From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce.
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.
Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.27 stars)
My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5 stars)
I received this e-galley in return for an honest review.
I thoroughly reading this book, bursting out with laughter on more than one occassion! This book is meant to be a retelling of Mulan, but where I could see the links, I thought it was rather different in terms of Mariko’s social position and back story.
This book focuses on Mariko, who was travelling to visit her future husband, when her travelling party was attacked and murdered. Mariko learns who she thinks tried to kill her, and sets about infiltrating their group by disguising herself as a man. She learns how to fend for herself, taught by those she intends to seek her revenge on. However, she soon starts to realise that the failed murder attempt could be down to someone else.
I loved all the characters in this book (well, ok, not all of them, but most of them).
Mariko –> I loved her quick ability to adapt to being a man, and how she knew that it was the only way she would survive. She doesn’t let her social position of her being a woman affect what she does. She is soon to realise that society is not what it appears at first, and is willing to change it to make it more equal. I am looking forward to reading more about her.
Okami –> He is a complete ass and I will fight anyone who disagrees that he is bisexual. We need more bisexual characters in books. I think he is an interesting character with a unique back-story, and he needs protecting, my pure bby<3
Ranmaru –> I love him so much. I think his bravery and protectiveness of those in his clan, is something to be admired. Even when he knew that Mariko wasn’t really a boy, he still accepted her as one of his clan members. He has a soft spot in my heart.
Yoshi –> I loved how he was the first one to welcome Mariko properly, when she first appeared as a boy, and I like how he didn’t want her to assume that cooking was the job for a female. He didn’t let his prostetic leg harbour his day to day life, showing that amputees can live a normal life.
I would have loved to read more into the magical side of the book, as I felt it was different than other books I have previously read. I am interesting to see where the story goes, especially as I want to continue my journey with these characters.
You can find this book on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31393403-flame-in-the-mist
If you buy these books from Amazon using the link below, The Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary will receive a donation. It does not cost you.