Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Series: Flame in the Mist #2
Publication Date: June 5th 2018
Publisher: Putnam
Genera: YA, Fantasy 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ TBD

Synopsis: The highly anticipated sequel to Flame in the Mist—an addictive, sumptuous finale that will leave readers breathless from the bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn.

After Okami is captured in the Jukai forest, Mariko has no choice—to rescue him, she must return to Inako and face the dangers that have been waiting for her in the Heian Castle. She tricks her brother, Kenshin, and betrothed, Raiden, into thinking she was being held by the Black Clan against her will, playing the part of the dutiful bride-to-be to infiltrate the emperor's ranks and uncover the truth behind the betrayal that almost left her dead.

With the wedding plans already underway, Mariko pretends to be consumed with her upcoming nuptials, all the while using her royal standing to peel back the layers of lies and deception surrounding the imperial court. But each secret she unfurls gives way to the next, ensnaring Mariko and Okami in a political scheme that threatens their honor, their love and very the safety of the empire.

My Rating
4/5 stars

My Review
Smoke in the Sun is a fantastic sequel to Flame in the Mist. This story is a lot different than the first book, but the action and the amazing characters are still the same. I am very sad to see this series come to an end.

Mariko never thought that she would find her place pretending to be a man in a group of outlaws that live in the forest, but she did and she couldn't be happier, that is until her brother and her betrothed find her and take her back with them, along with Okami, the traitor's son and the man who stole Mariko's heart. Imprisoned for crimes against the crown, Okami only has a few days before the new emperor kills him, it is up to Mariko to fool everyone at court, and devise a plan to get Okami out without anyone noticing.

I absolutely loved Mariko as a main character in the first book, and I am so happy to say that she definitely doesn't disappoint in this book. Even though she's in a different setting now, and rather than act like a boy she must act like a lady, she is still the same brilliant and powerful Mariko. She's able to devise crazy plans, is a strong feminist and is incredibly determined. Watching her grow as a character has been absolutely amazing.

The other thing I absolutely loved about this book was that there was no second book syndrome. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, there is occasionally a trend in sequels where the lead couple finally get together at the end of book one, only to go through huge problems in book two and end up constantly fighting. Thankfully we have none of that in this book. Mario and Okami's love for one another is just as strong as in book one, and while there is definitely challenges to their relationship (like Mariko having to pretend she doesn't know Okami in front of the emperor) there is not one moment where their love for one another diminishes. 

The pacing of the story was a tad slower than the first, not as much action, especially in the beginning, but it does pick up near the middle and end of the novel.
The world building was just as wonderful as ever. By the end of the novel I could almost navigate the castle in my mind because the descriptions were that amazing.

Overall, I am very sad to see this story come to an end because I have definitely fallen in love with Okami and Mariko. This story has a wonderful history background, fantastic world building and characters that you wont soon forget.

Happy Reading, 

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