Parents' Guide to

Smoke in the Sun: Flame in the Mist, Book 2

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Less compelling sequel still a must-read for fans.

Book Renee Ahdieh Fantasy 2018
Smoke in the Sun: Flame in the Mist, Book 2 Poster Image

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This sequel might have been better off as a trilogy, because it rushes to answer some questions while ignoring others, but it's still a must-read for all who loved the first book. Smoke in the Sun may not be as compelling a read, but author Renée Ahdieh does flesh out Mariko's growth into an independent young woman who knows who she is, who she loves, and what she's willing to sacrifice -- and do -- for the greater good. Mariko and Okami are kept apart for most of the story, separated by his literal imprisonment and her figurative imprisonment as the emperor's future sister-in-law. While Okami is tortured and taunted, Mariko must hide her true feelings toward her supposed captor and play the role of a proper bride to be. Her development from book to book is remarkable.

What's unsatisfying about this installment is that Ahdieh attempts to do way too much. Between Raiden's mother's magical powers, the sickness spreading across the land, the emperor's descent into psychopathy, the inner workings of court intrigue, and the Black Clan's rebel plans, there's a lot to digest, and most of it isn't fully explored or resolved. By the final act, a few characters' about-faces and other plot points seem too conveniently and neatly wrapped up to be believable. Ahdieh's writing is poetic and lyrical at its best, but it can occasionally cross over into overwrought. While worth reading, this series could've done with some tighter editing or even an extra book.

Book Details

  • Author: Renee Ahdieh
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Topics: Friendship
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Publication date: June 5, 2018
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
  • Number of pages: 408
  • Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: September 5, 2018

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