THIS BOOK. THIS. BOOK.
Okay, Jane, take a deeeeep breath and calm down.
*takes a deep breath*
Okay. Okay. Let me start over.
This book is just proof of the genius that is Renée Ahdieh. After reading both The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger, (reviews coming soon!) I was reaaaalllly excited to get my hands on Flame in the Mist. I was not disappointed. The synopsis had captured my attention immediately and after stumbling across it in the bookstore, I bought it without hesitation. This is actually a huge deal because I rarely buy books and prefer to save money. Renée's writing style is now officially one of my favorites and I seriously cannot wait for the second book. I actually started reading this book at a Seven-Eleven in Singapore, haha. What's better than a good book and Ben and Jerry's? Nothing. That's what.
Mariko, the main character, is a character I deeply admire. Her strength, bravery, and determination to get through her predicament (to say it lightly,) was my favorite part of the book. She was clever and smart, and a bit naive but in a good way. She was eager to learn but had her flaws which I appreciated. I was happy to see both sides of the situation not only through Mariko, but with her twin brother, Kenshin. It gave you the ability to see what goes on in the Black Clan, their motives, as well as the Emperor's, his sons', and Kenshin's + his family's motives.
In this Mulan retelling, Mariko was in the middle of her journey to Inako, where she will marry the emperor's son, when her convoy was attacked and she left for dead by the Black Clan. Determined to live by her own rules and seek revenge, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan. There, for once in her life, Mariko is appreciated and her skills are put to use. This leads her to question where her loyalties lie, what her purpose is, and where she belongs. Did I mention she's disguised as a boy?
While in the Black Clan, Mariko forms friendships with the other members. I especially loved her relationship with Yoshi, the old cook. Yoshi was my favorite character in this book because he did not judge Mariko, and took her in without hesitation.
I had some problems with Kenshin but I understood where he came from, since he is trying to prove his sister isn't dead and all. Ōkami was a great character, and I hope we see more about his backstory in the second book. Ranmaru is a special character as well, and I have a feeling he'll be a huge part in the second book.
This book is seriously amazing. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.