Book Review: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire – Rosamund Hodge


Honestly where is the next god damn book


Name: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 27, 2016


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. . . .

Book Cover Comments

I think its so cool how the female POVs are highlighted on the cover: Runajo and Juliet. And Juliet’s red dress really contrasts well. The circle in the middle of course signifies something, and no I will not spoil it :)

The Actual Review

It’s a bit difficult to type with an injured hand wrapped in a cocoon-thick amount of bandages.

I really really enjoyed this book. Rosamund Hodge did not dissappoint me with her retelling of Sleeping Beauty – Cruel Beauty (you can read its review here!), and now a retelling of not a fairytale, but such a famous play – Romeo & Juliet?

Let’s begin this review by talking about the retelling elements. Unlike Cruel Beauty which wraps up Sleeping Beauty from beginning till end, Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (a.k.a. bscf) did not begin from the beginning. Instead, it begins at around where Tybalt was killed, as the relationship between Romeo and Juliet was pre-established through the reader’s knowledge. With their relationship served as a base core for the character’s mindsets and behaviours, the two pairs – Romeo & Paris // Juliet & Runajo begin their journey.

Before jumping in to the individual pairs, the world building is very very rich. The city of Viyara, the different classes and the clans, how each of them has a different belief, and the religion and history that this city was built on. This serves as such a key point for our main characters, in order to discover ways to save their city – the last place they know with civilisation. Together, they go through learning about the secrets and lies of different people, the corrupted structure of their society, both upper and lower classes, human behaviour of selfish and greed, many more.

The magic in this book is also very rich. Mainly used by the sisters (where Runajo is) who operates the island by feeding it blood to last longer and to maintain it, more secrets and histort unravels as Runajo and Juliet seeks a solution to end all this madness, to give the world another day of hope. The runes, ancient libraries, terrible looking creatures in which I made them cuter to not give my head nightmares, ancient spells written to create bindings and seals, oooh and necromancers. The roles in Juliet’s family, how Juliet is more than what she is, the spells put on her since birth, and the importance and role of Tybalt and Paris.

Romeo and Paris are stuck together in more than just one way. Not gonna spoil you here btw :P Their bond is really special in the sense that they’ll have to deal with each other’s existence way more than anyone would want to, and in the beginning, they come from opposing families. Realising that they have the same objective in mind, they travel along their journey to find a solution to save what they want to protect, and to repay themselves to the kindness they owe.

Juliet and Runajo are also really special, as their relationship, was also unintended. And it could be even worse than what Romeo and Paris are going through. But through all of this, they learn the thoughts of each other, they help each other out, become each others friend, discover pasts, and go through lies and betrayals. It’s really interesting in how this book really really heavily focuses on building a partner-in-crime, a sister, a brother, a friend.

There might be less romance than you expect, but every few chapters, there are scenes that shares the stories of Romeo and Juliet, and you just can’t help but sweetly heartache over it.

A voyage of four, each pair finding friendship in its unexpected way, Bright Smoke, Cold Fire unravels the blossoming of the relationship between the four, weaving the lines of connection to the plot, and leads up to a great cliffhanger for readers to wait for book two, when Viraya will be saved.



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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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