Review: Bright Smoke Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

November 20, 2016 Review 18 ★★

Review: Bright Smoke Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 448
Release Date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I’m always a little iffy when it comes to Romeo and Juliet retellings. Namely because insta love and needless death/sacrifices. But when I heard one of my favorite authors was writing one I knew I had to check it out. Unfortunately, BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE was a letdown and it is a sad day indeed.

At one hundred and twenty pages in, I was still unsure about what half of the terms in this book meant. Who was related to who again? In addition to that, I was still waiting for an actual in-depth explanation about the world building. This was a huge problem for me because I couldn’t fall into the story or truly understand it.

Going along with that same thought, I felt the same about the characters – I wasn’t invested in them. There were way too many players and not enough focus or development on any single one. In my opinion, most of them came off as super whiny or angsty, like the original Romeo and Juliet, actually. Fitting.

I do have to say that I didn’t make it far into this one so it could have gotten better. However, the 35% that I did read didn’t feel much like Hodge – gone are the beautiful descriptions from her previous books and in their place were things like “she was surrounded by a room that was white on all sides.”

I really wanted to like BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE but instead I felt confused and apathetic towards the characters, the world, and even the plot itself.


Rating Report
Overall: 2

18 Responses to “Review: Bright Smoke Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge”

  1. Chiqui @ YA Lit Reads

    In my opinion, most of them came off as super whiny or angsty, like the original Romeo and Juliet, actually. Fitting.
    I LAUGHED because it is true, I felt the same about the original Romeo & Juliet lol!
    I really liked the cover of this one so I was pondering on getting it even if I don’t like Romeo & Juliet really, but I think I’ll hold off a bit for now. Thanks for the review!

  2. Bec

    A DNF of Rosamund Hodge??? NOOOOOOOOOOO!! It’s the Romeo and Juliet curse I say (I do agree that instalove story is just no. The families were convoluted enough in the play)

  3. czai

    sorry this didn’t worked out for you. I’ve been considering this book even though I haven’t read anything by Hodge. I’ll definitely read more reviews to see if it’ll work for me. thanks for the honest review :)
    czai recently posted…REVIEW | The Masterminds

  4. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Well, I was the black sheep with Hodge’s most popular book, Cruel Beauty and I remember my feelings of being let down all too well :( Sorry that this one just didn’t deliver for you. Despite the insta-love, I’ve liked Romeo & Juliet since high-school but I was wary of this one because of my poor luck with the author. I do believe I’ll skip this one all the same though.
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #59

    • Alise

      No worries! I can’t blame you, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one if you are already hesitant with the author’s work.

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