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.Goodreads
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I read The Wrath and the Dawn years ago and loved it. So, of course, at the time, I bought all of the Renee Ahdieh books I could. I purchased Flame in the Mist well over a year ago, and it has sat on my shelf ever since.
Well, I finally read it, and I very much enjoyed it. Admittedly, it took me a little bit of time to get into it, but I enjoyed it once I did. Flame in the Mist is a loosely based Mulan retelling. I love Mulan, so it isn’t a huge surprise that I would like this. Though this book has some action, it is more about the characters. Mariko is very complicated. I love that she is intelligent and curious and also judged harshly by so many for that. All of the members o the Black Clan are interesting, but Okami is by far the most interesting of them. He is such an enigma, and I loved seeing his character develop.
The story was entertaining; I liked seeing Mariko infiltrate the Black Clan and befriend them. There was enough mystery to keep me engaged. I also liked that it was told in the third person so that you know what Kenshin was up to and had a little more background information.
I enjoyed this book, and hopefully, I won’t wait too long to read the second book.