Saturday, August 26, 2017

Audiobook review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

flame in the mist, renee ahdieh
Book Summary
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Flo's Review
I believe I've fallen prey to book expectation hype vs book reality again. This is my first experience reading a Renee Ahdieh book, but it won't be my last. I have the audiobook for The Wrath and the Dawn, and I do plan to listen to it when I can.  

But back to Flame. This was presented as a Mulan retelling, and I was ready for amazing girl powerness in the mist of advertisy, action, advance, romance, etc. What I heard was...a lot of talking and thinking. 

This is one situation where sometimes an audiobook is a disadvantage. Pages and pages of dialogue make the action seem even more stalled in an audiobook, I think. In my current situation, I listen to audiobooks when driving around town. That means that if there is a long conversation going on, I am listening to the same conversation in the morning when I drive to work, when I drive to and from for lunch, after work when I head to wherever I am headed, and so forth. Sometimes with this story, I was listening to a single conversation for several days. 

Thus, it felt to me like the story wasn't moving along. For example, I felt like the scene with Mariko where she first meets the Black Clan in the bar place took forever. I was literally listening to that same scene for several days. 

Mariko was also in her head a lot. I understand that. She is going to take drastic action, so we need to fully understand her rationalization before we can get on board with it. But I felt like so much time was spent listening to her say the same thing over and over in her head. Yes, Mariko, I know you want to find out why you were a target for the Black Clan. You've said this in your head about 27 times in the last chapter. 

Alas, I could not finish the audiobook, but as I said before, I will definitely be listening to The Wrath and the Dawn. Renee is very good and establishing setting and scenery and I am looking forward to escaping to that world.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for providing me with this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

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