Mariko has always known that being a woman means she's not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden - the emperor's son - Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued... or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.
Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan's hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she's ever known.
Review by Bronwyn Eley
While reading Flame in the Mist, I was instantly draw to Hattori Mariko, a strong and compelling protagonist whose story reminded me so much of Mulan. Mariko was just as daring as Mulan, if not more so, and I found myself nodding in appreciation and muttering “you go girl” to myself more than once. I even burst out laughing at some points, so surprised by the boldness of Mariko.
This is a girl who, instead of running back to her family for help, decides to dress up as a boy, slink into the depths of the dangerous Black Clan and find out who tried to kill her – all by herself. And who’s up for a little sexy time after nearly drowning? Hattori Mariko, that’s who.
Ahdieh’s descriptions of winding rivers, lotus blossoms, luxurious silks, and the beauty of the Geiko made me feel like I was visiting the exotic, yet sometimes grimy city of Inako. This was definitely one of my favourite parts of the book, especially as we gain an insight into the members of the Black Clan, as they go about their day-to-day activities in this city. We see, perhaps for the first time, members of the clan humanised, and Mariko’s reaction upon realising they’re not all evil.
I haven’t spoken about Okami yet. Now, here’s a mysterious man. He really knows how to throw people off, and is perhaps just as bold as Mariko. It was nice to see his softer side with his sister and the elderly lady he and the Black Clan support financially. It’s perhaps one of my favourite tropes: the tough guy act is simply that. An act. And beneath that steely exterior? A warm heart.
I am eager to see what troubles Mariko finds herself in in book two!
About the Author
Renee Ahdieh is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renee enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. The Rose and the Dagger is the sequel to her sparkling debut novel, The Wrath and the Dawn.
Don't be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool marble courtyards. This is an intoxicating gem of a story. You will fall in love, just as I did. - Marie Lu
In her absorbing debut, Renee Ahdieh spins a tale as mesmerizing as that of her heroine Shahrzad, filled with lush details and brimming with tension. The Wrath and the Dawn
is truly an exceptional story, beautifully written
. - Carrie Ryan
Lushly imagined and powerfully characterized, it's a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance
. - Publishers Weekly
Set against a backdrop of political intrigue and a simmering revolution, this is a carefully constructed narrative of uncertain loyalties, searing romance, and subtle magic
in a harsh desert city. - Booklist, starred review