Monday, September 26, 2016

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Title: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Release Date: September 27, 2016

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 448

Received: Publisher

Star Rating: ★ ★ ★  

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.
The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . .  [goodreads]

My Thoughts

This may not seem like a high rating for a Rosamund Hodge novel because I've loved her previous dark, eerie novels. I can't help but feel a bit disappointed in this one. The premise intrigued me because I read Romeo and Juliet and the idea of how different scenarios pan out is so cool. But the problem was, I couldn't explain it to a friend. I was somewhat confused throughout the novel because the world was so huge, I couldn't keep up with the complexity. 

But once I got to the half way mark, it all clicked and I've fully realized what was going on. The writing didn't feel as special as in her previous works. There were of course threats in the novel. There were revenants and reapers, etc, Even though the romance between Romeo and Juliet was a bit dim, this world was so big and with there being more conflict, it was satisfying. A great character in the novel, Runajo was another hero saving the day from revenants. I enjoyed the magical surrealism in this retelling because it almost feels like another relic in history.

Also, the first thing I read about of the description is Romeo and Juliet retelling. I'm sad to say there's less Romeo and Juliet romance except in flashbacks, but there's more retelling. A countless amount of twists and turns, I'm 50/50 puzzled and interested. Additionally, I love being kept on the balls of my feet and this book did just that.

This first installment was full of tremendous detail, creativity, power, and eerie storytelling that would interest anyone in the classics.



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