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Smoke in the Sun 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 the very safety of the empire Update October 2017 I m pretty sure this book s publication date is now June 5, 2018 not May 1st and now I m sad Need need need need neeeeeeedddddd Update August 2017 THE TITLE IS SMOKE IN THE SUN OMG I LOVE IT Update April 2017 I VE READ THE FIRST BOOK AND YUP THAT ENDING THAT BOOK THAT ROMANCE THAT OKAMI I NEED EVERYTHING TO BE OKAYYYYYYYYYYYY grabby hands August 2016 HAVEN T EVEN READ THE FIRST BOOK BUT WANT THIS SO BADLY Update October 2017 I m pretty sure this book s publication date is now June 5, 2018 not May 1st and now I m sad Need need need need neeeeeeedddddd Update August 2017 THE TITLE IS SMOKE IN THE SUN OMG I LOVE IT Update April 2017 I VE READ THE FIRST BOOK AND YUP THAT ENDING THAT BOOK THAT ROMANCE THAT OKAMI I NEED EVERYTHING TO BE OKAYYYYYYYYYYYY grabby hands August 2016 HAVEN T EVEN READ THE FIRST BOOK BUT WANT THIS SO BADLY It was a night for magic A night swirling with mystery, an unknowable energy pulsing in its depths Okay, I m going to be honest about something I remember enjoying the arc I read of Flame in the Mist last year but, before reading this book, I couldn t remember anything that happened In fact, I wasn t sure I was going to continue with the duology When I was lucky enough to get an arc of this sequel, I figured I d just give it a shot.And it all came flooding back to me in a stream of drama It was a night for magic A night swirling with mystery, an unknowable energy pulsing in its depths Okay, I m going to be honest about something I remember enjoying the arc I read of Flame in the Mist last year but, before reading this book, I couldn t remember anything that happened In fact, I wasn t sure I was going to continue with the duology When I was lucky enough to get an arc of this sequel, I figured I d just give it a shot.And it all came flooding back to me in a stream of drama, action and royal manipulations It makes me sad to think I might not have continued with this series and missed out on a lot of enjoyment.I find myself remembering why I enjoy Ahdieh s writing so much Her descriptions of the setting a fantasy inspired by feudal Japan are detailed and stunning She really captures the place where the story is set She s one of those authors who makes every scene feel a little bit magical, even when nothing supernatural is happening.Smoke in the Sun is a less romantic book than Flame in the Mist, which is just fine by me The relationship was left in a good place in the first book and I m glad Ahdieh moved on toimportant things instead of prolonging the angst Here, Mariko finds herself in Heian Castle, playing the part of dutiful bride to be to the Emperor s younger brother, while the Emperor Roku himself becomes everviolent and vindictive.The perspective of the novel frequently switches to secondary characters to offerdepth to them andlayers to the story Indeed, the secondary characters were eveninteresting to me than Mariko and Okami From Kanako, the former Emperor s scheming consort, to Kenshin, Mariko s brother and dedicated samurai who never got over losing the girl he loved Characters who at first appear to be villains turn out to becomplex, which I loveWe should create a world for women like us It would be a thing to seeI love how this book shows a world where, on the surface, powerful men battle it out to be on top, but behind the scenes there are also powerful women pulling the strings Mariko s friendships with Yumi and Suke offer a delightful break from the action and violence, and show that there is great power in one woman helping another.A very engaging, fun, action packed fantasy Ahdieh s future in YA looks set to follow writers like Bardugo and Maas a balance of magic, drama, action and romance that is a guaranteed bestseller.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Respect is not a thing granted It is a thing earnedA fitting conclusion to the duology Mariko is no longer in the woods, dressed as a boy and playing outlaw It s time for her to learn diplomacy and how to survive at court The world becomes bigger, and we get glimpses intocharacters and the magic system something I sorely missed in the first book.My biggest problem with the first book was that the characters morality was too simplistic, either pure good or cartoonishly eRespect is not a thing granted It is a thing earnedA fitting conclusion to the duology Mariko is no longer in the woods, dressed as a boy and playing outlaw It s time for her to learn diplomacy and how to survive at court The world becomes bigger, and we get glimpses intocharacters and the magic system something I sorely missed in the first book.My biggest problem with the first book was that the characters morality was too simplistic, either pure good or cartoonishly evil This is somewhat remediated in this book, but only with one single character, and not in the most realistic way The character in question goes from pure black to pure white in the span of a few days, instead of just being grey and making good and bad choices at the same time.I mentioned in my review of Flame in the Mist that it reads a bit like a children s book, and I had the same feeling here At one point I was thinking about how I like the relationship between Yumi and Mariko, with Yumi struggling between jealousy and grudging respect It was nicely and subtly revealed both in the first book and here, and it made a lot of sense And then, just as I was thinking this, the next several pages went on to spell it all out in detail, and all subtlety was lost I felt the author should have trusted the readersto find out some things on their own.And speaking of Yumi, while I like her, I wasn t a fan of her complaining how her brother doesn t let her join them in the woods Even if she joins him, she ll be just onefighter If she stays where she is, she can provide valuable intelligence and is muchuseful A mature person would have seen that and made the sacrifice, but the book presented it as if Yumi should aspire to go to the woods and join the guys.I have never before commented on a book s editing because I believe a few typos here and there can happen to anyone However, the editing here was horrible to the point of distraction Typos were literally on every page, sometimes multiple times per pages It was the worst when characters names were misspelled, which made me wonder if a different form of the name was used to signify something, but that was never the case Mariko s name was written as Maniko or Manko multiple times At one point, Okami called her Lady Manko twice within a single page, and I started thinking I ve missed something, and he s calling her that on purpose and it has some meaning But then I googled it, and wow, I really really don t think Okami meant to call her that I understand traditionally published books sometimes face strict deadlines and authors don t have the freedom to go through multiple rounds of copyediting and proofreading, but this shouldn t be tolerated I ll be very hesitant to check out anything by that publisher again The book reads like a first draft.Also, Kanako s motivations a bit of a mess view spoiler First, she wants Kenshin to kill the emperor because he has an obvious reason and it will be easy for her to pin the blame on him But then, it turns out she had already picked a boy to use as a scapegoat So does she plan to put the blame on Kenshin or not And then, the plan to kill the emperor fails, and so she turns into a spider, and instead of killing Roku herself, she kills his mother and then produces an army of zombies that kill many and nearly destroy the empire she hopes her son will rule one day hide spoiler Pre reading comments I don t normally comment on book covers, but am I the only one who thinks the colors don t work together I see they were going for a red heart, but yellow dragons would look much better against the purple background, in my opinion Or maybe light pink dragons Who invented duologies No, but really, since when is it okay for a series with such unique content and loveable characters to end so soon Yes, I am in mourning I should be celebrating, because that ending is priceless, the author wrapped things up very nicely, but instead I am suffering from Flame in the Mist withdrawal Just when you start caring for the protagonists so much they are stolen away from you Hatred for duologies aside, I have to admit I admire Ren e Ahdieh for knowing when to s Who invented duologies No, but really, since when is it okay for a series with such unique content and loveable characters to end so soon Yes, I am in mourning I should be celebrating, because that ending is priceless, the author wrapped things up very nicely, but instead I am suffering from Flame in the Mist withdrawal Just when you start caring for the protagonists so much they are stolen away from you Hatred for duologies aside, I have to admit I admire Ren e Ahdieh for knowing when to stop It s better she stops then goes on to develop her series some , only to go in the wrong direction and ruin everything, like previous authors have done Maybe Divergent should have been a duology after all.Whereas the first book took me no less than ten full hours to read, Smoke in the Sun read particularly and unexpectedly well Don t get me wrong, Flame in the Mist mesmerized me, but boy did I have to push through at times The story is incredibly interesting nonetheless, but even my imaginary turtle moves faster than that.It s like the author heard my prayers because I was able to finish this in two sittings and didn t have to force myself one second I ll come clean and say that I forgot who most of the characters were, so I even had to Google them at some point Ren e does introduce them again in the beginning, but my brain couldn t process.Fortunately, theI read, themy memory resurfaced, and so did my love for Mariko Strong female characters arepresent than ever in YA fantasy books, but not all understand their worth like Mariko does She knows she deserves to be free and loving a man does not mean giving everything up for him in the process Without necessarily realizing it, she is fighting for equal rights.You go, girl Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin

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