The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.
So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.
The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.
THIS WAS SO GOOD. I didn’t think I was going to love this as much as I did, but wow.
Mariko was on her way to the City of Inako when her convoy is suddenly raided and massacred. She barely escapes with her life, and she is out for revenge on The Black Clan. The people she believes are responsible for the attack and murder of her companions.
The romance in this book just sneaks up on you. I don’t know how to describe it. My friend asked me if it was a slow burn romance or not, and I couldn’t really answer her directly. It’s just that when the romance was suddenly given focus, it surprised me, and I suddenly realized “oh yeah, I’m completely in love with this guy”. I’m not telling you guys who, it will be better to find out for yourselves, but let me just tell you that he is so ugh I don’t even know what to call him. I was swooning so much, and it’s not because he was romantic or anything, but he was just so hot. I know, how eloquent of me, but that’s just how I feel. He was lethal, dangerous, and mysterious. I totally envy Minako. The romance was not very prominent in this book, but this paragraph that I wrote makes it seem like it was at the forefront of the book, it’s really not, I’m just fangirling.
It was frustrating to read about the sexism in this book. I felt frustrated for Mariko, and how she didn’t get to make choices about her life for the sole reason of being born a girl. I’m really glad I wasn’t born in those times, because I’m just too opinionated and I love to talk and argue about anything and everything. I guess that’s why I could relate to Marika. She wanted to prove something to other people and herself. She wasn’t just a girl that’s to be bargained off for marriage. She was smart, capable, and strong.
I think I saw the twist coming, but I wasn’t really sure, so when it was revealed I was still semi-shocked. I’m really just waiting for the next book to come out, because I NEED it.