Title: Flame in the Mist
Written by Renee Ahdieh
Read by Nancy Wu
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Published by Listening Library, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
Source: Los Angeles Public Library
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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.
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I have to be very honest with you. I was extremely excited when I heard about this book. Supposedly, it has similar themes to Mulan in that our heroine dresses up as a boy.
When I finally got around to reading it….uhmm I was in a for a slight let down. It’s not what I expected at all. I thought there would be more action but instead, I got a lot of Mariko’s internal musings. Again, it was okay but the story didn’t blow me away.
In fact, the middle was a snooze. Unfortunately.
Fortunately, there were things that intrigued me. Like Kenshin and Amaya (not sure about the spelling since I listened to the audio), Ranmaru, and Okami! However, the heroine, Mariko was just too bland for me! Gaaah! Sure she was a little bit kick-ass, but it wasn’t enough fo me to actually enjoy the book as much as I wanted to.
Oh don’t get me wrong, Ahdieh writes amazingly. Only, this didn’t live up to my expectations.
This ISN’T a Mulan retelling!
I have read almost everywhere, prior to the release of Flame in the Mist that this was a Mulan retelling. Not only is it not a Mulan retelling, it didn’t even have the excitement that I expected to enjoy. Also, I kept thinking of the movie 47 Ronin and Memoirs of a Geisha.
The romance wasn’t that much, too! Other than the behind closed doors sex scene, there were no sparks between Mariko and Okami! In fact, I wanted to read more about Kenshin and Amaya (?) and their forbidden romance!
Despite my initial let down, I still enjoyed Flame in the Mist. The ending alone was an amazing teaser of what would happen in the next and final book!
Also, this is my first Renee Ahdieh book. I know I haven’t read her The Wrath and the Dawn duology and I think I should.
One good thing about Flame in the Mist is that I listened to the audiobook. Nancy Wu is a fantastic narrator! I liked that she didn’t really use a very pronounced accent for this book because her reading was perfect. Pacing and tone were perfect and did not distract me from following the story.
Have you read The Wrath and the Dawn? What do you think? Should I add it to my TBR pile?