Flame in the Mist Spoilers

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb

Overview

Mariko is betrothed to the Emperor’s son, the spare, and although she doesn’t want to she  agrees for the sake of family (remember this important detail-sake of family).  On her way, Mariko’s convoy is set ablaze killing everyone except Mariko and as she barely escapes she hears the murderer’s but doesn’t see them. HELL bent on finding the murderers, Mariko suspects the infamous Black Clan and she infiltrates the Clan to see if they are the culprits.

So one of my beefs with this book is that Mariko chooses Okami over her brother.  WTF?  I understand that she likes being with the Clan because it gives her freedom (mostly because she continuously reminded us) but did it have to be at the expense of her brother? Her father, yes but not her brother who did everything he could to find and help her.

I didn’t understand a lot about this book.  So Nobutaba was hired by Kanako to kill Mariko-why? Was there a motive? Did I miss it?  My co-podcaster and I concluded that Kanako didn’t like Mariko’s father because of his political aspirations and she wanted Kaiden to be the Shogun?  If you know her motives, please tell me.  Was the night beast in the beginning not Kanako and was Ranamo?  If so, what kind of magic do these people have and why is it not discussed in the book? Magic doesn’t seem to be a normal thing in this world yet when Mariko sees Okami do magic she only asks once and doesn’t seem fascinated by it.

Another thing I don’t understand is why Okami and Ranamo switched places.  After Mariko left Yumi, she saw a magical beast and said it was Ranamo and that he knew she was a girl the entire time.  How did she know it was Ranamo?

Why did the empress kill the emperor? Does she not like the way he reigns and she wants her son to take over or does she want her son the be Shogun? Once again, no explanation.

Renee’s writing style kills me because she sets up certain situations as a means to an end and the situations are either too obvious or do not drive the plot.  The sequence at the first bar for example.  The confrontation with that giant guy and the clan had nothing to do with the plot and it was only used to introduce Okami and his powers.  That guy does not come back.  When Mariko first enters the tea house with the geishas.  It is obvious that she’s going to stick her nose up at these ladies because she believes they are nothing but pleasure for men.  I knew immediately that Yumi was going to be a set up for Mariko’s growth and sure enough… Amaya was used to create tension between Kenshin and his father and even though she’s not dead, she’s just a means to an end.  It would have been a better plot device to use Mariko as Kenshin’s achilles’ heel and not a love interest.

Why would Mariko make weapons for people she knows is going to kill her people?  Why didn’t Mariko warn her brother that the clan was going to come after the family?  She broke her neck to warn the clan that Kenshin was coming.

Too many issues.

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