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Publisher's Summary

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Wrath and the Dawn comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan, where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce.

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 17 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, whom she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan's secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend, Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, that will force her to question everything she's ever known.

©2017 Renée Ahdieh (P)2017 Listening Library

What listeners say about Flame in the Mist

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Left Feeling A Bit Lost...

I want to preface this review by first saying...I think the audiobook narrator did a fantastic job. I really do.

That said...this story left me feeling so lost and confused. Maybe, it's a story that is best read from a book, rather than audiobook. I wanted to love this story...but in the end I honestly felt like I was listening to it simply for the sake of completing what I started.

The beginning of the story had me completely captivated. As I flew through the first half, I found myself loving not only the carefully selected prose, but the mystery surrounding each character and plot point. But as the story unfolded...everything felt so...gray. For example...the poetic dialogue that each. and every. character uses throughout the novel becomes so over exhausted that I found myself daydreaming half the time. The characters blend together into an arc-less character unit. All except for the main character whose has that "I'm defiant, deal with it" attitude that I just can't bring myself to love. The action scenes had such a slow pace...a combination of what felt like run on sentences, and massive chunks of inner dialogue/narration. Then suddenly a character would die, and I'd have been so lost in the prose that I felt no emotion at all for the loss. Also...the characters have very little, if any, backstory. Which I believe the author is saving for book 2. In any case, I found them all to be un-relatable.

I believe my issue with the story overall is this...although the prose is beautifully poetic...I got so lost in it...it began to feel unlike a story at all. No disrespect to the author intended. It just wasn't for me.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Really great!!!!

It's my first time reading anything by Renée Ahdieh. And what a book!
I must say that I do love retelings, but until I knew about this book I never had seen Mulan, so I went to see it and I loved, of course!
This book delivered and I'm really excited to know what happens next.
In the beginning it was kinda difficult to read the names of people and things, so I bought the audiobook and began to read and listen at the same time. Much better! (Eventually I dumped the book, because I was practicing brush lettering 😂).
Anyway, I totally recommend this book. One of the best reads of this year! I'm on a good streak, thank God! 😃

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A dishonor to the culture it was based on

instead of a good samurai story we get social justice nonsense. The author takes what should be a thrilling political intrigue of alliances and double crosses and instead puts the focus on the life of Hattori Mariko, who's so busy complaining about being a woman, she forgot to check her own privilege. It's not like everyone can be born into a wealthy samurai clan like Mariko.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A good, enjoyable story

This story can be added nicely to a collection of girl in boys clothes stories. It bit more of a stretch, though, due to the age of Mariko and her lack of real-world experience. This is my first book written by Ahdieh and look forward to reading more. But, as soon as we hit Mariko's first encounter with the Black Clan, the Robin Hood twist and eventual love-plot seemed obvious. Typical "oh, we were the bad guys" revelation. As we listen in on Mariko's inner dialog, I wondered if it wasn't a bit Westernized and modernized. Kind of like finding a "convini" 7-11 in the village market.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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a decent story 3.5/5

If a great story is a run this book was a casual jog. the performance was good although it would of been better if there was still at least one more voice over. Story was decent. it had a nice leasurely pace with something happening here and there. There was mixed romance and slight mystery. Although there is a lot to learn about culture, people and names the book does a good job describing and reminding the reader who's who and what's what. I did find the girl or the character that the story mostly revolved around annoying. although she was described as smart and great thinker.. I think she was not. She was nothing special, slightly irrational and impulsive and definitely not a stand out awe character like the book tried her to be. It did feel like there were slight gaps in the story, yet it still was enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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Very Good

Any additional comments?

This was a good book with an excellent premise.It could have been better, but overall well worth your time. The romance between Mariko and Ookami is really well done. The scene in her tent was one of the best love scenes I've read. Short but good. I like the dynamic between them a lot. The history between Ranmaru and Tsuneoki is great too.
The main issue with the book is that Mariko goes on a quest to find out who tried to kill her, and by the end of the book, has made no progress towards that goal. Once everything is out in the open at the end of the book, the Black Clan has no reason not to just tell her that they didn't attack her, yet she asks them point blank, and they refuse to answer. This felt like a cheap way to stretch out the "mystery." Yumi even makes this snotty comment about "if you have to ask, then you don't deserve to know Ranmaru/Tsuneoki." Mariko has completely valid concerns, that could be dispelled by a simple "no," and yet everyone is playing these dumb games. It's frustrating.
Another major issue for me was the lack of development of the Black Clan. They are supposed to be Robin Hood types that steal from the rich and give to the poor, and yet we never get to actually see them do it. Mariko lives with them for, I think months?, and she sees a grand total of 1 mission, which they botch so badly, that they actually make the starvation in that region worse instead of better. The book glosses over that completely and never discusses it. Furthermore, the moral compass of the Black Clan is inconsistent. They come down hard on Kenshin for hurting his enemies more than necessary to get information, and yet they torture a boy that sneaks into their camp by allowing him to be slowly eaten by a tree. They even give a speech about how this is OK, because he is their enemy. I would like to know what they actually believe and see it in action, and this needed to be in book 1, not somewhere down the road. It might not even be in book 2, since Mariko and Ookami have been taken to the palace. I just wanted more in regards to the Black Clan.
Overall I am looking forward to the next installment. I got really attached to Mariko and Ookami, and that went a long way to overlooking some of the plot issues.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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It has potential!

I got about 4 hours in and I want to love it but the writer keeps reminding the reader of how bad the black clan is how much she hates it again and again so that in one chapter it's repeated 5 times. Yes we got it the first time!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Flame in the mist

Beautifully written and told story. I love Renee Ahdieh’s writing and storytelling. Nancy Wu’s voice drew me further into the story.

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not for me

I'll say that I'm not the target market for this book, but the first 3rd is pretty good the rest not so much.

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loved it

I think I found one of my new favorites. normally dont go for things with romance in them but this story flowed so well