Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh


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.

Renee Ahdieh kills it again.

And while I didn't like this as much as The Wrath & the Dawn, I still really liked it, and enjoyed it more than The Rose & the Dagger.

I loved all of the characters, especially Mariko and Okami. I mean, Okami...he is the ultimate brooding book boyfriend. He also has a scar diagonally through his lips, which is just like the sexiest thing in the world for some reason. I really love their slow-burn, hate-to-love romance.

I also loved the feminist undertone of the story. Mariko finds her place among this clan and she is accepted for her intelligence, and not cast aside or used as a trophy because of her gender. LOVE THAT. There were so many strong quotes about how being a woman doesn't make you lesser and how you should use your gender to find power within and I was practically fistpumping each time I read one.

I liked the magic in the story as well. It was understated, but powerful and mysterious. I hope we find out more about it in the sequel.

It took me a bit to get into the story, and I don't really know why. There wasn't any specific reason. But as soon as I was in the thick of it, I was hooked. This is definitely a book you should put on your to-read shelf. Without a doubt.

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