Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
by Renee Ahdieh
I was going to give this book the benefit of the doubt and give it 3 stars, but according to Goodreads, 3 stars means I “liked it”. 2 stars means “it was ok”, and that’s exactly what this was. Ok.
So: feudal Japan + magic sounds awesome. The beginning of the book is all flowery and pretty prose and seemed like it was going to be awesome. And then our heroine gets not-killed (aka an attempt is made on her life but she survives) and runs off into the forest to track down her not-killers and find out why they were sent to kill her. And that’s where we run into problems.
Here you have a spoiled girl who has never done a moment’s real work in her life (she as much as says so at the end of the book) and she manages to survive long enough to find her not-killers. And then she’s able to convince them to let her stay with them as a potential new recruit. Um, nope. Not believable at all. Sorry.
Oh – and don’t let me forget the angst. On top of everything else there is the angst. There’s a lot of it. Whether it’s her reminding herself to be brave, or reminding herself that the Black Clan was sent to kill her and therefore she must get them to trust her so she can “strike when they least expect it”, or agonizing over her insta-love because she wants to despise him instead of desire him, the angst is strong with this book. (Side note: I started this as an audio book. The angst is worse in that version, because you can’t skim past it.)
And to add insult to injury, nowhere on the cover or in the blurbs did I see that this is the first in a series. The result? I finished reading the book so I could find out what happened, only to end on a complete and total not-ending. It wasn’t even a cliffhanger. It was the end of a chapter, only the next chapter isn’t until the next book.
There’s one reason I am not giving this a 1 star rating: the parts that are about the scenery or the (few) descriptions of magic are really pretty writing. I really enjoyed that part and the concept. Otherwise, though, don’t bother. (Also, the cover is lovely. That’s a huge part of why I picked up this book.)
Rating: 2 stars