Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (#1) by Rosamund Hodge

Summary from Goodreads:

Sabriel meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning and atmospheric novel—the first in a duology—from the author of Cruel Beauty and 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. . . 


What I Liked:

Writing. I've been a fan of Hodge's writing style since Cruel Beauty and I'm happy that I decided to give this series a chance. 

Characters. I enjoyed the two main characters, Runajo and Paris, and the fact that Hodge decided to tell the tale of Romeo/Juliet from side-characters view points. I would have loved to have the novel entirely from Runajo because she was by far my favorite character.

Plot/Retelling. I was uncertain about this retelling because I thought it would be focused on romance and similar to the original play in structure. I believe Hodge did a great job of making the material fresh and interesting. The fantasy element and the world building were my favorite aspect of this new series. 

What I Disliked:

Point of View. The series followed Paris and Runajo but I think it would have been interesting to see more from Romeo and Juliet or other characters. 

Pacing. The main pacing of the plot/chapters was slow so it took me longer to read. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this unique take on Romeo and Juliet and I cannot wait to see how it ends. 

My Rating:

4.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars

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