Smoke in the Sun

Smoke in the Sun

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'...

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Title:Smoke in the Sun
Author:Renee Ahdieh
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Smoke in the Sun Reviews

  • Emily May

    Okay, I'm going to be honest about something: I remember enjoying the arc I read of

    last year but, before reading this book, I couldn't remember anything that happened. In fact, I wasn't sure I was going to continue with the duology. When I was lucky enough to get an arc of this sequel, I figured I'd just give it a shot.

    Okay, I'm going to be honest about something: I remember enjoying the arc I read of

    last year but, before reading this book, I couldn't remember anything that happened. In fact, I wasn't sure I was going to continue with the duology. When I was lucky enough to get an arc of this sequel, I figured I'd just give it a shot.

    It makes me sad to think I might not have continued with this series and missed out on a lot of enjoyment.

    I find myself remembering why I enjoy Ahdieh's writing so much. Her descriptions of the setting (a fantasy inspired by feudal Japan) are detailed and stunning. She really captures the place where the story is set. She's one of those authors who makes every scene feel a little bit magical, even when nothing supernatural is happening.

    is a less romantic book than

    , which is just fine by me. The relationship was left in a good place in the first book and I'm glad Ahdieh moved on to more important things instead of prolonging the angst. Here, Mariko finds herself in Heian Castle, playing the part of dutiful bride-to-be to the Emperor's younger brother, while the Emperor Roku himself becomes ever more violent and vindictive.

    The perspective of the novel frequently switches to secondary characters to offer more depth to them and more layers to the story. Indeed, the secondary characters were even more interesting to me than Mariko and Okami. From Kanako, the former Emperor's scheming consort, to Kenshin, Mariko's brother and dedicated samurai who never got over losing the girl he loved. Characters who at first appear to be villains turn out to be more complex, which I love.

    I love how this book shows a world where, on the surface, powerful men battle it out to be on top, but behind the scenes there are also powerful women pulling the strings. Mariko's friendships with Yumi and Suke offer a delightful break from the action and violence, and show that there is great power in one woman helping another.

    . Ahdieh's future in YA looks set to follow writers like Bardugo and Maas: a balance of magic, drama, action and romance that is a guaranteed bestseller.

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  • Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    A wonderful conclusion to a duology that’s built upon its predecessor to create a magical world with colourful characters set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan. The story follows almost immediately after the conclusion of

    , with little time to catch your breath before the action begins. We find Mariko being transported to the Emperors palace to meet her future husband, the emperor’s eldest illegitimate son Raide

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    A wonderful conclusion to a duology that’s built upon its predecessor to create a magical world with colourful characters set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan. The story follows almost immediately after the conclusion of

    , with little time to catch your breath before the action begins. We find Mariko being transported to the Emperors palace to meet her future husband, the emperor’s eldest illegitimate son Raiden. Okami is captured, bound in chains beneath the same palace, and Kenshen is still dealing with the aftermath of his misdemeanours, with blood on his hands and his loyalty to his new emperor called into question.

    This felt immediately like a more mature and well developed novel compared to the previous instalment. The characters are well established, allowing the author to build up an emotional connection with the reader. Mariko is now not only a fierce and confident ‘spy’, but also a source of inspiration to those around her - especially Yumi, who can see a similar conflict she shares with her own brother in Mariko. There’s also a certain amount of jealously over her ability to be readily accepted for who she really is by the Black Clan, which gives Yumi the strength to follow her own path based on Mariko’s courage. It was good to see both characters flourish after a promising introduction in The Flame In The Mist. As usual, Marko’s interactions with Okami are suitably tense and filled with the right level of passion to propel their love story throughout the novel.

    I was surprised to find that my favourite character in the novel was actually Raiden. A deeply complex character, the older brother forced to serve a younger brother, brought up to hate him yet still resolutely loyal and protective of him. There are feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and a growing respect for his would-be bride Mariko that spills over into protection - not only for her, but the whole court. Kanako, his mother, is similar in her initial complexity. Again, she’s fiercely loyal to her son but I found that she was a little more reserved in her personality with little backstory to support her overall scheme and justify her actions. I wanted to know more about why Kanako made the various choices she makes throughout the novel, and also how.

    The world building is subtle, with talk of demons and a complex magical system that binds humans to various creatures via a sacrifice. However, I felt it needed developing a bit more, and was lacking in detail. This was perhaps my main issue with Kanako, who’s story and plan is so closely linked to these demons that with a ore in-depth explanation of her journey and process to becoming ‘one’ with her various demons, I might have understood her more.

    Other themes through the novel included the pattern of accepting responsibility for your actions and the idea that respect should be earned not given freely. Roku, as Emperor, has no one to keep him in check, allowing him to grow sadistic and mad with rage. Theres no empathy or compassion for his elders and respected council, leading to anarchy and destruction in his city. There’s no honour or goodness, unlike Okami, who has the respect and loyalty of his Black Clan family and the ability to lead where anyone will follow. They’re the light and darkness to the story and perfect opposites and the eventual showdown between the two demonstrates this well.

    I enjoyed this thoroughly, and thought it was a refreshing YA fantasy novel that covered some important themes in an entertaining way. A great addition to the genre.

  • Beth

    Thank you to NetGally for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.

    4 Stars!

    I originally didn’t know what to think going into this, I thought

    was okay, and had no idea where the journey would take us, but this was SO good! I have to admit I had hit a bit of a reading slump part way through this for a number of reasons, I wasn’t as engaged as what I would of liked. There’s a lot

    Thank you to NetGally for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.

    4 Stars!

    I originally didn’t know what to think going into this, I thought

    was okay, and had no idea where the journey would take us, but this was SO good! I have to admit I had hit a bit of a reading slump part way through this for a number of reasons, I wasn’t as engaged as what I would of liked. There’s a lot of build up going on and a lot of plotting on what is to come. So to say it was a slow burn is pretty accurate. However the last 50% of this book was SO well executed. I honestly didn’t want to put it down, I was so engrossed and hanging on edge for what was to come.

    This time around we saw a lot more characters from the empire; in relation to this Raiden, Roku and both mothers. My god, this family is a hot mess with so much going on, but I LOVED it. Did I see myself kind of low key loving

    ? Not a chance. Did it happen? HOW COULD IT NOT! It just snuck up on me out of nowhere, and I honestly loved seeing his character develop into something so much more than what I originally thought.

    is so evil, and you can see him become more and more engrossed in his power and what that did to him (in relation to other events that happened throughout).

    is another character I didn’t expect to enjoy half as much as what I did! I loved discovering all of her secrets and what she did and her parts played, I just. Ahhhhh it was so good!

    is such a well developed character, we see her grow from strength to strength and not only that but helps others see their worth. Although she has to face difficulties in this journey I liked seeing her thought process, especially in regards to the front she puts on, and how she focuses on other things that happened in her life to show a specific emotion. Then we have

    , this time around I kind of missed him because for me personally he did nothing of interest. It was interesting to learn parts of his back story, but I missed him and The Black Clan this time around.

    What I

    - The plotting and the deception, it was very very juicy

    - The complicated relationship between Kenshin and Mariko, they both had very different opinions on matters and how to act, but Kenshins small gestures without Marikoeven realising.

    - THE MURDERS

    - THE WEDDING, arrows flying everywhere!

    - Raidens redemption. I love that boy. Sorry, not sorry.

    - Revenge. It was great!

    - THE FINAL BLOW I was low key smiling with happiness

    What I

    - I don’t know if I missed it, but I’m not really sure what happened to a lot of characters at the end?

    - Parts of the book (for me) the pacing as just a little bit too slow to begin with

    - I missed The Black Clan

    Overall I really enjoyed the final book in this duo logy, I’m kind of sad it’s over because I got very very invested in Raiden to say the least. It was jam packed with action, and I kind of need more.

    - 3.5 Stars

    Smoke in the Sun - 4 Stars

  • Lola  Reviewer

    Who invented duologies?

    No, but really, since when is it okay for a series with such unique 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

    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 s

    Who invented duologies?

    No, but really, since when is it okay for a series with such unique 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

    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 more, only to go in the wrong direction and ruin everything, like previous authors have done.

    Maybe

    should have been a duology after all.

    Whereas the first book took me no less than ten full hours to read,

    read particularly and unexpectedly well. Don’t get me wrong,

    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 that.

    It’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 process.

    Fortunately, the more I read, the more my memory resurfaced, and so did my love for Mariko. Strong female characters are more 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 equal rights.

    You go, girl.

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  • Suzanne

    This one was more political than Flame in the Mist. However, like Flame in the Mist it had some really awesome moments throughout the book. I really enjoyed this duology more than I thought I would when Flame in the Mist first came out. In my opinion, the characters had a lot more depth and detail to them than in the first book. I did have a couple moments when it was a bit blah for me but there were way more awesome moments that make those blah moments worth it. Those last few chapters were com

    This one was more political than Flame in the Mist. However, like Flame in the Mist it had some really awesome moments throughout the book. I really enjoyed this duology more than I thought I would when Flame in the Mist first came out. In my opinion, the characters had a lot more depth and detail to them than in the first book. I did have a couple moments when it was a bit blah for me but there were way more awesome moments that make those blah moments worth it. Those last few chapters were complete WHOA & WOW moments.

    My quick and simple overall: a great conclusion to this duology with a great plot and awesome characters.

  • Alyssa

    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.

    THE TITLE IS

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

    I'VE READ THE FIRST BOOK AND YUP THAT ENDING THAT BOOK THAT ROMANCE THAT OKAMI I NEED EVERYTHING TO BE OKAYYYYYYYYYYYY. *grabby hands*

    HAVEN'T EVEN READ THE FIRST BOOK BUT WANT THIS SO BADLY!!!!!!!

  • Warda

    LET’S GO! 🤩

    Probably my most anticipated book for June!

  • destini mia

    that feeling when you finished book 1 and realize book 2 probably won't be out for another year

    and that you've

    why would i do myself like this

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    I love this cover, and I love the fact that it's got this gorgeous woman of color on it, and I

    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.

  • Elena May

    I don't normally comment on book covers, but am I the only one who thinks the colors don't work together?

    I see they were going for a red heart, but yellow dragons would look much better against the purple background, in my opinion. Or maybe light pink dragons?

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