique it has its own story. I would say its Mulan inspired but not a retelling.
The only scene similar in Mulan and Flame in the Mist:
I enjoyed all the characters in the book, even those that were side characters, especially anyone in the Black Clan was fun to read about.
Mariko – I liked Mariko’s character she wasn’t perfect but I liked how smart she was but what I liked even more was her realising she wasn’t the smartest person all the time, whereas in the beginning she was quite obnoxious but over the course of the books she realised her flaws and that made her more humane. I love that she was smart but wasn’t physically strong, with Mariko’s upbringing she never had training like her brother so she wouldn’t do too well in a fight or surviving, I enjoyed the fact that she was learning and her character was developing these skills instead of inheriting them.
Kenshin – I loved the fact that Kenshin was so caring and devoted to his sister it showed he truly loved her and you could always see his softer side when he was with Amaya, however I loved the fact that he had this alter-ego the dragon of Kai who was a fierce and cruel Warrior.
Okami- is one of my favourites and I loved the silent, mysterious lone wolf thing he had going on despite being in a Clan. The secrets he was hiding were quite surprising and I loved his character’s development throughout the book.
The romance in the book was for most of the book wasn’t there the book was action packed and a lot of bloodshed and mayhem but there were some romantic scenes that did appear and they were exactly what I and the book needed. The romantic scenes weren’t forced in there just for the sake of it and I really liked that. I enjoyed watching Mariko and Okami’s relationship grow and to me it felt natural they had this chemistry throughout that was so enticing.
“A word of warning…” He bent closer. The scent of warm stone and wood smoke emanated form his skin.
“Don’t bare your neck to a wolf.”
The problems I had with the book was with Mariko, she made a lot of stupid mistakes and she did some stupid things, and at the beginning I found her to be obnoxious and full of herself and for all her talk of being so smart I didn’t see much of it in the beginning. She did sort of redeem herself towards the end. The other thing that I didn’t like was the Emperors sons and their storyline, I wasn’t sure how it fit in at first and then there was the storyline of the emperors mistress and the internal feud with his wife and that to me just seemed like a whole other issue.
I loved the book it wasn’t the most perfect read but it was enough to keep me intrigued and I read this in two sittings so I will say It had me hooked and I didn’t want to put it down for the most part and I cannot wait to see where the storyline goes and what becomes of the characters.