Flame in the Mist

Renée Ahdieh. Putnam, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-17163-5
Ahdieh delivers an elaborate fantasy set in feudal Japan, where a resilient young woman defies class conventions and gender roles in a quest for vengeance and autonomy. At 17, Mariko, the perceptive and intellectual daughter of a notable samurai, has been promised to the son of the emperor’s favorite consort. While en route to meet her betrothed, she narrowly survives an assassination attempt, which fuels her determination to unmask those responsible. Disguised as a boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan, soon recognizing that its reclusive members are much more than thieves and murderers. Occasional chapters are told from the perspective of Mariko’s twin brother, Kenshin, a samurai known as the Dragon of Kai, adding complexity to Mariko’s actions and revelations. Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn) is immensely skilled at crafting vibrant settings inhabited by sympathetic characters with rich pasts, and she also treats readers to a slow-burning romance that does not impede Mariko’s independence or goals, illustrating the power of a well-matched pairing. While the final pages provide some closure, readers will enthusiastically anticipate the next installment. Ages 12–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Release date: 05/16/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-7629-9
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-14-751387-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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