Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

ISBN: 0062369415
Pages: 448
Source: Ebook/Own
Publication Date:
Initial Reaction: September 27, 2016
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Sabriel meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning and atmospheric novel—the first in a duology—from the author of Cruel Beautyand Crimson Bound.
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. . . .
I read Crimson Bound earlier this year and completely loved it so when I found out that Rosamund Hodge was coming out with a new novel I was so excited. She creates such fascinating retellings of classic stories that are dark but so gripping and refreshing.

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire takes the ageless tale of Romeo and Juliet and completely spins it on its head. In a post apocalyptic world that is slowly being turned into a zombie wasteland, we follow 2 different story lines as the young and passionate seek to find their place in a messed up world. Thank goodness for familiar names because there were some parts that just seemed so random and confusing. 

The world that Rosamund Hodge creates is so incredibly fascinating. There's a fog called the Ruining in the world that is slowly killing everyone and turning people into zombies. The walled city of Viyara is the only place in the world that remains untouched and in order to keep the out, the magic that protects the city demands a blood sacrifice. That magic has been demanding more sacrifices than usual, the powerful families of the city have a hidden agenda of their own, and the Sisterhood that controls the sacrifices could care less about the impending doom of the city. 

We are introduced to four characters, the fighters of the younger generation. Runajo is a passionate and cold member of the Sisterhood who is determined to save the city and stop the corruption. Juliet is the pride of her family, a girl marked to magic to become an emotional weapon, but rebels against her family's wishes. Paris is the one appointed to be her Guardian when Tybalt was murdered, but finds himself working with his kinsman's murderer in an attempt to uncover his own family's corruption. And last but certainly not least, we have Romeo, hot headed and passion extraordinaire. There's also Vai, the King of Cats, ruler of the streets that the rich dare not tread and essentially saves Paris and Romeo from getting killed. 

There are so many crazy moments in this story and I loved how different it was from the original tale but included some key details. I wish that some parts could have been more fleshed out and I came to the realization that Rosamund Hodge always creates such confusing but fascinating plots that are just hard to wrap your mind around. This one is definitely one of the more confusing ones to follow but when some pieces click into place, it's the coolest feeling over. 

I loved following the story from the two different storylines and seeing how things come together. At the ending...there was some frustration with certain things but since this is a duology, that just makes me more excited for the second novel to see how everything wraps up.
4 out of 5 stars

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