“I believe the stars align so that souls can find one another.”
Well, then. I thank the stars that aligned just right that made me discover Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn which led me to this book right now.
My God, this book.
I loved. it. I love it. I don’t even know where to start because it was just so good.
Alright, let’s talk about my experience while reading it first. Reading this book was a breeze. I just kept on turning page after page until I took breather and realized I was more than halfway through. It’s just that compelling. Renee really did a great job describing the feudal Japan setting and making it even more authentic by sprinkling the story with what is apparently well-researched Japanese culture themes. Honestly, I’m not a fan of anime or manga or even Japanese food, but reading this book made me want to learn more.
(Pro tip: there’s a glossary for all the Japanese terms used throughout the book at the back part. Utilize it.)
Another thing I loved about this book is the strong feminist vibe. I. Absolutely. Loved. That. We all know from Renee’s previous works, The Wrath and the Dawn & The Rose and the Dagger that she’s into writing strong female heroines and she definitely upped the ante with Mariko in Flame in the Mist. Mariko was already a strong character in the beginning, but you can definitely see that she still has a lot to learn—about herself, about family, about friendship, about belonging and about strength. I was glad that as she learned more about these things as the story progressed, she also grew to embrace her gender.
So, can we talk about Ōkami now? Gah!!! I love him to bits. He’s like a Japanese Rhysand from Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series because he’s also such a feminist. And he’s so cute. And such a tsundere. And I love him to bits. I swear, I was rolling and flailing about in bed reading certain scenes with him in it and I need more in the second book!
Also, that plot twist! I didn’t see that coming and I felt so stupid. As the story progressed and I got to learn more about the characters especially that of the Black Clan, I questioned The Beginning and what it must mean and who’s seen who, but I was still completely blindsided when all was revealed. It was such a rush!
Overall, Flame in the Mist is the best of action, adventure, diversity and romance all rolled into one extremely exciting book with an ending that left me craving for the second book right away!