So, let’s talk some more NA (New Adult) books and Renee Ahdieh~ :0)
This book follows the story of Hattori Mariko, who is the daughter of a Samurai and loosely follows a Mulan like path. (I say LOOSELY because it is very loose.) I would not tell someone going into this to expect Mulan at all. First, this is Japan (not China) – second, uh yeah – this is a very complex intrigue type layout and not so much an easy Disney villain, one problem type feel. It does have the ‘I’m going to dress as a man’ theme when she goes into the world and The Black Clan.
Flame in the Mist is also just book one and book two is not out yet. The wait struggle is real folks…… As someone that is fairly reluctant to start a series that isn’t finished: Book two in this series, Smoke in the Sun, is not projected till July 2018. (breathes deep for patience)
I was hooked from the onset of Flame in the Mist, every chapter was well crafted and fully engaging. Renee Ahdieh did an excellent job changing perspectives and also developing all the characters evenly, with (of course) most the focus on the lead – Mariko. The book actually reads kind of like watching a good anime. For those of you not fond of anime, I mean in the sense that the beginning is well paced, followed by action, and continues with solid pacing. At no point was I bored. Part one I can see as being a tad slower with all the initial introduction and building, but that feeling doesn’t last long.
The Feudal Japanese culture in this book is also well presented along with the more secretive story aspects. Let’s just say some trees are not all created equal in the forest…. and they are terrifying. #nightmarefuel haha Honestly, some scenes showed why this book would be considered more NA (New Adult) than YA (young adult). There is blood, mixed with some romance, and mixed with intense court intrigue. Which all makes for an amazing setting and world.
Characters I hate? None so far. As I mentioned previously, the character development was done extremely well, I’m hard pressed to find issue with any of them. I mean, sure I hate SOME but I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to at this stage. #nospoils haha
Talk about strong female leads~ Mariko is fantastic!! I love her – however, like most leads I could shake her at points when it comes to her decision making. She’s basically every over analytical, bit-off-more-than-she-can-chew, high strung, maturing woman. Her brother, Kenshin, is an interesting mesh of duty and care for his sister. He’s had a more distanced upbringing with regards to close family and he has a bit of a rough ride in this book. He strikes me as strangely gullible? Which I didn’t expect when first meeting his character.
There is romance in the book however it’s not the prevailing theme which was nice. A lot of NA/YA books tend to incorporate lots of romance as a sort of filler into the story and that’s not the case here. When romance is shown, it’s always to build and link to other plot items. I will say Mariko’s love interest is drool worthy and brooding sexiness. I’ll stop there so you have to read the book for me haha
The Black Clan reminds me of a grown up Lost Boys team of awesome. I’m especially fond of their leader and the cook. Then again I may be bias, cuz food is amazing. That and he reminds me of a badass hufflepuff…. my fandoms collide with him haha.
- Overall Rating: 4 Stars
- Plot: 5 Stars
- Character Development: 4 Stars
- Dialogue: 3.5 Stars
- Writing: 4 Stars
I would recommend this series to those that enjoy anime, enjoy fantasy, or enjoy complex intrigue.
A quick word of warning though – I do get upset when books end with a cliff hanger and this one definitely did in my opinion. If you’re okay with a wait after a cliff, go all in my friend~ 🙂