Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Release Day Review: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1) by Renée Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1) 
Author: Renée Ahdieh 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons 
Source: Publisher 
Published: May 16th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: 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. 

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“Be as swift as the wind. 
As silent as the forest. 
As fierce as the fire. 
As unshakable as the mountain.” 

I fell hard for Renée Adhieh’s stunning writing while reading her fantastic duology, The Wrath and the Dawn. Those books captured my heart, and I had no doubt that Flame in the Mist would do the same. Once again I was pulled in quickly by the power of her writing. This author has a way of threading words together and constructing sentences that ensures you aren’t just reading about a character… you are the character. I saw, heard, and felt whatever Mariko did; and that’s what makes this author’s books a reading experience.

Taking place in feudal Japan, Flame in the Mist is the story of Mariko and her twin brother Kenshin. They are the children of an important samurai, but they have been raised in very different ways. While Kenshin has been trained to be a fierce warrior, Mariko has been left out of all the things she most desires to learn about – all because she is a girl. But Mariko is a brilliant thinker and inventor; and although she has learned to keep her predilections to herself, she cannot stop dreaming of a different future. When her litter is attacked on the way to her arranged marriage, Mariko barely escapes the almost certain death that awaited her. As she struggles her way through the haunted forest, she formulates a plan and disguises herself as a boy in an attempt to gain the trust of the people she believes murdered her convoy and sought to take her life as well. From within, she will destroy the Black Clan and have her revenge. But never did she think she would find herself somewhere where her talents for inventing and quick thinking would be so appreciated. And what’s more shocking is that the Black Clan may not be who they are rumored to be. But the more answers Mariko finds, the more questions she has. And when her twin sets out to rescue her from the beasts he believes took her, will the sister he finds be the sister he remembers?

I had heard this was a retelling of Mulan; but it’s more of a reimagining, or a story inspired by Mulan. While there are a couple of similarities, I wouldn’t want anyone going into this thinking that it was a retelling and being disappointed. This is a very different story but one that is wonderful in its own right.

Bursting with female empowerment, Flame in the Mist is a thrilling tale intertwined with mystery and certain magic that is merely hinted at but promises much more to come. This story contains a strong and clever heroine, and it is blended with a romance that is slow burning and impeccable.

“There is such strength in being a woman. But it is a strength you must choose for yourself. 
No one can choose it for you. We can bend the wind to our ear if we would only try.” 

There are amazing characters throughout this book. I absolutely adore Mariko and her sharp mind and equally sharp tongue. The members of the Black Clan were also some of my favorites – Ranmaru, Yoshi, and Ōkami… ohhh, Ōkami *melts* They are not only intriguing but will keep you guessing. Though there were things I would have loved to see expounded on, I reminded myself that this is only book one; and I feel the author is building towards those things. With an ending and reveal that have me longing for the next book and sulking over the wait, this was a book I really did enjoy from start to finish.

Samurais, secrets, magic, friends that are foes, foes that are friends, a swoony romance, a female character that you’ll root for and aspire to be, all wrapped in an incredible setting? What are you waiting for? Beautifully written with characters that awe and inspire, Flame in the Mist is a gorgeous and essential addition to any YA fantasy lover’s library.

“The only power any man has over you is the power you give him.” 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Quotes above are taken from the ARC and are subject to change. 

© at A Belle's Tales

  

15 comments:

  1. Oh wow! I've seen this book in the list of upcoming books in Amazon and o instantly fell in love with it even without reading the sypnosis yet. It's great to know that you liked it Michele :)

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    1. It's so good! Beautiful inside and out :)

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  2. Now I have to have this one. Everyone is buzzing about it. I haven't read anything in Japan for a long time. I loved all the quotes you shared. I am going to see if I can get this. Thanks, lovely for adding to my pile,

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    1. You're going to love the setting, Heidi. This makes me so happy! <3

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  3. I'm sold! Especially with the Mulan inspiration because Mulan is a badass and that movie is awesome. Also that cover is purdyyyyyy. Great review wifey pants!

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    1. You're going to love Mariko, and we're going to flail over Okami. Thanks, Wifey! <3

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  4. It's nice that the authors writing is so immersive! And what an awesome cover. This one sounds really good, with a feudal Japan setting and I like the sound of the "bad" clan perhaps being more than they seem. And I haven't seen Mulan so I'll be going in fresh!

    Nice review!

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    1. Thank you, Greg! Oh, I think it will be even better if you haven't seen Mulan; that way, there'll be no comparisons. But after you read this? Definitely going to need you to watch Mulan. Lol.

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  5. Dang it! Okay, I want to read this, but I'm mad at myself. Her other duology were daily deals on Amazon and I didn't buy them! Sigh ... regrets.

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    1. Honestly the Wrath and the Dawn duology is still my favorite, and I'd love for you to read those, too. I can loan them to you; just let me know ;) But you will love the girl power in this book, so I hope you'll grab this one, too!

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  6. Man...you just added a new book to my list. Truth be told it was on my radar..but yeah SOLD.

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    1. YES! Kim, I know you are going to love and appreciate this story. I can't wait for you to read it! :)

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  7. never read her books, but own 2 of them now. I am excited about this one and your lovely review of it is making me even more excited especially for this authors writing

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    1. Oh, Lily, I can't wait for you to read this author's work! She writes so beautifully, and her characters are so easy to root for. I'm so excited for your thoughts on these! Thank you :)

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  8. Oh, I KNEW this was going to be an AWESOME book!! I've been waiting for it for quite some time now!! And I LOVED reading your WONDERFUL, highly insightful review, Michele!! You have given us, your blog readers, a very comprehensive view of this novel -- its characters, the action that takes place, and all without too many spoilers! Well, this is why I always enjoy your reviews! They are so informative and well-written! (I feel the very same way about Mckenzie's, too. Well, she's a chip off the young block, lol.)

    Would you believe I own Ahdieh's duology, and have NOT read it as yet? Lol. Well, I'll make every effort to do so now!!

    Thanks for the OUTSTANDING review!! SMOOSHY HUGS TO YOU & MCKENZIE!! LOVE YOU GUYS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

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