An intoxicating and action-packed new saga of love, betrayal, and honor, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh is a worthy follow-up to the author’s best-selling The Wrath & the Dawn duology set in a world inspired by feudal Japan.
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.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book going into it – but I was quickly seduced by Mariko’s strong-willed and quick-thinking personality. Her fiery temper and fierce determination made her a formidable heroine, and her innocence and shortcomings made her relatable and endearing. I loved this girl, and eagerly followed along on her journey towards revenge and the truth.
But she was not the only captivating part of this story. So, too, are the Black Clan warriors she joins up with. And her lovelorn brother, who will do whatever it takes to find and protect his sister. And the questionable figures meeting in shadows and plotting behind the scenes, so you’re not quite sure who is good and who is evil, and who is up to what.
Flame in the Mist is filled with riddles and mysteries, and though some come to light by the book’s end – Ahdieh leaves plenty still to tease and tantalize while you wait for the next installment in this breathtaking saga.
And of course there is romance, as only Renee Ahdieh can write it – dangerous and forbidden and completely enthralling.
This book will sweep you away. Look for Flame in the Mist in stores May 16th.