Here is my review for a new release: Flame in the Mist comes out tomorrow!
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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.
- interesting characters with great personalities
- way too slow and repetitive
- a bit confusing, sometimes
I wasn’t too keen on The Wrath and the Dawn (as you can read here) but I was willing to give Ahdieh another chance. And, to be totally honest with you, I’m still not sure what I think of her books. It’s not that I disliked this one, I just didn’t love it either. The thing that threw me the most from it was how slow it was. Like, damn! it was so.damn.slow. It has a total of three action scenes, max. Considering the whole samurai plot, I was expecting a bit more excitement and less talking. And there was so much talking! So much saying the same thing in a different way. I wasn’t too much into it. But, while reading, I was totally interested in the mood and the characters. I loved the feudal Japan setting. It was beautiful to picture in my mind. Can’t really speak on the accuracy of the portrait but it didn’t feel caricatured or anything. Not sure if the kinda Mulan retelling made me see a bit of chinese influence in it, too. Character speaking, the protagonist, specially, was too good. She was so sassy and fierce! I loved her. But some of the other characters were mostly forgettable. Their presence wasn’t that relevant and at times I wasn’t too sure who they were. I wasn’t that into the romance aspect of this book, either, but that’s mainly because I dislike the haters to lovers trope. I think they would have been better off as friends with some tough love. Also not sure what I thought about the fantasy elements, they weren’t totally there always and it was all so vague. Maybe it was just set up for the next books but sometimes they felt even too out of place. The things I liked kinda balanced the ones I didn’t but my opinion on this one is still a bit so-so, overall. I liked the book while I was reading but when I think of it, there’s just many aspect I wasn’t totally convinced about. Still, I think it’s definitely worth reading.
As I said in the beginning of this post, Flame in the Mist comes out tomorrow! Be sure to pick it.
See you soon,