Book Review – Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)

Today was supposed to be a review of Spectacle by Rachel Vincent, but then something happened…

Last night, I decided I was going to have an early night. I was going to read for a couple of hours and then have lights off by no later than 10pm…

23308087I ended up finally going to sleep after 3am, having devoured every page of Flame in the Mist.

I should have known better, after falling prey to Renee Ahdieh’s magic in her The Wrath and the Dawn series, but still I allowed myself to become completely ensorcelled by this wonderful story, and now I am actually regretting finishing it so quickly! …book hangovers are the worst.

Flame in the Mist is an historical fantasy set in feudal Japan, and like in The Wrath and The Dawn, Ahdieh has combined myths and legends with the ancient culture of a place not often explored in young adult fiction, and once again she has done an exceptional job in doing so.

Flame in the Mist is the first in what is bound to be a spellbinding series. Our heroine, Mariko, is on her way to the Imperial City to marry the emperor’s son when her convoy is attacked, presumably by members of the notorious group of outlaws, the Black Clan. The sole survivor, Mariko—ever curious and bold for a female of this time—decides she needs answers, and so she takes on the disguise of a boy and tracks down the Black Clan, intent on finding answers and seeking revenge.

While the whole ‘girl disguising herself as a boy’ trope has been done countless times, it is the magic, the mystery and the political intrigue, as well as the backdrop of feudal Japan, that makes this story so unique and interesting.

I also loved the characters, especially Okami. It was really from the first moment he was introduced that I was unable to put the book down. He is just such a fascinating character: surrounded by mystery and intrigue, but with a wry sense of humour and the fierceness of the most lethal warrior—total book boyfriend material!

And Mariko is absolutely the kind of heroine you just want to root for. Even from the first few pages you can tell she is unique in her world, deemed ‘odd’ by the people around her because of her thirst for knowledge and unwillingness to conform to the usual standards for women at the time. Seeing her find her place in the world amongst the Black Clan (even though she doesn’t realise this is what’s happening) is a joy to read.

As in The Wrath and the Dawn, Ahdieh’s writing is lyrical in its eloquence, her way with words merely adding to the magic of the story.

As you might be able to guess, I have given Flame in the Mist five stars, and have already marked the release date for book two, Smoke in the Sun (May 1st, 2018) in my calendar.

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The review of Spectacle is coming – I’ll have it posted either Friday or Saturday (Australian time)

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