Published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton | Flame in the Mist #1 | 3 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
To begin with, I thought that the idea of this book was awesome. I’ve seen some comparisons to Mulan floating around, but this book is nothing like Mulan apart from the fact that the main character dresses up as a boy, and that’s the part I liked the most about Flame in the Mist. Mariko took it into her own hands to find the people who were trying to kill her, which I liked.
However, there were a few things that definitely pulled the rating down. Firstly, the language was slightly annoying at times. Some parts, and even entire chapters, would consist entirely of very short sentences, which grated on my nerves quite a lot. I can see the point in trying to make it seem more like a legend or separate from the main story, but it was almost difficult to read after a while.
Also, the romance came from out of nowhere. I wouldn’t have minded the romance if it had had more build-up, but as it was, it didn’t. It would have been great if we had gotten something more beforehand.
The last thing that disappointed me doesn’t actually have to do with the book per se, but I didn’t realise until perhaps two thirds of the way into the book that it’s the first part of a series. I was convinced that it was a standalone novel. When I realised that it wasn’t and that I wouldn’t find out the end of the story in this particular novel, I was just so disappointed. I’m not interested enough in the story to actually pick up another book in the series, so finding out that Flame in the Mist isn’t a standalone drew the rating down quite a lot. As I said, it doesn’t have to do with the book as such, but still.
This turned into quite a long review ^.^’ . Hope y’all enjoyed it 🙂 .