Flame in the Mist
by Renée Ahdieh
Penguin Random House LLC 2017, 392 pgs. Young Adult Fiction
Set in feudal Japan, Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai. In order to gain prominence in court Mariko’s father arranges her marriage with the oldest son of the emperor. On Mariko’s journey to present herself at the palace her caravan is attacked and everyone but herself is killed, allegedly by the members of the Black Clan. Mariko then sets off by herself to see if she can discover who commissioned the Black Clan to kill her, and somehow maneuver her way into their good graces and then when the moment strikes sabotage them.
This was a fun story. I liked the perspective on the Japanese culture and the emphasis they place on honor in their society. I like that Mariko is not a perfect heroine. Over the course of this journey she makes some big mistakes which fits along really well with a character who was essentially culturally bred to be nothing more than an asset to her family. It was fun watching Mariko draw on the strengths she did have and use them to overcome the obstacles place before her.