With Lysette on vacation, I decided to move onto the second book on my TBR. Flame In The Mist by Reneé Ahdieh was one I had been looking forward to. It was at first seen as a Mulan retelling but has since been recanted. As my first dive into fantasy, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I grew to love this book.
I’m going to try to keep this review spoiler-free. If not, then I apologize so there might be spoilers depending on what you consider spoilers. I’ll try not to discuss plot points or give away any major details.
Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew a little bit about it from book tube and reading other reviews. At first, I couldn’t really get into the story. It’s a pretty slow-paced book so it takes a while to get into it. Eventually, it does start to speed up and become a little bit more action-packed. Just be wary of that when you first start it.
One thing that took me a while was trying to figure out who all the characters were. The sheer amount of characters was crazy. There were so many with such similar names and I still couldn’t keep them all straight. I have a good handle on the “main” characters, but I’m still not really sure.
There are a few Japanese words in there, but there’s actually a little glossary in the back of the book. Sadly, a fact I learned after I finished reading the book. You can actually figure out some of the words using context clues so it’s not too bad.
Those were a few nitpicks I had about the book, but now let’s talk about what I liked about the book. I love the main character, Mariko. She was a strong female character in the same vein as Mulan and wants to be seen as more than someone’s bride. She’s a complicated character, but by the end of the book, you’ll love her. She makes some questionable choices, but you still root for her throughout.
I loved the members of the Black Clan. Sure, they’re bad guys but who doesn’t love a good villain? Paired with Mariko, they’re such a wonderful cast of characters and show such growth throughout the novel. The ending completely caught me by surprise and I loved seeing the two worlds collide.
This book is full of action. Despite being slow-paced, there’s a lot of action to keep you entertained. In the first chapter alone, a lot of crazy stuff happens and you want to keep reading to find out what happens. There’s also a lot of bloodshed if you’re not really into hearing about people being killed so just a warning.
Just a few key things before I get into my favorite part. There were a lot of nods to Japanese culture which I loved. Some subtle references to Mulan that will make you smile if you catch them. There were a ton of crazy moments that will have your mouth wide open so be prepared. Another thing I want to mention is this book does end on a cliffhanger because it’s the first in a series so that really sucks especially where it ended.
What I loved most was Ahdieh’s writing and how she talked about women and being a woman. She has such a way with words and a gorgeous writing style. She writes so eloquently and it just makes my heart so happy. I saw so many lines that I would love to use as quotes and she just blew me away honestly.
The way she talked about women though was brilliant. In the last few chapters especially, I loved what Ahdieh wrote and how she portrayed Yumi. It was extremely refreshing and something I appreciated as I read. As a first-time Ahdieh reader, I can see I will be picking up another one of her books soon.
I give Flame In the Mist 4.5 out of 5 stars.