Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist #1)


Flame in the Mist // VBC ReviewFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
Renee Ahdieh
Published: May 16, 2017 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased 

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Mariko is the only daughter of a Samurai with upward-mobility plans. As such, she has been betrothed to the younger brother of the Emperor against her will—a man she has never met, and has no desire to. But on the way to the palace, her caravan is set upon by a group of men whose main goal appears to be to kill Mariko. She escapes, though just barely, and makes a rash decision that will forever change her. While she tries to find out why someone wanted her dead, several other characters are setting their own plans in motion—not all of them beneficial for Mariko, her family, or even the country.

Mariko is an interesting character—she’s led an extremely sheltered life, but has an inquisitive and scientific mind. That leaves her a bit of a puzzle, as her actions—particularly toward the beginning—don’t always seem to fit those of a very sheltered young lady. However, as the book moves along, things begin to fall more in line with where she’s at in that moment, and she certainly grows as a character. The other characters are interesting, those in the Black Clan particularly.

The setting is medieval Japan, or near enough. Ahdieh does a good job realizing the mannerisms, the customs, and the language to actually help immerse the reader. There can be a fine line between not enough detail and too much, especially when the setting is related to a long-ago, real-life place but Flame in the Mist walks the fine line well. I’ve always been intrigued by historical novels, and this one is no different. The bits of magic that permeate the story are just enough to emphasize the history rather than detract, and are fascinating in their own right—particularly the magic related to the character of Okami.

The book does go back and forth between two different perspectives, that of Mariko, as well as her brother. I often struggle with multiple perspectives in books, but this one was not an issue for me—possibly because it is just the two, and they are different enough in voice to make the transition fairly smooth. And honestly, even had I struggled a bit, I think it would have smoothed out as the story continued.

The huge downside, for me, was the abrupt ending. I’m really not a fan of cliffhangers, and this one definitely is. There is very little resolution on much of anything, before a huge shocker and then…done. It was frustrating in the extreme. The only saving grace here is that I enjoyed the story and the characters enough that I still want to find out what happens.

I read somewhere that Flame in the Mist is set to be the first of a duology, which I sort of like. So many books are built as trilogies these days, and the constant waiting can get tiresome. Knowing that there is just one more book coming out certainly makes it easier to recommend this book. However, I would recommend it anyway—it’s a quick read, perfect for summer, and interesting overall.

Sexual content: none

2 Responses to “Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist #1)”

  1. Tais S says:

    The cover is certainly awesome!

  2. Kathy valentine says:

    Love this cover!!! Great review!!

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