Review 269. Rosamund Hodge – Bright Smoke, Cold Fire.

28448239Title: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled #1)
Rosamund Hodge
Pages:  448 pages
Published: September 27th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss and publisher, thanks!
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.

The thing about this book is that the blurb pretty much tells you the entire story. It only fails to deliver the message that this is written from the point of view of Runajo and Paris Catresou – two characters that both failed to make an impression on me.

The tale starts, and has several flash backs, at the moment where Romeo and The Juliet meet and decide to be together. The Juliet (because this is not her actual name, but a title) is bound to her oath to kill her enemies, but she decide to sneak her way out of it with Romeo so they can get married. Things all fall apart when Paris throws himself in the middle of the situation, which ends up with The Juliet dead and him bound to Romeo.

Runajo is part of the Sisters, who oversee the feeding of the magic around the city that protects them from zombie-like people. She has the idea she could save the only city that is left in the world, by diving into the Archive of the Library that is overflown by the Ruined (although I'm not sure if that's what you call them. I must admit that I was pretty bored at that point) She does something stupid and she ends up saving The Juliet from dead, which binds the girl to her.

Both storylines never meet at the end of the story, which made it all feel pretty pointless, and the switching distracted me. The author also threw in a Necromancer with an evil plan, where The Juliet apparently needs to play a big role, and there are also different terms like Mahyani. At some point I could not keep track of who belonged where and what every title meant.. This was definitely not helpful, because I also couldn't care less about any of the characters. They were bland and especially Romeo got on my nerves. Runajo and The Juliet had the most potential, but failed to fully deliver.

Shame, shame, shame, because I still count Cruel Beauty from this author as one of my favorite books and I hoped I could add this story to that list. Now it will go on the DNF-series pile. The ending might have been interesting enough to make me want to pick up the sequel, but based on how bored I was.. I don't think I will remember much of the story once it is published. 2 stars for the gorgeous cover, the fact I did finish the book and the approach of the original tale.

Once upon a time, she believed she was only a sword. Now she fears she is only a girl.


  1. Oh man, I'm so disappointed to hear this because I gave CB 5 stars too! it sounds like this one switched around too much and was bland and gave everything away. That's such a shame! I hope your next read is better, and gorgeous photo Mel!

  2. Aw I'm so sorry to hear you didn't love this! It sounded so good :( Great review <3

  3. I was the black sheep with Cruel Beauty and even now I feel like I missed I keep checking out reviews for Hodge by trusted blogger friends. I'm sorry that this one ended up letting you down. If you didn't like it, I doubt I would either now The Romeo+Juliet twist sounded like something I'd enjoy but even that aspect considering what you discussed here^^ Great review as always Mel! ♥

  4. Yes I completely agree with all of this. Honestly it was really confusing to me, especially all the names in the beginning. And then you're right, the end didn't even connect the two storylines. And who is this necromancer and why does he matter? I also won't be continuing this because I'm no longer interested sadly.

  5. Ugh, it's such a shame this one turned out to be a disappointment for you. Cruel Beauty is one of my all time favorites, too, but after not really being into Crimson Bound I decided to wait for the reviews before purchasing this one... and well, they are less than positive, so I won't bother with this one.

    Three of the worst things that can happen in a book - for me - are when the blurb tells too much, the characters are plain and the story is confusing. Shame this had all these problems. This makes me so sad, because I was truly excited when I first heard about it, (I mean, fantasy Romeo and Juliet retelling? That screams huge potential.) but then the blurb was just meh. Still I hoped the actual story was good. Oh well, more time for other books, right?

    Also, I'm really confused. Is the series title really untitled or they haven't bothered with giving it a proper title yet?

    Wonderful review!
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

  6. This sounds like such a shame. It's not very oftne that I come across an actual retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

  7. Ack. Gorgeous review Mel. <3 I'm so, so sorry this book was so awful :( Ahhh. I also got it as a print ARC... but haven't been brave enough to read it yet. Ugh. I just do not want to. I already know that I will hate it, haha :) Which is such a shame, cause it sounded so awesome. Ugh.


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