November 1, 2016

Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

**Review copy provided through Edelweiss for an honest review.**

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled, book 1) by Rosamund Hodge

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire  (Untitled #1)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
(Retelling Romeo and Juliet)
Edition Reviewed: Ebook
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: Bright smoke, cold Fire (1)

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 pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . .


"Romeo and Juliet meets Sabriel"

Those were the words that first appeared in the synopsis space, and I was sold. Despite the fact that I am not a Romeo and Juliet fan. I will always pick any other Shakespeare work over that one. However, I respect it immensely. Not to mention that I have serious author love/obsession for Hodge. So I knew she'd just blow my mind. However, this is not anywhere close to Sabriel. Though I do see where some very minor similarities may be compared. I acknowledge it. Such as the idea of walking into death. However, Romeo+Juiet+Zombies+Necromancers would be more apt.

Now let me address one of my main dislikes with the whole Romeo and Juliet love story: it's one of the original instalove crap fests. Piled with a huge amount of angst on top. No matter the pretty words, I never bought their love. Sorry. Instalove ain't real. Looks and lust was what always convinced me was their motivations. They killed themselves out of stupidity. So my biggest fear going into this was at what point in Juliet and Romeo's love story would it start at? Hmmmm? Well it's at the end and they're about to die.

Pretty darn thrilling if you ask me.

Hodge does a wonderful job at inserting flashbacks to twist the original story into a much better romance. I dug it. Sure, it is instalove. Yet even Romeo admitted that it wasn't immediate and that it did take action not looks to sway his heart. So points there. They also had TIME to fall in love and interact with each other.

Hodge's writing is so beautiful and I loved her turn of phrase. Especially when she would take the iconic lines or moments of the original story. Even poking fun at Romeo. He is a bit of a silly boy, but I like that Hodge made him seem more realistic as she developed her version of Romeo.

Juliet is pretty bad ass. I won't lie. Though she's very distant and it's surprising that she would fall for foolish Romeo. At first. Again well done to Hodge. I could see why she fell for him. Though there is a coldness to Juliet's character that kept me at arms length. In fact, that happened to more than one character. The other female lead Runajo. Both girls are immensely fascinating. They're eventual friendship was cool. (Some WOMANCE going on!) However, these ladies are missing some humanity. Interesting and complex doesn't even cover their pasts and lives. Though at many times I could very easily see them as serial killers. Someone even kind of calls Runajo out on it. Runajo has issues getting in touch with her human emotions. (You know, she's puts them in a box. Puts that box in another box . . . )

So yeah, it's complicated.

The odd thing is that I had more fun when Paris was telling the story. Especially as he and Romeo develop their bromance. That was cool. My other favorite is Vai. Totally awesome he was! Even more bromance. *wink* I found the whole story of Paris discovering the truth about his clan, the Catresou clan, and his loss of innocence excellently explored. (Holy cow where he ended up in the cliffhanger!!!!!!!!)

I enjoy that it is a battle of powers. The Catresou are Juliet's people. The Mahyanai Romeo's. However, there are other powers such as the Sisters of Thorn to add to the mix. The mysterious necromancer. The family's and power houses of the city of Viyara are duking it out! Sadly I felt like that was secondary until things really started to get exciting towards the end.

My issue with Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is that it might be a tad standoffish. Not to mention that evil cliffhanger. Good lord, I'm getting tired of what constitutes as a cliffhanger anymore. It basically just ends after everything was really getting good. I hated it. I'm a little ticked. Other than that I was totally addicted. Hodge created another fabulous world with all kinds of awesome magic. I felt like there could have been more revealed about the magic and such. Especially the necromancers. It also saddened me how freaking stupid Runajo ended up being at the end, since she was totally awesome before that. Still I was addicted. Just promise me the next book will be out next year. Though I'm really nervous how the next book will stand. Paris was the star of this book for me.

Content Warning: Sexual humor, yes. Some slut shaming due to the beliefs of certain people. There is a sex scene, but it is not explicit or really delved into.

Dead things, murder, mass murder, actual human sacrifices, and so on. This is a darker read. Also deals with racism, class systems, and some sexism.

4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it.

Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (1)
Untitled (2)

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (1)
Untiled (2)

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (1)
Untitled (2)

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