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Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Review

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

In BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE by Rosamund Hodge, death abounds in the city of Viyara. Set after the moment where the traditional story of Romeo and Juliet story ends, this captivating narrative begins with both Romeo and Juliet alive, yet bounded to another person. Juliet was born with the duty to kill anyone who goes against her Catresou clan. When Romeo kills Tybalt, she is faced with the responsibility of fulfilling her task. Yet, as readers everywhere know, she chooses marriage to him instead. In order to further defy her parents’ wishes and seal their love, Juliet and Romeo partake in a “Guardian” ceremony. If performed correctly, they will be connected in a manner that will make Romeo her guardian, which will allow him to control and direct her. Needless to say, things go awry. Juliet dies and in attempts to save her, Paris, who was supposed to be her Guardian, is then bounded to Romeo.

"BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE is a complex, yet enjoyable read for anyone who loves mystery, fantasy, and adventure....Rosamund Hodge continues to deliver a dark narrative with beautiful language and amazing world building."

Dwelling in this city as well is Runajo, Romeo’s ex and a new character for the beloved story. A thick fog known as The Ruining has brought life and death, causing many to be sick but also allowing those dead to live again. When we meet her, Runajo is facing the aftermath of both of her parents' deaths from this sickness and has joined the Sisterhood. Here, she realizes that her beloved city needs protection but the only way to protect it is to withstand a night at the Mount of Death. During this night, Juliet is about to be sent into the darkness after failing in her ceremony to Romeo but is saved by Runajo. When they both wake up, Juliet realizes that Runajo is now her Guardian and Runajo discovers that Romeo married another woman.

Now connected, each pair struggles to overcome their differences as they have to work together. Runajo and Juliet strive to save Viyara as Romeo and Paris try to unearth the mysteries and betrayals hidden among the clans. Can unlikely friendships be enough to bring real light back to this dark devastated city?

Centered on proving one’s love, proving one’s honor and proving who one truly is, BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE is a complex, yet enjoyable read for anyone who loves mystery, fantasy, and adventure. While there was less romance than preferred, Rosamund Hodge continues to deliver a dark narrative with beautiful language and amazing world building. Every bit the tragedy as the classic tale, readers won’t be disappointed. And, Hodge herself never disappoints in weaving a completely unique plot with heartbreak and adventure simply through the use of words.

Reviewed by Kiersten R., Teen Board Member on October 13, 2016

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
by Rosamund Hodge