6 août 2017

Review | Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Title : Flame in the Mist

Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Release Date : May 16th 2017

Genres : YA, Fantasy

Pages : 393

Rating :★★★

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. [...]

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

[...] Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

"Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain. And you can do anything."

I've never read anything by Renee Adhieh but when I heard the premise of the book I had to pick it up. Set in feudal Japan (yes, please!), Mirako is sent to the imperial Castle to get married when she's attacked on the road by the Black Clan. Determined to find out why they wanted her dead, she dresses as a boy and infiltrates the clan.

I'm not exagerating when I say this book was everything I wanted. As soon as I finished it I wanted to read it all over again, that's how much I liked it. It doesn't mean I didn't have some issues with it. It just means that it was good enough for me not to care about those.

Mirako is such an interesting character. Eager to prove to everyone and herself that she can be more than a thing sold to acquire more political power. She is witty and fearless and some of her retorts made my jaw dropped, curious to see how the other characters were going to react. She's not a good hunter like Katniss or a skilled assassin like Celeana but I loved the emphasis that there are many forms of strength and hers is her brain. We don't see that enough. 

A lot of reviewers complained that Mariko didn't show her intelligence but I have to disagree. You know that feeling when you learn the theory of something and realize that applying it is difficult ? It shouldn't be, right ? I mean, if you learn the theory you should be able to apply it with ease but it's always hard to do so. Well, Mariko is like that. She's curious and knows a lot but she doesn't have any experience. We see some of her inventions and quick thinking but her journey is all about experiencing and going beyond what she originally knew. She makes mistakes and try to learn from them.

Then, we have the dangerous – and oh so thrilling – Okami.

"Don't bare your neck to a wolf."

I think I found my ultimate OTP here. The chemistry is just there from the beginning. They don't trust one another, they don't even like each other and seem committed to have the last word in every argument. The sexual tension between them just builds up throughout the pages and the crossdressing part made it all so much more fun to read. 
Now let's be a little controversial here (you know how much I love that) : Is Okami bisexual ? I would say no. Yes, I said the sexual tension builds up from the beginning but being attracted to Mariko dressed as a boy is different from being attracted to boys. I felt like his body knew what his brain didn't (don't hate me).

Now let's talk about the setting and the general representation of Japan. I study japanese and japanese culture so I can tell you it's not historically accurate. At all. If you're going into this book thinking you're going to learn more about Japan history and all of that you're going to be disappointed. It's not a historical fiction book, it's a fantasy one so be sure to remember that. I can't say I wasn't disappointed, I would have loved it to be set in a more realistic Japan. 
Then there are the japanese words the authors uses throughout the book ... *sighs*. Once again, this is not the book you should read if you want to learn more about Japan or japanese. There are some words that aren't properly used and/or don't match the definition we find in the glossary.
That being said, I can also tell you that it didn't prevent me from enjoying the book. The story in itself is so good.


2 commentaires:

  1. It's too bad that the book isn't accurate, but that unfortunately common. I don't think I'll mind it when I read it, but I'll keep it in mind! I love that Mariko's strength is intelligence. You're right, intelligence as a strength isn't seen enough! I'm just about to read The Wrath and the Dawn so I hope I like it!

    1. It's too bad intelligence isn't more praised in YA. Intelligence is badass too !
      I've had some issues with that book and I definitely like Flame in the Mist more but it's a nice read.