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Smoke in the Sun 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 ITUpdate 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 handsAugust 2016HAVEN'T EVEN READ THE FIRST BOOK BUT WANT THIS SO BADLY that feeling when you finished book 1 and realize book 2 probably won't be out for another year at least and that you've played yourselfwhy would i do myself like this 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 “She would not turn back on what defined her”It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the best it could’ve been for me I felt like it almost lulled into a false sense of security because the beginning was that good Firstly this book had uite a few typos Editors what the hell? Secondly it started off great I was so excited to be back in this world again as I loved Flame in the MistAt the beginning of the story we were re introduced to the characters again and others their struggles and their inner turmoils was spoken about in great detail Events that took place in the last book were now affecting the kingdom and its people and we were seeing how that was impacting certain individuals which I really really enjoyed reading but the society as a whole wasn't looked at in as much detail The development of each of those characters and Ahdieh really diving into the dynamics of each of them was awesome to read Their voices were distinct the writing gorgeously rich It truly carries you away into the world and into the minds of the charactersThis carried on up to the half way point alongside the court intrigue and then that’s when things slowly started to fall apart What I had a issue with was the plot As well as the ending but the politics of the world was slightly flimsy and not concrete The tyrant that took over after his father acted like an annoying child not getting his way It would’ve been nice to get his perspective and delve into his mindset and cruelty it was there despite the child comment but we weren’t given any His character arc would’ve been so intriguing Or we should have had a better introduction in Book 1 as the sibling rivalry aspect played such an important role as well as Kanako and her powers which I loved but needed off The ending was annoyingly rushed It’s frustrating because there was so much build up at the beginning which was incredible and so well done Then everything about the characters their development and the plot was crammed in and finalised It felt unfulfilling I really do like this duology enough The emphasis on Mariko fighting for her beliefs establishing her own identity was really honed in Feminism 101 If only there was substance to it all THE REVIEW IS POSTEDFlame in the Mist ★★★★ my reviewSmoke in the Sun ★★★½37 STARS I would rather die for love than stand by and watch my love perish My Opinion TimeTo be honest I still can't believe that I have finished reading this book because I remember reading the first book months ago and I loved it and after I finished reading the first book I felt like there was something missing inside of me and the seuel would fill this missing piece in me So I was really excited and happy when this book arrived at my house and it was like a pure happiness for me It was like the best day ever in the week it probably was But sadly I didn't love it as much as I thought I would Well I still liked the book but I didn't love it It wasn't amazing but it was a pretty good read for me The Pacing and Plot Actually before reading this book I had already expected that this book would be slow but I did not expect that it would be this slow It was sooooo slow and I felt like there was too much information It's not like I didn't need those information but my God that was too much information for me and honestly I totally would skim reading this book if it weren't for a certain character and the writing style but I didn't do it and I am so proud of myself for being able to be that patient when the book was soooooooo slow hahahaha and now about the plot well the plot was good enough but oh my God there were some brutal scenes and it was brutal enough to make me uncomfortable grimaced averted my eyes and I kept wanting to skim reading when I read those brutal scenes but I didn't do that because I was afraid I would miss something important and I still remember those scenes in my mind and I want to forget them so badly I just don't want to remember them Those make me afraid and uncomfortable The Romance In my opinion this book filled with too much actions and not enough romance There was indeed romance in this book but for me it's not enough I wanted romance scenes between two characters I adored and even though the romance was not much I still liked it and omg the romantic bond between Mariko and the love interest was soooooo sweet and fiercely strong and THIS IS MY RELATIONSHIP GOALS Their love for each other was so strong and they respected each other and they loved and treated each other eually and it honestly brought tears to my eyes because that was exactly what I wanted to read and this is also what I want in real life While I was reading this book I kept wishing and hoping that one day I hopefully would get a man like him The romantic relationship between Mariko and the love interest was just so beautiful Ours is a love stronger than fear and deeper than the sea he said softly The Characters Mariko was determined fierce and strong She's honestly like an inspiration for me and I felt as if there was this connection between me and her I was just so proud of Mariko and I always agreed with her and nodding along with all of her decisions She's certainly one of my favorite characters that has inspired me In this book we also get know about Yumi and I liked Yumi but not as much as I liked Mariko I don't know what else to say I'm speechless SPOILERview spoiler At first I hated Raiden because of what he did to Okami and I just couldn't take it and I was so furious that he tortured Okami but then later on he changed into someone that I surprisingly liked Well I am still angry of what he did to Okami NO ONE SHOULD HURT MY CRUSH but I don't think he's that person that I used to hate so I'm just so conflicted okay and about the ending I did like the ending It was beautiful to read and I was happy that Mariko and Okami were together and they were getting married but I was not really satisfied because I still wanted to know I wanted to know about Amaya and Kenshin and now that Amaya was free from the enchanted tree I wanted to know about what happened to the Black Clan In my opinion the ending was too fast or ended too fast But I still liked it Now I can sleep soundly at night knowing Okami is fine because I swear I kept thinking about him and worried about him while I was reading this book I just couldn't sleep tightly but now I can hide spoiler renee ahdieh is the ueen of duologies she has mastered the art of giving just enough of the story to satisfy the reader not too much and not too little; just the right amount it felt like this was the yin to the ‘flame in the mist’ yang where the first book was very fast paced and daring this was calm and calculating so neat how one whole story can come together with two completely different halves and whilst i am than satisfied with the conclusion of this story i cant help but feeling i preferred the first book i think thats because the main characters spent a great majority of the book separated and i feel like they grabbed my attention when they were together i also preferred the feel and style of the first book this was a tad bit slow for my likingbut overall another fantastic series by a wonderful author cant wait to see what she comes up with next ↠ 45 stars I do wish this series was a trilogy though I love this cover and I love the fact that it's got this gorgeous woman of color on it and I love that Renee herself had a hand in ensuring that the color scheme still complimented the US hardback of the first book just so people wouldn't feel like their covers mismatched 3 Precious “Respect is not a thing granted It is a thing earned” A 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 into characters and the magic system—something I sorely missed in the first bookMy 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 uestion 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 timeI 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 readers to find out some things on their ownAnd 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 one fighter If she stays where she is she can provide valuable intelligence and is much useful 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 guysI 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 draftAlso Kanako’s motivations a bit of a mess view spoilerFirst 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 Who invented duologies?No but really since when is it okay for a series with such uniue 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 Renée 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 allWhereas 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 thatIt’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 Renée does introduce them again in the beginning but my brain couldn’t processFortunately the I read the my memory resurfaced and so did my love for Mariko Strong female characters are present 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 eual rightsYou go girl Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google | Bloglovin’