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. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known
Once again this is a NetGalley copy that I have had lingering around on my Kindle forever. After receiving a copy in my FairyLoot I finally gave in and read it… honestly I was a tad bit disappointed.
Personally I thought the writing style a little unnecessarily over complicated, it took a while to get used to but it was beautifully descriptive.
Knowing minimal about Japan and Japanese culture and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. I love books set in different times and places. From what I have heard Ahdieh did a great job, supposedly quite accurate with regards to traditions and cultures.
I knew the general plot before I started the book, and managed to guess the rest with in the first couple of chapters which did make three-quarters of the book quite dull. I would definitely class it as a slow and steady read. I was desperate for some more action; fighting, blood shed, killing, anything!
I found the plot over complicated and blurred in some places but loved the crossover between this world and another, with the introduction of other world beasts.
Although I found it slow-paced in places and the writing wasn’t what I was used, overall I did enjoy the book. I won;t be queueing in line to get the next one I would probably give it a shot.
Overall it was a strong 3 STAR read.
You can check out the authors… HERE
Thank you NetGalley, Renée Ahdieh & Hodder & Stoughton
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