I have a lot of thoughts about this book. And sadly most of them are not very positive. But I did enjoy parts of this book too. Which is why I had planned on giving this three stars, but after thinking about it some more, most of this story just disappointed me. And so I cannot give it three stars just because. It was not worth that.
There is so much I wish to talk about when it comes to Smoke in the Sun. I will try not to share too many spoilers, but yeah, there are things that must be written down. And I very much need to share my honest feelings about this book. First, I liked Flame in the Mist so much. And I had hoped this sequel would be even better. Instead it ended up being so incredibly boring and full of open endings. Just about nothing happened in this one. Nothing of import. And I feel so disappointed about it all. I liked the writing in book one, but it felt different in this one. And so I had issues connecting to the story. There are a lot of new stories to learn about, and they all had such open endings, and they all felt so rushed, and I failed to connect to any of it. Disappointed.
This book tells the rest of the story about Mariko. She is now at the royal castle and about to marry the brother of the emperor. While her love, Okami, is trapped in the prison. Where he is tortured all the time. It was not written very well. Should have been sad and such, but it was not, because there was not any comfort to be had after it. I'm so disappointed. This story is about Mariko and her choices. Sadly she does not do very much. I wish I could say more about the plot, but there really isn't much to say about this one.
After the Yumi short story, I expected her to be in this book a lot. She was not. She is barely there. She does not really do anything at all. I'm hugely disappointed. There are a lot of point of views in this book. Including Mariko's brother, again. And gosh, how I disliked this man. He kept getting worse and worse. Not once did he see this. We did not get to see an ending for him either. He was simply there to be awful. And honestly not make much sense either. His point of view bored me so. And it was awful to read it too.
Most of this book is from Mariko. Probably. I'm unsure, because there were a lot of views from so many different people. And it grew to be pretty boring, because they were there for just a moment, then nothing more. I so wish that I could say that I loved Okami once again. But I did not. He was just in this book to be tortured. And not on page either. He changed a little in the book, realizing that he needed to be more of a leader. Yet we do not get to see this leader thing at all. It could have been so great. But it was not there.
The romance. Gosh, the romance. Haha. This beautiful cover features a stunning heart. Which kind of screams romance. But the romance in this second book was incredibly bad. There was so little of it. I think they touch only a couple of times, at the end of the book. Sure, there are thoughts of love all the time, but they are not together for just about the whole book. It only takes place in less than two weeks, but even so. I'm so very disappointed. The romance was amazing in book one. It was not so in this one.
There is so much that could have been in this book. I was expecting it to be full of romance and fighting and more adventure. And more of the amazing Black Clan. But it had neither of these things. Instead it was all about court. And not written in a good way either. It was mostly about the two brothers. How the emperor is cruel and tortures and kills people all the time, even very much described torture of a twelve year old boy. That did not need to be there. Just saying. And the other brother was not that much better.
Just, yeah. I'm disappointed in this book. A lot of it was about Mariko wanting to get Okami out of prison, sure. They talked a little. But their romance was not epic like I expected it to be. And The Black Clan? Hahaha. They were barely there. For very very small moments. And there were a few deaths too, and it just meant nothing. This whole book meant just about nothing. Because barely anything happened. The first two hundred pages were so slow and boring and ahh. Still cannot believe how little this book was.
And now I have already shared way more than I had planned to. And yet not nearly all of my feelings about it. Mostly I just wish this book had been epic. And fantasy. And exciting. And romantic. Like it was supposed to be. Instead it was boring and just not good. I'm so sad about it, because I really wanted and thought that I would love it. Still, I am glad I read this series. Huge thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending me the free ARC copy of this book to read and review. Love my copy so much.