“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.”
This came out of a FairyLoot box, but having read The Wrath and The Dawn, I would have eventually picked it up (in paperback!) I had heard it described as Mulan meets 47 Ronin, and they were not wrong. Mariko is destined to marry the Emperor’s son, but after a brutal attack on her convoy to the Imperial city, she disguises herself a boy and tracks the men who attacked her, eventually infiltrating and joining the Black Clan.
It’s clear from the outset that Mariko has a head for strategy, and after she’s accepted into the Black Clan, she uses her alchemical knowledge to invent explosive weapons and smoke devices which help cement her standing. I liked her dedication and obstinacy in the face of a hundred obstacles. She has the option to go to her brother for help several times, but she is determined to discover the truth of the attack for herself, and then later on, to uncover the true truth underneath the ‘truth’ she has been offered. There were more layers to this book that I was expecting, and several twists and turns. I did think that this could have been a standalone novel, especially as I approached the final chapters, but it looks like there will be a sequel, at least.
Get Flame in the Mist here.