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

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. . .

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Physical copy of the book by Harper Collins India in exchange for an honest review. However, all the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

To be honest; I am not a Shakespeare fan & not only that I haven’t actually read any books by him (don’t sue me please; I need money to buy books!). But I am definitely not a fan of Romeo and Juliet – two thirteen year old killing themselves over a misunderstanding? Yeah, no thank you please.

But when a favorite author who does brilliant job of retelling classics picks up Romeo and Juliet as a plot for her next retelling duology – I put aside my apprehensions and picked up this book definitely expecting to feel something.

What I didn’t expect was to be sucked into a plot that was full of secrets; dark and dreary ones; characters who are naïve and manipulated by forces far more cunning and intelligent they ever could be. All this and more is complicated by the appearance of necromancers and zombies!  

Set in the only living city of Viyara where the living dead are being kept at bay by the blood sacrifice of a sisterhood and the city is in constant push and pull between two warring clans – Costreau and Mahyanai.

The plot really thickens, predictable of course; when the Juliet Costreau, the sword of the clan falls in love with Romeo Mahyanai – I loved the characterizations of Juliet and Romeo; not only are they the opposite of each other, they are not quite the naïve characters I would have expected them to be.

The other two characters who play quite pivot roles were – Paris Costreau, Juliet proxy guardian and Runajo Mahyanai – two characters who not only are important to this story but also are part of some very important plot twists that had me slack jawed in surprise.

Four characters form some very unlikely friendships; but the friendships like all others have their own trials and tribulations; especially considering that I was absolutely shattered with the way this first book ended.

As per usual; Ms. Hodge has weaved a frighteningly treacherous tale of family loyalty, a love that spans hatred, plot twists that made sure my attention wasn’t ever diverted (even though this book was 400+ pages) and the addition of necromancers and zombies didn’t hurt, even if they weren’t the focus of the plot!  

Yet I do believe that this going to a hit or miss with the readers – either you will love it or you will never be interested in it. But me? I can’t wait to get my hands on the next books – it’s a physical need to know if Romeo, Juliet, Paris and Runajo will have the ending they deserve!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

AMAZON INDIA | AMAZON US

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