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 seventeen 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, who 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, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.
“Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain. And you can do anything.”
When princess Hatori Mariko was send off to her future husband, she wasn’t happy. She knew she was just being traded for some political power and money.
She was always taught to be a tribute for her family. She was always told that all she can do is marry a prince and live under him. Just because she wasn’t a boy she can’t choose what she wants to be.
“She’d been raised for a purpose. A foolish one at that—to be the wife of an important man when she could easily have been something else. Something more. But it did not matter. She was not a boy. “
But her life takes a turn when she gets attacked by the Black Clan on her way to the Imperial city of Inako. She turns out to be the only survivor of the massacre but instead of going back to the safe hands of her family she chooses to find out who hired those men to kill her and why.
She then disguised as a boy, finds the Black Clan and gets abducted by them. Abducted can’t be the right word to describe it. She was more like recruited, trained and tortured by them.
She goes through many difficulties and changes on her way to freedom; to prove that she can live her life freely without a man.
While her brother, Dragon of Kai aka Hatori Kenshin do everything to find her sister. While everyone thinks that she’s dead, he knew she wasn’t.
“His sister was not dead.
She was much too smart for that.”
This book was just what I imagined it to be and that is AWESOME!!!!!
This kick ass girl totally won my heart. She is one of my idol character now.
She struggles she falls but every time others look down at her she stands up again. She proves that she can survive no matter what life throws at her. It doesn’t matter if she is not a boy, she can do it by being a girl and she is not less than a man.
“She punched him again.
For all those times a man had caused her to feel fear. For all those times she’d been made to think something was wrong with her. For all those times she’d been forced to believe a girl was somehow less than a boy.”
Even after being a princess and living a luxurious life( where she doesn’t have to do anything for herself) she chose to be a warrior and live her life freely and for herself.
The Black Clan members were a never hateful for me. NEVER. EVER.Not even when they made her struggle. I always loved them. They were always my favorite. When you people will read it, you all will all agree with me.
Author didn’t let the romance cover the main motive of the book. Though it wasn’t enough for me. I would have liked it a little bit more.
Dialogues were amazing. Specially when people bicker back and fourth with her and she just end up huffy and angry. This whole thing use to be all serious type conversations but I always find it funny. More like children fighting. Cute AF.
Mariko exhaled in a miserable huff. “You’re cheating.”
“I am not useless.” She began.
“What?” She blinked
“Take the branch from me.”
Though there was a serious stuff going on but I find it more of…….cute.
Story telling was good but not that spell bounding. I wasn’t able to connect to the characters as much as I normally do. Mostly because the story was narrated by the author’s point of view and not by the character’s point of view.
Hero rating: 5 stars
Heroine rating: 5+ stars
Plot rating: 5 stars
Dialogue rating: 5 stars
Romance rating: 3.5 stars
Storytelling rating: 3.5 stars
Story ending rating: N/A
OVERALL RATING: 4.5 stars
Would I recommend this series: Yes.
Would I re-read this series: Maybe later.
Would I read future books by this author: Yes.