Leah Reviews Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Posted May 25, 2017 by Leah in Reviews / 4 Comments

Leah Reviews Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)


by Renée Ahdieh
Pages: 368
Published on May 16th 2017
by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Also by this author: The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)

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 Throne of Glass.
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 Black Clan and track 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.

3.5 Stars

Flame In The Mist was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. I was hesitant to read Renee Ahdieh’s debut, The Wrath and the Dawn because I thought it was a Stockholm Syndrome love story. After seeing the buzz about it and a co-worker telling me it was not what I was expecting, I finally read it. My past self was such a fool, because I loved that book something fierce! And I love Flame In The Mist too… just not as much as I thought I would.

This is not a Mulan retelling. The pre-publication buzz was toting this as Mulan in Japan (which is inaccurate), but the main things Flame in the Mist and Mulan have in common are a girl disguising herself as a boy and the girl finding family besides blood relations. This novel is more of a loving nod to Mulan that creates its own unique mythos.

Renee Ahdieh creates a beautifully deceptive world where the lines between honor and desire blur. From the prologue which introduces, not only our main character, but a horrific event that motivates another character, all the pieces of a grand game are laid out for everyone in the story. The way it all falls into place is surprising, and just when you think the unexpected can’t happen, the unexpected happens again.

It can be tricky to encourage strength in girls and women, especially in a historical setting, but Renee Ahdieh handles it expertly within the setting’s parameters. Seeing Mariko transform from a well-off, sheltered girl to one who realizes she is more than what others expect of her because of her gender is so rewarding. She makes no apologies for her life, but she’s not going to let it stop her from doing the right thing later on. Through her stay with the Black Clan, she realizes the possibilities ahead for her.

It’s no secret that slow burn, hate-that-turns-to-love is my favorite. Okami, the Black Clan’s second in command, gives off a neutral air most of the time until Mariko starts getting under his skin. We slowly get to know him–he’s observant, loyal, skilled in fighting, and, as is turns out, fighting for a cause. Their attraction sizzles and electrifies and had me swooning as those disdainful looks they gave each other turned to warm glances. When Mariko’s disturbed when she realizes she’s always searching for Okami among the Black Clan’s ranks, I was celebrating. Their first kiss had me close to spontaneously combusting. This hate-to-love romance is perfection.

And yet I had some critiques.

Some of the writing choices are distracting. There are a lot of sentence fragments; style is one thing, but the way the sentence fragments are used plucked me right out of the plot. I wondered why they were used so frequently.

While Flame in the Mist presents different players in an elaborate game, some of the character motivations, while intriguing, were not as well crafted as they could have been. More time could have been given to these subplots since they tie all together by the end. There are also a lot of unanswered questions whose answers are eluded to be given in the second book (it literally says “that was a story for another time” in regards to one of the characters). I see the sequel bait, and I’m definitely biting at the next book. There’s more hate-to-love romance, after all.

Leah

About Renée Ahdieh

Thanks so much for checking out my site! I had a hard time writing a serious bio in the third person, so here’s a little blurb about me, followed by some more nonsense meant to take up room and trick you into believing I’m important:
I live in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with my husband Victor and our dog Mushu. My YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, is available wherever books are sold. In my spare time, I like to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of my character

Leah

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4 responses to “Leah Reviews Flame In the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

    • Leah

      I was wondering if it was just me who noticed all the sentence fragments. 😀 I’m glad I’m not alone.

      Hope you enjoy Flame in the Mist!

  1. So I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ahdieh’s debut, but I’ve been curious about this one because of the setting. I did hear that all that Mulan retelling buzz was all fake, but it’s good to know it beforehand. I’m excited for that romance though. It sounds so swoony, and I’m always up for a good swoony story. 🙂
    Lovely review!

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