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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 33 star ratings
3 reviews

Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
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  • 5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    Highly entertaining

    I really enjoyed this book. I went into it not really knowing what to expect. I hadn't read anything by Renée Ahdieh before this book but had heard great things about her work. I saw so many comparisons of this book to Mulan that I was a little fearful that this would just be a rehashing of a very familiar story. I had no reason to worry since this was really a very original story. This was one of those books that I found myself thinking about during the times that I couldn't read. Mariko is on her way to be married when her entourage is attacked. She is able to escape to safety but she has no idea how long she will be able to remain safe. She decides to dress as a boy and find the group that tried to kill her. She does find them and is eventually taken back to their camp. Things start out hard at the camp and she is treated as a prisoner. Eventually, she earns some trust and gets to know some of the members of the group. The way this story was written really just pulled me in. Everything flowed so perfectly and the pacing was well done. I liked this author's voice a lot. It seemed that the words all came together almost magically to create a story that was beautiful and entertaining. There are a lot of really exciting scenes that are offset by others that are more thoughtful. The characters were amazing. Mariko is smart and determined. She learns a lot of really hard truths over the course of this story and is able to accept them and decide how to proceed with her life. Okami was a bit of a mystery which I really liked. He was obviously drawn to Mariko almost immediately and I liked the tension between them. They had some really great banter that was a lot of fun. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is a really great start to a new and exciting series. I seriously did not want it to end and can't wait to find out what happens next! I received an advance reader edition of this book from G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers via First to Read.
  • 4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    Fantastic plot but....

    What caught my attention initially was the promise of a story filled with adventure, romance, and most importantly, a heroine who's brave and smart. The story started off well, as we see Mariko, our heroine, who is shipped off to be the bride of one of Emperor's son. Then her envoy was attacked and everything goes to hell from there on. No spoilers will be given, but I have to say that the author has a lot of great story ideas that felt promising, and if carried on well, would have made this story truly engaging. Here lies the problem. Each story idea/point is never properly followed through. We are thrown a new story point in a chapter...and it's never heard of again. Or even if it's mentioned again, it's glossed over and I end up thinking that I've skipped a few pages by accident (I haven't). This gets rather annoying after awhile, especially since the story points are really promising, and I can imagine how they could add to the plot and make it even more engaging to us readers. Another downside to this story is the pacing. Maybe it's due to the constraint of having to squeeze so much in one book, but I feel like the pacing is rather rushed and abrupt and this makes me feel disoriented and rather confused at times. Where was the character building? Why was she/he suddenly acting this way? What/Why/How/Huh? Lastly, the female lead. I really, really tried to like her. According to the premise, she sounded like the kind of female lead I would love. Smart, brave, and a survivor. Instead, we get a female lead who is none of the above. We're always told in the story about how smart she is. Emphasis on 'told'; we never actually see why she's smart. All her 'smart' acts feel hollow so I'm not left dazzled in wonderment of how smart and cool our heroine is. Brave? More like arrogant and condescending. She always thinks that she can outsmart the people around her, that her wit is her greatest weapon, that everyone else around here is surely not able to reach her level of intelligence. Gah, she just comes off as an arrogant little girl who's kinda delusional, I'm sorry. All in all, this story held so much promise of a great story but it comes off as hollow, rushed and just a missed opportunity. I will read the sequel just because I really see so much promise in this story. But for now, I'll go back to my fanfictions (another point I noted was how this story felt like a rushed out fanfiction story plot, which gave me mixed feelings).
  • 0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

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    Fantasy-romance with Japanese touch

    Intriguing start, and some nice cultural details. You'd have to like fantasy-romances to stay hooked

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