Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Published: September 27th 2016 by Balzer+Bray
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 was really looking forward to going into this book. I absolutely love the story of Romeo and Juliet and I was excited about this retelling. However, I was left pretty disappointed and DNFed this at just over 100 pages.
My biggest issue with this book was the fact that I genuinely had no clue what the heck was going on! I didn’t understand why they wore masks, or what the Juliet actually was, the guardian, the sisters… pretty much everything. Nothing was explained in detail or very well within the first 100 or so pages and I felt more like I was blundering through with the hope that it was going to get better/I was going to find out what was going on exactly and why. I didn’t enjoy the feeling of being lost throughout and I started putting down the book in order to do something else.
I also feel like the plot was affected by the fact that I didn’t certain aspects of the society and why some things happened. Without a certain understanding of some of the things the characters were doing, the world building etc. the plot was confusing – even more so because it kept switching between the sisters and Paris and Romeo.
My other issue with this book was the characters. I struggled to empathise with them and I didn’t feel like the characters each had their own individual voice despite the book being multiple pov. I struggled to differentiate between the pov’s and only managed to based off of the chapter titles. I felt like they were all too similar and none of the personalities stood out particularly.
All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this book, considering that I was extremely looking forward to this retelling! I gave this book 1/5 stars.