Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: Putnam/Hachette Aus
Release date: 16 May 2017
Was Flame in the Mist worth the wait? Yes. Did Renée Ahdieh sweep me off my feet again? Oh. My. God. Yes. The book is the setting stone to a new series and centres on Mariko who is almost killed on her way to her royal betrothed. She is determined to find her assassins and get some answers from them. She suspects the notorious Black Clan and infiltrates their ranks under disguise. But are they really the ones who targeted her?
The book has a slow burning plot and despite that and getting hooked midway, I enjoyed it (I definitely didn’t see that twist at the end coming). The main characters are well developed. Mariko is not another Mulan. She has her own strength, personality and flaws. Although I’m over the mysterious, brooding love interest, I love Okami but I don’t ship Mariko and him. I felt their romance was…flat. There’s definitely tension and banter, but from the scene where they first kiss and getting hot and heavy and onwards, they didn’t make sense as a couple.
I wish the minor but interesting characters like Yumi and Genmei had more scenes. As for the use of Japanese culture, it didn’t feel like just an “exotic” backdrop. Much respect and care were given into incorporating it into the story, but I also felt that it wasn’t anything new. I would love the culture to be explored further than the typical things we see/read – hopefully in the next book. Of course this is just my opinion and I’m not Japanese, so I might have missed something. The only thing that bothered me was Japanese words even honorifics being italicised.
I want to know what readers who are Japanese or members of the Japanese diaspora thought of the book. If you’re Japanese, please let me know your thoughts below 🙂
There’s so many things to say about this book, but I’m struggling to write them out [laughs], so here are some gifs to encompass my thoughts and feelings:
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (definitely recommend)