Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist
(Flame in the Mist #1)
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Hardcover, 393 pages, Putnam Books for Young Readers
Genres: YA, Fantasy

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

My Review

It’s been a while since I read this book, so my review is going to be a short one.

Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn duology was a lyrical and beautiful retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights. I had no idea when I picked up the first book how much I would grow to adore Ahdieh’s writing style. However, Flame in the Mist let me down a bit. Let me tell you why…

Okay, so my first reason for being let down was the magic system of the book. I’m not completely sure how it works or what the rules are for who has magic and what the magic does. That needs some explanation to help settle the world-building, which was pretty cool except for the lack of magical explanation.

The second reason has to do with the period-esque language. Each character seemed to talk in metaphors and roundabout speeches that kept me from getting to know them as human beings. I was a tad disappointed since Ahdieh’s first series was so good at creating lovely and realistic characters. Mariko is a strong female character who does remind me a lot of Mulan, but I just wanted to like her more than I did.

Other than those two problems, the story wasn’t bad. It was a good start to what I’m sure will grow to be a great series. It just needs some development in a few areas, and I fully plan on sticking around to see those areas flourish in the sequels.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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