• Page Count: 448
  • Release Date: September 27, 2016
  • My Rating: 1.5 stars

Book Description:

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled, #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. . . 

My Thoughts:


I almost want to round my rating up to 2 because of the amazing worldbuilding. Rosamund Hodge is absolutely brilliant at weaving complex worlds full of mythology & history and adding a dark tone.

That being said, I liked the writing in Crimson Bound and the story in Cruel Beauty more. This book was definitely not a quick/light read… like it took some serious effort to get through (both because I was a little bored and because of everything that was happening in the story). Her writing style in this one is really pretty, but also kind of… dense?

I genuinely wanted to love this, and didn’t necessarily dislike it, but I’m kind of underwhelmed right now. I didn’t really connect to any character besides Paris and wasn’t terribly into the plot.

I still love the author and think this was an incredibly creative take on Romeo & Juliet, but I’m not sure I would’ve liked it very much as a story on its own without that reference point. It’s a bit of a loose retelling, but I think anyone who’s read Romeo & Juliet (so basically anyone who’s made it through high school English) would still enjoy checking out such an imaginative spin on the familiar story!

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy!


4 comments on “Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge”

  1. Just started this one and as its my first novel from Rosamund, I have high hopes it’ll suit my reading tastes. The writing is (so far) beautiful but then I’ve not read her earlier two novels either. Thanks for this great review. 🙂

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