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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.3 out of 5
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All Book Reviews

  • good sequel

    The sequel/finale to Flame in the Mist was as unexpected in its storyline as the first - though I don't know why I expected familiar tropes to play out in the book. It takes the story in a different direction than I had assumed, with more depth to the characters in this installment, with some backstories, and continues the theme of duty and honor. Mariko is in the palace, trying to get Okami out, while also trying to be a backup for the Black Clan over there. Meanwhile, Raiden's mother has put in motion plans that would help her son take the throne; plans which not many people know about and in which Kenshin is trapped. As for Raiden, who seemed to be brute, there is another side of him coming to light in this book, as he starts to see Roku for who he really is. There were some plot points that I thought were going to be significant but didn't turn out to be (like that enchanted sword) and I did feel that the ending was a bit too rushed, even if it ended well. Overall, it is a satisfactory sequel and good conclusion to the duology.

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  • Nearly Great

    A satisfying conclusion to this dramatic samurai epic! The story follows old and new characters as they come to terms with not only their enemies but their inner demons as well. I found it to be a romantically written epic with some memorable character arcs, complex choices, and excellent drama. Seeing Mariko grow into a powerful woman who makes her own choices and does the right thing was very inspired. I never doubted her actions or the reasons for them. I loved her arc so much and following on her adventures. Kenshin's story broke my heart a little bit, since he's always been my favourite character. I didn't quite get the closure I wanted from his arc, though I did enjoy many of the scenes he was in. Surprisingly, one of my favourite storylines was the one between Raiden and his brother Roku. A truly tragic bond between these brothers that led to some challenging moments and an excellent arc from Raiden. It was the storyline I didn't know I wanted until I had it! The biggest problem for me with this book was the pacing. It moved a little slower than the previous book, and while there were some action scenes, much of the story focused on character drama and growth. That is in no way a bad thing, since I found plenty of enjoyment there, but I hoped for a little more action, especially at the end. It seemed a little anticlimactic. My other big complaint is that the actual falling action, where the final fates of the surviving characters are revealed, much of it is left too open ended. I enjoy theatre of the mind, but there were some arcs that I feel could have been closed way better, or at least have some more context to them. All in all, this wasn't the ending I expected, but the story proved to be dramatic, epic, and beautifully written. Still recommended for fans of Mulan, samurai epics, and undying love stories!

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