Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published: May 2017
Summary: Mariko is the daughter of a famed samurai who now is a feudal lord with ambitious plans. These ambitious plans include wedding Mariko to the oldest son of the Emperor. On her way to her betrothed, her caravan is ambushed by a group with a clear mission to assassinate her. Using her cunning, she manages to escape as the lone survivor. She vows to do whatever it takes to find out why the Black Clan was sent to kill her, including joining them and infiltrating their ranks.
Why I Am Recommending: This exciting and gritty Mulan retelling wasn’t love at first sight for me, but once I got past the first 100 pages, I couldn’t put it down. I read this book over the course of 7 days, the first 5 devoted to 100 pages and the final 2 being the point of obsession. The story was addicting and Ahdieh’s writing was lush and colorful, just as it was with The Wrath and the Dawn. I have come to count on Ahdieh’s excellent writing and think she just might be an automatic buy author for me. Mariko is a strong and clever character who manages to go toe to toe with the macho warriors she encounters in the Black Clan. This ability to give as good as she gets creates a palpable tension that feels natural as it turns to love. The setting of this book is in Japan, or at least somewhere like Japan, which is such a wonderful part of the story and acts almost like a character. I loved all of the food and clothing references that were drenched in the Japanese tradition, but I didn’t always get the full picture of what they exactly entailed. When I got to the end of the book, I flipped through the remaining pages and found there was a glossary of terms. I wish I had realized that while I was reading, so a tip for you if you plan to read this book. The book ends on a serious cliffhanger and now I am going to have to sit by and wait with bated breath for the sequel due out in May 2018. In the meantime, I just might have to dust off my Mulan VHS, because I am seriously craving that great movie. If you are feeling the same way, here is a link to a delightful little diddy from the classic movie–you’re welcome!