Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Mariko has been raised in a palace and has known her entire life she would have to get married. Kenshin, Mariko’s twin brother, is the warrior of her father’s family. He always fights with honor and will do anything to protect his sister. One day, while Mariko is in the forest, she is attacked. She follows the Black Clan, while pretending to be a boy named Takeo, thinking that was who tried to assassinate her, and meets Okami along the way. Okami feels that there is something different about Takeo who has recently joined the Black Clan. Will Okami figure out Mariko’s secret? What will happen if he does? Will Mariko survive?
I don’t think this book should go on the Lone Star List. For over 3/4 of the book, it practically stayed in one place and the pacing was slow. It just kept dragging on and on and on… While I was reading from Kenshin’s perspective it just repeated its self over and over again; I must find my sister blah blah blah, the entire time. Towards the end of the book it finally sped up and the action started, and had to end in the cliff only reason I sort of enjoyed this book was for the last 3 or so chapters. –Angela Tatsch (Murphy Middle School Student)
I would give this book 4.5 stars! It took me awhile to get in to it, but by the end, I was totally fangirling and cannot wait for the sequel!! (A minor general spoiler here… nothing too serious). The story was entertaining, had some thrilling scenes, and was all around really enjoyable. I agree with what Mrs. Mullen and Mrs. Pearson said about this book being a lot like Mulan. Flame in the Mist is not a fairytale, however, it is written beautifully. Mariko and Mulan are both intelligent women who gain strength and fierceness along their respective journeys. Mariko never goes to war—she is recruited by the dangerous ‘‘Black Clan’’. Since that doesn’t happen, she never falls in love with a captain. Plus, she doesn’t fit the criteria of Disney princesses. Mariko is done with dresses and pampering forever; She wants revenge. The Black Clan tried to kill her and they didn’t succeed, so now it’s her turn to strike back.
As you can see, this is more of a loose retelling of Mulan. Furthermore, Renée Ahdieh touches on feminist issues better than Disney ever did. She isn’t afraid to point out all that is wrong with the way men perceive women.
There is romance, but it’s not a romantic story. Mariko is serious about her plan to murder the leader of the clan. At the same time, she is human—her emotions sometimes get in the way. –Vyshnavi Poruri (Murphy Middle School Student)
I loved this story. It did remind me of Mulan (like Mrs. Pearson said). Like Mulan, there is a love story here. It is also a mystery and action adventure story. Mariko is knocked unconscious during an attack on her convoy as they travel through the woods. She awakens to find her maid/servant dead from multiple arrow wounds and her carriage on fire. The culprits are lingering in the woods and as she listens, she discovers they mean for her to be dead. She narrowly escapes only to be captured by the Black Clan. She has disguised herself as a young boy and must keep that secret as she uncovers the truth about her circumstances and the plot to kill her. –Laura Mullens (MMS Head of English Dept.)