Hello happy readers! I hope you are excited for the weekend to start, I’m working this one so no big plans here just hope to get some reading in! First a quick reminder there my giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman ends tomorrow night so don’t forget to enter while you can here. Technical stuff aside I am excited to discuss my latest audiobook read, Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, the first in a new series of the same name.
I didn’t know a ton about this book going. I had been anticipating it because I enjoyed the authors other works and was ready to read more. I also LOVED the cover with the phoenix and flowers. Yes I realized they are in fact throwing stars now but at first glance I thought they were flowers, totally made it even better when I realized the truth. Anywho, we follow Mariko, daughter of a prominent samurai and raised for the purpose to marry despite her desire to be equal to her twin brother, Kenshin. She is an accomplished alchemist and is even more cunning than her brother but she is a female and thus unable to be equal. While en route to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed for the first time her convoy is attacked by the Black Clan, the dangerous bandits hired to kill her. They fail and she escapes into the woods o plot her revenge. To move around she disguises herself as a boy and works to infiltrate the Black Clan to find out who wanted her dead and why. Though once inside she never planned on enjoying her time, let alone falling for any of these bandits.
I really liked this story. I fell into it easily and was caught up in the story. I didn’t want to turn it off. I listened to the audiobook format and it was amazing. The narrator was very easy to listen to and made each of the characters sound different in both pitch and voice which is always a treat. The writing was beautiful and vivid but it kept up a fast pace and alternated POV here and there which gave more depth to the overall story.
Mariko is easy to love. She is a girl after my own heart, who doesn’t believe she should be treated as anything less than her brother just because she is a female rather than a male. Like what’s between your legs is really what makes one worthy. She is cunning and smart and determined to have control of her own life. While she is willing to bend to the wills of her family as is expected of her, she still makes her own choices alone the way. I liked that. Stubborn and hard headed for sure but I still loved it. Her desire to know what and why driving her instead of self-preservation.
We also see things from her brother, Kenshin’s, POV and see his search for his sister. He knows how she thinks and he loves her “oddness” and all which I do appreciate. But the other real stars are the Black Clan. They as a group and the individuals themselves are pretty awesome each with their own personality and attributes. Some see them as evil and others as saviors so unweaving story from fact and getting to know them as Mariko does was nice. The primary story is on the cunning moves, the mystery and intrigue of figuring out what happened and keeping secrets but it finds a way to have a little romance in there that not only fit well within the story but also really rang true and had you rooting for it. Mostly because even when she is hiding who she is, as a female and betrothed, she is more herself within the Black Clan than anywhere else.
Flame in the Mist manages to weave reality with a touch of romance and also the supernatural/magical elements into one amazing story. I loved the magical elements and I really hope we get to see more of them in the rest of the series and even mind out how they came to be. There is still so much story left to be told and with how it left off I know I need more and I would rather have it now. I highly recommend this book.
Until next time…