Can someone please tell me why I haven´t read this sooner? The setting in Japan, a heroine who isn´t a storybook beauty but beautiful enough to turn a man´s head around and a war between two women and two families who turn out to be as deadly as poison?! Flame in the Mist has all a reader could ask for. If you like premodern Japan in all its glory, that is. I fell in love with the US cover first. The combination of the orange bird, the brown background, silver letters, purple flowers, and the bright rose made me want it without a doubt. I hadn´t read any summary but knew that I had to have it. The cover of the German edition is smooth contrary to the US edition. Both are beautiful, no doubt here, but incommensurable when it comes to the design. While the US cover literally bursts into a fiery orange combined with purple and bright rose in a strong motive, the German edition shows a pastel-colored and almost dreamy picture. Either way, both look amazing and contain a story that entertains its reader very well in more than one way. But enough of that. Let´s get to the novel itself.

Das Mädchen Aus Feuer Und Sturm
by Renée Ahdieh
Flame In The Mist #1
Translation Martina M. Oepping
Original Title Flame In The Mist
Publisher One on September 28, 2018
Genre Young Adult
Pages 406
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

Mariko is the daughter of a powerful samurai and knows her place in life. As clever and inventive she may be, others decide on her future. When she learns that she is to marry the Emperor´s son, she takes her fate. But on the way to her wedding, she barely escapes an attack on her life. Her entire entourage will be destroyed. Suddenly on her own, she uses her chance to taste the freedom and find out for herself why one wants to see her dead. In her search for the truth, she not only discovers that many things are different from what she thought until now, but she also loses her heart … to the enemy of all people. (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary) 

Mariko is on her way to her future husband when she is thrown into a deadly situation and has to overcome her fears to survive. But who wants her dead? Who wants to destroy her family and the life she´s known since she can think? But most importantly, will there ever be a time where she is valued for what she is and can instead of only being a worthless daughter to a father who feels only humiliated by her curiosity?

Renée Ahdieh´s writing style is light, fluently, and read at a good pace. There isn´t one page where you are at risk to become bored or distracted by other things happening outside the book. The author shows you the main figure who is well aware that she is far from being flawless and who knows that she is always asking too many questions. Born with a unique curiosity and a never-ending fascination for everything that isn´t usual or outside her comfort zone, she always needs to know how things work. Not exactly the way she´s supposed to be. Let alone to function. Magical creatures, the honor of a Samurai and man, in general, are shown in a very harmonic, yet bloody way. Lose the grace of your Shogun or the Emperor itself, and you have to pay the price with your own life. And if you get lucky, you can keep your honor and the one of your family by using the sword against your own body.

Towards the end, the story speeds up. There is a lot of action, blood, and even more cruelty than at the beginning of the novel. And it becomes clear, that the answer Mariko is searching for, hasn´t been given yet. Or not entirely.

The inner conflict Mariko has, is shown by the author in a sensitive but very entertaining way. Sometimes you see a bit of defiance and stubbornness shine through Mariko´s behavior and it makes you kind of smile. She wants it all, and she wants it the only way she knows how. Not every figure is what they seem to be or claim to be. And for Mariko, that means that she has first to prove herself to the others, that she´s well worth it being among their circle. 

The novel ends with a cliffhanger. Or sort of. It is obvious, that the plot will move to a different location in the second book, and because of the last scene, you get a taste of what´s to come. Hate, passion, revenge, and hunger for even more power are the strong lines in this book. It was fascinating to see how a girl coming from a rich environment, changes to be able to survive in the world she´s never really known. Oh yes, the Japanese setting is the perfect place for this kind of story. Looking forward to reading the next part. 

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by One in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

*The book was originally published Flame in the Mist by G.P. Putnam´s Sons on May 16, 2017. 

Renée Ahdieh
Renée Ahdieh ©Chuck Eaton Photography

Renée Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charleston, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. She is the author of The Wrath and the Dawn. 


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