Literary Playlist: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Welcome to my second post of 2018! Today, I thought I’d share with you a literary playlist I made back in the fall, when I read Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh.

*Please note: This blog post was written a while ago. My thoughts, opinions, and writing skills have changed since then. Any posts written before 2020 should be assumed to not fully reflect my current thoughts, opinions, and writing capabilities unless otherwise stated. If you would like clarification on my thoughts/opinions about any specific points mentioned in this post, feel free to reach out to me.*

Welcome to my second post of 2018! Today, I thought I’d share with you a literary playlist I made back in the fall, when I read Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. I’ve made a few literary playlists, and I think they’re actually so great as a supplement for your reading. In searching for songs to add to the playlist, you sort of have to dig deeper into your reading, find central themes, and analyze a character’s motives. Although these may sound like tedious things that you may be asked to do in English class, it’s actually not–because it’s all done subconsciously while looking for the perfect songs! Also, just listening to the playlist puts you in the mood to read the book. In some cases, I’ll take songs mentioned in the book itself. For example, Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger has a ton of songs mentioned in it. Other times though, like in Flame in the Mist, there are no songs mentioned in the story; in those times, I’ll choose songs that remind me of the book. So without anymore delay, here’s five songs in my Flame in the Mist playlist!

1. Demons by Imagine Dragons

Don’t get too close / It’s dark inside / It’s where my demons hide

Ōkami glanced her way. “Don’t have expectations of me. Don’t look at me and think you should be seeing something else.”

I included this song in my playlist because I feel like it represents how Ōkami feels inside. I can imagine him saying these words to Mariko, because he has so many hidden layers within him–terrible secrets, the horrors he has witnessed…he doesn’t want her to form an attachment to him (“ichi-go, ichi-e”) so he warns her to stay away, as in the song. Not to mention, the beast inside is literally Ōkami–he’s a wolf!

2. Clarity by Zedd ft. Foxes

If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? / If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?

But perhaps…perhaps her hatred masked an emotion far more troubling than mere dislike. The same emotion Ōkami had struggled to contend with these past few weeks. Struggled to identify, especially as they’d argued with each other. Contended with each other over matters both large and small. Attraction.

I think this song perfectly represents the relationship between Ōkami and Mariko. They start out at enemies, frequently described as “bringing out the worst in each other.” They argue a lot, and are often at odds. Nevertheless, they can’t deny the feelings they have for each other.

3. Viva La Vida by Coldplay

I used to roll the dice / Feel the fear in my enemy’s eyes / Listened as the crowd would sing / Now the old king is dead long live the king

He had sought only to learn. To destroy. To know what it felt like to feel truly powerful. To truly understand what had been stolen from his family.

This song illustrates the lives of both Ōkami and Ranmaru (Tsuneoki). Both of their fathers had honor, but fell from grace. Takeda Shingen (Ōkami’s father) was a samurai executed for being wrongfully accused of treason. Asano Naganori (the father of “Ranmaru”) was also drowned because of his efforts to right his wrongs. In both ways, the fathers, so prominent, became destroyed, just like the king being defeated in Viva La Vida.

4. Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross

Back when I was a child / Before life removed all the innocence / My father would lift me high

The boy watched his father each for the short tantō blade on the small table before him. He wanted to cry for him to stop. Cry for a moment more. A single look more. Just one.

Again, this is a song that represents Ōkami’s life. Especially in the prologue, it is shown that he cared about his father deeply. His wish for another look is like the narrator in the song, who wishes for another dance.

5. I’ll Make a Man Out of You by Donny Osmond

We must be swift as a coursing river / With all the force of a great typhoon / With all the strength of a raging fire / Mysterious as the dark side of the moon

Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain.

I am adamant that this book is not a Mulan retelling. The plots are very different, besides the trope of a girl disguising herself as a man. However, I can’t help but include this song from Mulan, because of the obvious parallels these lyrics draw with this repeated passage from the book. It represents the similar mindsets of the fighters.

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts. What songs would you put in a Flame in the Mist playlist? For anyone who hasn’t read this book, I recommend it! Find it on Goodreads here. Also, if you guys want a review of the book, let me know! Meanwhile, you can listen to this actual playlist on my Spotify (follow me on there for more literary playlists!)

Author: april | lostinthebookstacks

hello! i'm april (she/her), an asian american reader who’s passionate about words and scallion pancakes.

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