Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Flame in the Mist series
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
“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 Black Clan and track 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.”
I got this book through the Amazon Vine program to review. This was a very well done YA fantasy book set in Feudal Japan. I can tell a lot of research and time went into creating the setting.
The book is well written and overall I enjoyed the characters and the setting. The story is a fairly typical power struggle type of story between factions. Entwined within this is the more personable story about a lord’s daughter who decides to join the very men who tried to kill her by disguising herself a man in order to learn the purpose behind the attack on her.
While I thought everything about this book was well done for some reason it didn’t really grab me and suck me in like some fantasy stories. I wasn’t ever really dying to know what happened next. I just kind of read it and thought “Huh, well that was pretty good.”
Overall this was a well done book that I enjoyed reading. I would recommend to those who enjoy YA fantasy set in an Asian setting. While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t absolutely love it so right now I am unsure whether or not I will continue the series.