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Flame in the Mist
Cover of Flame in the Mist
Flame in the Mist
Flame in the Mist Series, Book 1
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track 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.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan where Mulan meets Throne of Glass.

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track 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.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.5
  • Lexile:
    720
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book The Beginning

    In the beginning, there were two suns and two moons.

    The boy's sight blurred before him, seeing past the truth. Past the shame. He focused on the story his uba had told him the night before. A story of good and evil, light and dark. A story where the triumphant sun rose high above its enemies.

    On instinct, his fingers reached for the calloused warmth of his uba's hand. The nursemaid from Kisun had been with him since before he could remember, but now—like everything else—she was gone.

    Now there was no one left.

    Against his will, the boy's vision cleared, locking on the clear blue of the noon sky above. His fingers curled around the stiff linen of his shirtsleeves.

    Don't look away. If they see you looking away, they will say you are weak.

    Once more, his uba's words echoed in his ears.

    He lowered his gaze.

    The courtyard before him was draped in fluttering white, surrounded on three sides by rice-paper screens. Pennants flying the golden crest of the emperor danced in a passing breeze. To the left and right stood grim-faced onlookers— samurai dressed in the dark silks of their formal hakama.

    In the center of the courtyard was the boy's father, kneel­ing on a small tatami mat covered in bleached canvas. He, too, was draped in white, his features etched in stone. Before him sat a low table with a short blade. At his side stood the man who had once been his best friend.

    The boy sought his father's eyes. For a moment, he thought his father looked his way, but it could have been a trick of the wind. A trick of the perfumed smoke curling above the squat brass braziers.

    His father would not want to look into his son's eyes. The boy knew this. The shame was too great. And his father would die before passing the shame of tears along to his son.

    The drums began to pound out a slow beat. A dirge.

    In the distance beyond the gates, the boy caught the muf­fled sound of small children laughing and playing. They were soon silenced by a terse shout.

    Without hesitation, his father loosened the knot from around his waist and pushed open his white robe, exposing the skin of his stomach and chest. Then he tucked his sleeves beneath his knees to prevent himself from falling backward.

    For even a disgraced samurai should die well.

    The boy watched his father reach for the short tantō blade on the small table before him. He wanted to cry for him to stop. Cry for a moment more. A single look more.

    Just one.

    But the boy remained silent, his fingers turning bloodless in his fists. He swallowed.

    Don't look away.

    His father took hold of the blade, wrapping his hands around the skein of white silk near its base. He plunged the sword into his stomach, cutting slowly to the left, then up to the right. His features remained passive. No hint of suffering could be detected, though the boy searched for it—felt it—despite his father's best efforts.

    Never look away.

    Finally, when his father stretched his neck forward, the boy saw it. A small flicker, a grimace. In the same instant, the boy's heart shuddered in his chest. A hot burst of pain glimmered beneath it.

    The man who had been his father's best friend took two long strides, then swung a gleaming katana in a perfect arc toward his father's exposed neck. The thud of his father's head hitting the tatami mat silenced the drumbeats in a hol­low start.
    ...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 13, 2017
    Ahdieh delivers an elaborate fantasy set in feudal Japan, where a resilient young woman defies class conventions and gender roles in a quest for vengeance and autonomy. At 17, Mariko, the perceptive and intellectual daughter of a notable samurai, has been promised to the son of the emperor’s favorite consort. While en route to meet her betrothed, she narrowly survives an assassination attempt, which fuels her determination to unmask those responsible. Disguised as a boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan, soon recognizing that its reclusive members are much more than thieves and murderers. Occasional chapters are told from the perspective of Mariko’s twin brother, Kenshin, a samurai known as the Dragon of Kai, adding complexity to Mariko’s actions and revelations. Ahdieh (The Wrath & the Dawn) is immensely skilled at crafting vibrant settings inhabited by sympathetic characters with rich pasts, and she also treats readers to a slow-burning romance that does not impede Mariko’s independence or goals, illustrating the power of a well-matched pairing. While the final pages provide some closure, readers will enthusiastically anticipate the next installment. Ages 12–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2017
    In a historical fantasy inspired by feudal Japan, the daughter of aristocrats finds a place among sort-of-ninjas akin to Robin Hood's band.Hattori Mariko, barely 17, is resentful but resigned to an imperial marriage. When her caravan is waylaid, she seizes the chance to become something else. Disguised as a boy, she infiltrates the notorious Black Clan to investigate why they undertook her murder; but she is not prepared for the secrets she uncovers...especially about herself. Ahdieh's follow-up to her superlative two-part Arabian Nights retelling, The Wrath and the Dawn (2015) and The Rows and the Dagger (2016), is equally rich in legendary glamour and again features convoluted political intrigue and star-crossed romance between a clever heroine and brooding hero. Unfortunately, the author's extensive research results less in a sensuous, subtly constructed background than in obtrusive dumps of vocabulary and exposition. Truncated paragraphs and sentence fragments are overused to simulate dramatic tension. Mariko constantly complains of sexist oppression, but the story shows her held back mostly by her own vacillation. She is, however, amazingly ingenious, inventing an entire arsenal of ninja-style weaponry in a matter of weeks. The hints of magic are frustratingly arbitrary and vague, and the motives of the villain(s?) utterly opaque right up to the cliffhanger ending. This story (and sequels) will undoubtedly enthrall readers seeking a torrid, tortured romance in a trendy setting; still, a disappointment from an author capable of so much more. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2017

    Gr 10 Up-Rich in magical realism and cultural nuance of feudal Japan, Ahdieh's series starter begins with a girl-power bang. Mariko is bound to the empire's center as part of an arranged marriage to a royal son: a union she dreads. Her caravan is set upon by raiders who slash and kill their way through the convoy. Only through cunning does Mariko emerge from the ashes relatively unscathed. No longer content to please her family by marrying a prince, Mariko now sets out with a vengeance upon the Black Clan, whom she holds responsible for her attempted assassination and the murder of her convoy. Her plan, not well thought out at first, involves infiltrating the ranks of the Black Clan, so she disguises herself as a boy and successfully meets up with the Black Clan. However, the leader of the clan, Takeda Ranmaru, suspects her-of something. The clan's best fighter, Okami, or "The Wolf," is more complex than Mariko originally thinks. And when she is forced to choose between her famed samurai brother, who is searching for her, and the clan, her decision becomes complicated by unexpected factors. Ahdieh's strength lies in her intricate characterizations and detailed descriptions, all of which are perfectly showcased in feudal Japan. Elements of magic run through this Mulan-inspired tale as young boys turn into beasts and back into boys again. VERDICT A wonderful choice for YA shelves, especially where lush fantasy is popular.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 Hattori Mariko never thought of herself as water. The high-class daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always been more stubborn and groundedhallmarks of earththan she is fluid and changeable. But Mariko is promised to the emperor's son, and when she is attacked and left for dead on her journey to the Imperial City, changeable is exactly what she becomes. Disguised as a boy, Mariko seeks out her almost assassins, a rogue samurai band called the Black Clan. Though no warrior, Mariko has a sharp mind and a quick tongue, and she plots her revenge even as she starts to trust the men who are her family's enemies. Elsewhere, Mariko's twin brother refuses to believe she's dead, and deadly plots brew in the Imperial City. This glimpse into the rigid, violent, and often honorable world of feudal Japan is tempered by light fantasy elements and a heady dose of first love. Momentum slows in places, but a white-knuckled finale will leave readers eager to see where crafty, capable Mariko's choices lead her. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Ahdieh's first duology (begun with The Wrath and the Dawn, 2015) propelled her to the top of the charts, and this new series starter brings that same blend of history, magic, and sensuality that drew readers in the first place.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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Flame in the Mist
Flame in the Mist
Flame in the Mist Series, Book 1
Renée Ahdieh
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