Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge Review

bscfTitle: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Author:  Rosamund Hodge

Publisher:  Balzer and Bray

Format: eBook

Publication Date: September 27, 2016

Overall: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Source: Edelweiss

Sabriel meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning and atmospheric novel—the first in a duology—from the author of Cruel Beautyand Crimson Bound.

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. . .


Bright Smoke, Cold Fire had alot of unrealized potential. Runajo was my favorite character, and I loved her toughness, and sneaky ways. The little that the reader learns about her past makes it believable that she would want to do anything to help others survive. Her parents weren’t terrible people, but they were selfish ones, and it was so heartbreaking to read how that shaped Runajo and how she sees her world.

It’s hard to say that Runajo is the main character, as the book’s point of view does shift between her and Paris. Paris’s storyline was not less important than hers, but it had a much slower pace to it, and at times felt tedious. The story was pretty convoluted and at times that made it hard to follow. There were several passages that I had to re-read to make sure that I understood what the book was saying. In some cases that’s not bad, but in this one it felt like there was a lack of clarity in the writing style.

This book’s ending enraged me, and is going to contribute to a full 1.5 star drop in the rating. I was able to discover that this was the first part of a dualogy which is the only thing that is saving this review. No one takes a story and twists it out of the realm of recognition like Rosamund Hodge. I have no idea how she does it, but to say it’s based on Romeo and Juliet is such a loose term for all of the creativeness found in this book. All of the characters were fantastically well-written. Romeo, although melo-dramatic was still a multi-dimensional character. All of them were, and it had sucked me in and I was totally invested in the plot and characters. The truly disappointing thing is the giant cliffhanger it ends on, with no slight resolution or anything. It literally ends right as my heart is reaching my throat and I am thinking ‘Oh my god. Oh my god’. So that was really hard for me to overcome. I will probably revise my rating once the second book is out and I can read them back to back and enjoy them. 3.5 out of 5 stars.


3.5/5 – A Great Read, Well-Written

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**


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“The Sisters of Thorn will tell you that all things move by the blood of the gods. This is false.” Runajo’s voice was soft, yet it echoed among the shelves and the scrolls. “The sages of our people tell a different story. They say that everything in all the world is made of particles like motes of dust. They spin and cling and part, and we are formed of their patterns.”

Runajo’s throat tightened. She remembered her mother telling her this long ago, before any illness had touched their family. Before she had known what it meant for things to vanish forever.

She drew a breath and went on. “Like a river, the particles are ever-moving, ever-changing; we are the ripples in the river, that vanish in a moment and never return. But while we are here, we are like dust motes caught in the afternoon sunlight, dazzling before we fall into the darkness.”