Teen Take: Flame In The Mist

Teen Take: Flame In The Mist

May 23, 2017
Flame In The Mist

NC’s Renee Ahdieh Releases New YA Fiction

In a world of history and magic, a young woman struggles to find her independence and discovers love along the way. If this sounds intriguing to you, then Flame In The Mist, the latest novel from North Carolina’s Renee Ahdieh, may be for you.

Smart and independent Mariko, who was raised only for marriage, is the daughter of a samurai in feudal Japan. Now, betrothed to one of the emperor’s sons, Mariko leaves home to meet him, despite the fact that she doesn’t know anything about him and certainly is not in love with him. But on the way there, Mariko’s convoy is attacked by the Black Clan, a notorious group of murderers and thieves. Mariko is the lone survivor of the attack and realizes that the Black Clan was only trying to kill her alone. Desperate to find out who and why someone wanted her dead, and hungry for revenge, Mariko dresses as a boy and attempts to infiltrate the Black Clan. But once Mariko gets inside their ranks, she discovers she’s appreciated for her brain instead of beauty, and she finds she might just be falling in love. Yet, nothing is as it seems and her time in the Black Clan leaves Mariko questioning everything she knows. In Renee Ahdieh’s novel, Flame in the Mist, everything from action to adventure is covered, but it still left something to be wanted.

Just like Ahdieh’s previous novels, The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger, the author’s stunning storytelling weaves the story as finely as the silk of Mariko’s kimono. Ahdieh is a true wordsmith with her ability to capture looks and feelings with a few phrases. I could so clearly picture the splendor of Japan full of geisha and samurai, along with the scum of society who were as good at fighting as they were storytelling. The author is able to capture the honor and loyalty imbued in Japanese culture, along with its traditions. If you read this novel, be ready for a full blast of description and wonder.

Past the flowery writing, the character building was strong. I felt like I could relate to the characters and understand what made them tick. The story was also filled to the brim with suspense and tense moments. I never knew what to expect next. The way history was blended with magic, fact with fiction, I was surrounded by a world where anything could happen, yet most everything felt realistic. As a story itself, it was driven and fast-paced with a good, interesting plot. I always wanted to keep reading. I couldn’t put the book down, it was so interesting. Yet, along with the good plot, there were a few bad aspects.

The story did have some holes. It was inevitably setting up for another book, that much I could tell. If the author wasn’t getting ready for another book, then this deserves a lot less stars. However, there was so much that needed to be answered, I feel secure in saying there’s probably going to be another book. Yet, I felt like more should have been answered now. I feel like there was so much that could have been added to this book without having to make another one. Another problem is the pacing. I felt like it took forever to get past what was in the description, there was so much buildup. But toward the second half, I felt like everything was in fast forward. It felt like so much was sliding perfectly into place while there were, of course, still some problems that would be dealt with in a second book.

Overall, Flame in the Mist was a good book. It was compelling. It made me want to keep reading. It was interesting, especially for a nice romance-and-action-adventure book. But all it really was is “good”. It wasn’t great or spectacular. So, between the good story and plot, and detracting plot holes, I’ll have to rate it 6 and a half out of 10 stars. So read the book if you want, but maybe wait until the second one comes out, or you’ll have a lot left to want.<

Jordan Mundy

I live in Asheville and go to a local high school. I was chosen to be a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps during middle school, and adore reading and writing of any type: creative writing, poetry, and of course, journalism. I also like acting, singing, and public speaking. You can usually find me doing any of the things stated above, or hanging in my Eno!

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