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Publisher's Summary

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of The Wrath and the Dawn comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan, where Mulan meets Tamora Pierce.
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 17 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, whom 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, that will force her to question everything she's ever known.
©2017 Renée Ahdieh (P)2017 Listening Library
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Kirstyn on 09-12-17

Left Feeling A Bit Lost...

I want to preface this review by first saying...I think the audiobook narrator did a fantastic job. I really do.

That said...this story left me feeling so lost and confused. Maybe, it's a story that is best read from a book, rather than audiobook. I wanted to love this story...but in the end I honestly felt like I was listening to it simply for the sake of completing what I started.

The beginning of the story had me completely captivated. As I flew through the first half, I found myself loving not only the carefully selected prose, but the mystery surrounding each character and plot point. But as the story unfolded...everything felt so...gray. For example...the poetic dialogue that each. and every. character uses throughout the novel becomes so over exhausted that I found myself daydreaming half the time. The characters blend together into an arc-less character unit. All except for the main character whose has that "I'm defiant, deal with it" attitude that I just can't bring myself to love. The action scenes had such a slow pace...a combination of what felt like run on sentences, and massive chunks of inner dialogue/narration. Then suddenly a character would die, and I'd have been so lost in the prose that I felt no emotion at all for the loss. Also...the characters have very little, if any, backstory. Which I believe the author is saving for book 2. In any case, I found them all to be un-relatable.

I believe my issue with the story overall is this...although the prose is beautifully poetic...I got so lost in began to feel unlike a story at all. No disrespect to the author intended. It just wasn't for me.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Lilian on 06-04-17

Really great!!!!

It's my first time reading anything by Renée Ahdieh. And what a book!
I must say that I do love retelings, but until I knew about this book I never had seen Mulan, so I went to see it and I loved, of course!
This book delivered and I'm really excited to know what happens next.
In the beginning it was kinda difficult to read the names of people and things, so I bought the audiobook and began to read and listen at the same time. Much better! (Eventually I dumped the book, because I was practicing brush lettering 😂).
Anyway, I totally recommend this book. One of the best reads of this year! I'm on a good streak, thank God! 😃

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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