Flame in the Mist

Flame in the Mist

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY :, G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC ,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780399171635
Branch Call Number: TEEN AHD
Characteristics: 392 pages ; 22 cm


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Jun 29, 2018

I wanted to love this. Here's why I couldn't:
- Very light on the fantasy. Japanese folklore is rife with all things creepy, unique, and magical. But Japanese folklore plays a very minor role, at least up to the point where I stopped reading (which was at least halfway through).
- Our MC Mariko's internal monologue was tediously repetitive and offered very little to the story. I really thought I was going to be able to relate to her at first because the third-person narrator describes her as hesitating to make any moves in her life because she is always calculating. I saw myself in that line, and I'm sure plenty of other people understand that feeling, as well.
- The story itself was slow-going and overpopulated with characters. Ahdieh could have moved the plot forward at a much faster pace or could have fleshed out the characters (a smaller cast of them) to create a well-drawn, character-driven narrative. Instead, the pages are filled with descriptions of uninteresting, unoriginal actions that make for uninteresting, unoriginal characters: the seventeen-year-old boy who is a ruthless and incredibly skilled warrior; the geisha who is nobody's toy, and you can tell, supposedly, because of her body language as she plays a musical instrument (huh?); the supernatural, brooding love interest; the wise, old curmudgeon; the gang member with a sadist bent. Yada yada.
I'm going to have to rely on Studio Ghibli to give me strong characters and relationships coupled with a fascinating Japanese fantasy world.

LPL_ColtonS Jun 15, 2018

The Flame in the Mist is a compelling and engaging first book in a newer series by Renee Ahdieh. This historical fiction, mixed with magical realism, brings to life the old traditions of a warring, feudal Japan. After an attempt on her life, Mariko decides to disguise herself as a young boy and try to infiltrate the ranks of the organization who tried to kill her. Fascinating plot movements and intense action come together to tell this epic, Ninja V. Samurai story.

Apr 05, 2018

ABSOLUTELY Loved this book. The way it absorbed you was fantastic. The way they implemented names from actual historical figures in ancient Japan was great. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat and was a brilliant page turner. I'm very keen for the next installment of this book. Overall an amazing read i recommend.

Olivia_H_ Mar 20, 2018

In this story, we've got Japanese culture, mythology and magic, action, romance, AND secrets (lots of secrets) and betrayals...and don't forget the strong female protagonist!

Feb 03, 2018

LOVED the book I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it in one day! I love books and this is by far one of the best books ever!

Sep 25, 2017

This is an amazing book. It makes you cry, jump for joy, and feel the need to slap all the characters across the face, but sometimes everyone needs to feel that way. This story is always moving fast and heart wrenching at the same time! I will warn you the second book isn't out yet and that will be very... frustrating when you finish the book. It's a great read that you won't be able to put down!

Aug 25, 2017

I'll admit that I often don't read every page of a book. I read half and then skip to the final chapters. I wouldn't let myself do that with this book, though. While slow to start, this book is well-plotted with lots of twists and turns. It also bears mentioning that the hero of the story is a staunch feminist even as the heroine learns to love herself. I'll hand this readily to high school students.

Aug 16, 2017

Found it a bit hard to follow ...the names of the characters and to keep the backgrounds of each straight as the names of the two main male characters had intertwined paths and am still not sure who was which in terms of their inherited lineage. The metaphysical powers of the Black Clad gang was confusing as it was revealed in the last chapters. A little slow going especially the internal musings of the main character got too long and repetitive ie became too much "filler".

ArapahoeKelsey Aug 14, 2017

If you love samurai, Japanese culture, and twist on the classic tale, Mulan, this is the fantastic adventure series for you! Renee Ahdieh never fails to deliver! In this twisty-plot following a strong young woman fighting for her life and revenge behind enemy lines, you will be on the edge of your seat wondering if and when the Black Clan will realize who she is...and that she's not a boy!

Aug 09, 2017

What an interesting read! Haven't had one of these in a long time. The story revolves around a unique protagonist, whose character development across the duration of the book really intrigued me. She went from a daughter who was to be sold off to the Imperial Palace to, well, a full on spy in a nest of bandits. I really enjoyed the spin on how she "created" certain weapons, such as the ninja star and the smoke bomb, almost like she was the first ninja herself. I do hope there is a second book because such an ending gives little to no closure. Can't wait! 4/5 Stars
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

This book was quite enjoyable. This main character was independent and strong, and the other characters where interesting and complex. The setting of this world is feudal Japan and was described very well. I could definitely feel myself being transported into this world. There was an interesting amount of culture and I even learned some Japanese terms. As I read this story, I did find myself wondering what was going to happen next because there was a nice mix of secrets, revelations, and action. The only parts that I had problems with were the questionable actions of the main character at times, and understanding how magic worked in this world. Otherwise, I found this book was unique and set apart from other fantasy stories that I have read.
- @Lumos of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

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