Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

 

Title: Flame in the Mist

Series: Flame in the Mist

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 392

Publication Date: 16th May 2017

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical, Japan, Retellings, Gender Bender

Synopsis:

The only daughter of a prominent Samurai, Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her fate. Never mind her cunning or her skills as an accomplished alchemist, Mariko was raised for one purpose only: to marry.

At just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose. But the journey is cut short when her convoy is ambushed by the Black Clan – a group of bandits hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace. 

The lone survivor of the attack, Mariko swears revenge on those who want her dead: she infiltrates the Black Clan disguised as a peasant boy and befriends their leader. The clan warms to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity – but as she gets closer to her enemies, Mariko uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Review:

** spoiler alert **

 

I adored this book! Japanese mythology, samurais, feudal Japan, is totally down my alley. With a Mulan twist, which I absolutely loved, how could I resist? I loved the fact it’s only slightly like Mulan, not as predictable but loved the similarities. But don’t get me wrong, Flame in the Mist definitely had tonnes of originality.

Warning… spoilers ahead…

First off, I was so confused about the love interest. I so thought it was going to be Ranmaru and then it turned out.. to be Okami? But by the time I accepted that fact, I have fallen in love with his character. I found him to be so real and genuine. He had his own morals and beliefs which shaped him and was not a character that was righteous and hopeful. He was a bit different. I really enjoyed the bickering between Mariko and Okami, I was grinning with their smart exchanged and craved for more!

I loved the other characters in The Black Clan. Yoshi the cook was a character I immediately loved. I would love to learn more about the other characters too and their backstories. I started off liking Kenshin, but his character development happened very quickly and changed so much through this book. It was very interesting to see the path Kenshin has taken, and deep down I’m still hoping that he’ll be a good guy. A girl can be hopeful.

The magic mentioned was intriguing and vague. I hope book two will dive deeper into this and give an explanation. I thought it very interesting and look forward to seeing how it affects the story.

The ending seemed very rushed. If Ahdieh could have took the time to go through it at a slower pace, it would of been so much more enjoyable! Since it seemed so rushed to me, I’m finding it a bit hard to remember some of the finer details. But it has such a good cliff hanger! At the same time that I realised what was going on, I also thought, “I knew it!” without really knowing that’s what I thought in the back of my mind. I’m the type of person who is so engrossed into the story, I don’t always find them predictable >.<

Overall, Flame in the Mist has definitely made me fall in love with it. The writing style was lovely, I enjoyed reading the way Ahdieh wrote this and the use of language in the book. I cannot wait for the next book to come out! It will also be another highly anticipated release! Looking forward to finding out what happens to our protagonists after that cliff hanger! It definitely will be taking the plot to a whole new level! I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did!

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The Immortal Bind by Traci Harding

Title: The Immortal Bind

Series: Stand alone

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Pages: 384

Genres: Fanatasy

Goodreads: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

The adventure of a lifetime… or two, or three

When Sara is gifted a beautiful antique chair as a wedding present, she is completely unaware that it is one of a unique pair. On the other side of the world, the chair’s twin is presented to a reclusive artist, Jon, as a birthday gift.

The two new owners are thrust into a mind-expanding adventure through the ages – medieval East Anglia, Scotland, France and India. In each instance they experience significant junctions in their lives past, to remember and redress ripples of karma they set in motion, and thwart an evil entity that still threatens their present day lives.

Their journey exposes a cursed love affair spanning one thousand years and ten thousand miles. Only the full realisation of their own short comings will prevent the tragic reoccurring outcome of their immortal bind.

Review:

I was lucky enough to receive this review copy from Harper Collins Australia. I haven’t read a Traci Harding book in years and this was so intriguing, I felt like I had to devour it slowly.

I was captured from the first page, I loved diving back into a Harding read, and what more to love then past lives, soul mates and reincarnations? That was one of the reasons why I loved The Ancient Future so much, and I was so glad to be reading about this again. Harding delivered a gripping story of Sara and Jon, reincarnating over the ages but never to have a happy ending. With each lifetime they spent together, I was becoming more and more invested in their life together. It was interesting to read each lifetime as the places and times were so different from one another. It was mysterious and tragic the way each ‘dream’ ended and at first, I just wanted to get back to reading more about Sara and Jon’s current life. I loved the concept of these ancient chairs with the Eyes of Karma, taking them through past life regressions and the pull they had towards each other. As the story goes on, we seem to find out more and more clues to their past lives and a way to break the ancient curse keeping them apart.

I loved the characters in the book, and it was interesting to see how each came into play as they were revealed in the past lives too. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it felt like reading many short stories. It made me interested in the different times Sara and Jon each lived in and by halfway, I couldn’t put the book down. Even though parts of the book seemed cliche, I loved every moment, because who doesn’t love a cliche story? Maybe not most people, but it has become so uncommon these days, but still done in a gripping way. The Immortal Bind takes you on a journey through the ages and creates such a spell binding tale of love, star crossed lovers and hope for a future between soul mates.

Who’s Afraid? by Maria Lewis

Title: Who’s Afraid?

Series: Tommi Grayson (Book 1)

Publisher: Piatkus

Pages:  343

Genres: Urban fantasy, paranormal, fantasy

Goodreads: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

‘It was like my wolf had been there all along, waiting for me to tap its hand and step into the ring…’

Tommi Grayson’s never exactly been a normal girl. Bright blue hair, a mysterious past and barely controlled rage issues have a way of making a woman stand out. Yet she’s never come close to guessing who she really is…

When her mother dies, a shattered Tommi decides to track down her estranged father. Leaving Scotland for a remote corner of New Zealand, she discovers the truth of her heritage – and it’s a whole lot more than merely human.

Barely escaping with her life, now Tommi must return to her friends, pretending everything is normal while all too aware of the dangers lurking outside – and within. Worse still, something has followed her home…

With the clock ticking, can Tommi learn to control her new powers in time to save the ones she loves?

This book was so enjoyable! From page one, I was intrigued about what was going on with Tommi. Lewis has created a sassy, fun character, who speaks her mind and I really enjoyed Tommi’s point of view. Her references are funny and I couldn’t stop reading! It’s been awhile since I’ve read a werewolf book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fast paced and there was always a twist lurking around the corner!

Enter Lorcan and the story really picked up! I loved the how he entered the scene and his purpose. Although it reminded me of another series, I still thoroughly enjoyed his character and their connection. As Tommi learns to adjust to her new life and skills, she seems to master them easily. Although she does ‘master’ them quickly, I appreciate how fast paced the book is. Sometimes I prefer to read a more fast paced book, a lot of it was already focused on the training and I was quite happy to get on with the plot. Lewis also explains the reason for her fast mastery of skills due to her ancestry. Tommi also is already a fighter with her Muay Thai background as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve had an urban fantasy book I couldn’t put down. Now I feel like I will be looking for other urban fantasy books to read! I’m looking forward to Tommi’s next adventures in Who’s Afraid Too? Luckily, I don’t have long to wait as it comes out in January!

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Title: The Assassin’s Blade

Series: Throne of Glass (Novella/Prequel 0.1-0.5)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Published: March 2014

Pages: 437

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

The twist of a knife, the birth of a legend…

Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.

Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her heart in two forever…

These novellas, compiled into one book, forming the prequel to The Throne of Glass series is a must read! I have read everywhere that it should be read before Queen of Shadows, the fourth book in the series as it adds a lot of depth and understanding of what happens before Celaena Sardothien is pulled out of Endovier.

At first I thought the book was quite slow, to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered reading it all that much. But then I read somewhere that it is recommended to be before the release of Queen of Shadows, and that someone from the prequel shall be revealed, I thought; gosh I better get started! So I started the book slow, but once I got into it, I wanted to know more! I wanted to know more about Sam, the boy she loved before everything happened, and what he would be like. Definitely you will get to see him throughout the book. As I read on, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, I could see the beginning of Celaena and Sam’s relationship, how it they were always at each other, and then slowly seeing that change as they worked together through the first novella. By then you can see hints of what Sam feels for Celaena, but she is oblivious to it.

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