Monday, 11 June 2018

Smoke in the Sun - Review

Book Review:
Title: Smoke in the Sun
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

🌸 “It had taken her losing everything she knew to finally understand. Feeling pain and sorrow was not at all a sign of weakness. It was a sign of love.” 🌸

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.

🌸 Read my review of Flame in the Mist HERE 🌸

*Word of advice guys, if it's been over a year since you've read a book, try to reread it or at least read a recap of it before starting the sequel so you're not completely lost. It will make your reading experience 100x better!*

In my opinion, Smoke in the Sun, was a great sequel and conclusion to the Flame in the Mist duology. Every single thing I loved about the first book, from the female empowerment, to the setting, the writing, the romance, and the oh so wonderful side characters was present in the finale!
This novel is without a doubt still Mariko's story - she's still a badass feminist, fighting to help everyone she can even if it puts her at risk - but I can't deny how much the side characters shone! Usually, I tend to prefer when stories focus mainly on the main character, because I get so invested in them and their story that the side characters kind of become a bore. 
This was definitely not the case with this book! All the different POVs we got (Kenshin, Kanako, Yumi etc.) were just so fantastic and kept me enthralled throughout. Especially Kanako, who is Prince Raidan's mother. Apart from Mariko's, Kanako's story was the one I was most invested in.

This book did take a while to get into. I found the first 100ish pages a bit slow, which was mostly due to me not remembering many characters and a few plot points from FitM. But once I passed the 100 page mark, I didn't want to stop reading.
Mariko has, without a doubt, become one of my favourite female protagonists! She is courageous as hell! In the first book, she had to pretend to be a boy, in this book she had to pretend to be a prim and proper lady. It definitely didn't come easy to her, having to stand at the side and basically have no say or opinions whatsoever, but she made it work. She knew she was fighting for a bigger cause, so she played the part in front of everyone, but was secretly always planning and scheming to protect the ones she loved.

Speaking of love...
The romance in the sequel was just as enchanting as the romance in the first. It's never in your face, or extremely heavy and unneeded. Renee Ahdieh manages to find the perfect balance. It's still angsty as hell and makes your heart yearn and fall even more in love with Okami and Mariko, but it's not the sole focus of the book, which I love!

I'm extremely happy with how everything ended - it all wrapped up nicely - but I will miss these characters and the beautifully rich world Renee has created.

Stealing from my review of Flame in the mist; Renee Ahdieh has weaved a beautiful story surrounding female strength with a lush Japanese culture inspired backdrop.
If you're looking for a book with a strong female protagonist, complex side characters, an imaginative world and a sweet romance, you should definitely pick up this duology!

4 Stars


  1. Love this review! I've only read the wrath and the dawn duology by renee ahdieh, but I defintely want to pick up flame in the mist and smoke in the sun now

    1. I'm the opposite - I actually haven't read TWATD. I hope you enjoy FITM, if you do ever pick it up (which I highly suggest you do!)

  2. Great review!! I just finished Flame in the Mist and I’m still dying from that ending— looks like I really need to get this one asap! You should definitely pick up The Wrath in the Dawn—Renee Ahdieh’s writing is gorgeous as always and if you like Mariko, I think you’ll really like Shazi. :)

    1. Thank you!
      After reading the FITM duology, I've definitely added The Wrath and the Dawn to my TBR - hopefully I can read it soon, because Renee's writing is truly amazing x