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Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

(Bright Smoke, Cold Fire #1)

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,201 ratings  ·  661 reviews
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
Hardcover, 437 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
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Emily C The Ruining: A lot of people died because of this smoke. But inside a walled city, Viyara (or Verona, like in the original Romeo and Juliet), everyone…moreThe Ruining: A lot of people died because of this smoke. But inside a walled city, Viyara (or Verona, like in the original Romeo and Juliet), everyone lived. The Mahyanais (Montagues) and the Catresous (Capulets) are warring families, and Juliet is cursed to punish any enemies of the Catresous. Since Romeo has killed her cousin, Tybalt, she must punish him. Paris is one of the Catresous, and he must guard Juliet by being bonded to her in a way.
Juliet tries to escape being bound with Paris, and tries being bound with Romeo, but it goes wrong and Paris and Romeo are bounded together, with Juliet dead.
Runajo (or Rosaline, like in the original Romeo and Juliet) is a Mahyanai, accidentally "resurrects" (in a way) Juliet from the dead.
Now Paris and Romeo must work together, and so will Runajo and Juliet.

You can go into the book blind, which is exactly what I did. The exact events happen in the first chapter or so of the book in much more detail and explanation. Sorry that you got such a late answer though! This book is really worth it. Highly recommend, especially if you love Romeo and Juliet. (less)
Adeity-Studies There will be a second book ("Endless Water, Starless Sky") and it'll come out sometime in 2018…moreThere will be a second book ("Endless Water, Starless Sky") and it'll come out sometime in 2018(less)

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Average rating 3.27  · 
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Emily May
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2016, young-adult, arc
This breaks my heart.

Hodge is the author of two of my favourite YA novels - Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound - but try as I might, I could not get into this book. And it would be better titled "Romeo and Juliet and Zombies".

It's not because Romeo and Juliet is an epic emofest of the instalove variety. I was still excited to see what Hodge would do with this story, and Caine's Prince of Shadows - also inspired by R&J - is one of my favourite retellings. I was also feeling positive because the autho
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Sabriel, in case you haven't read it yet, was an awesome book. Romeo and Juliet, not so much. Still, I had high hopes, given that it's Rosamund Hodge...however, this book was a disappointment. Which is such a shame, because this book had necromancy and zombies. ZOMBIES!!!!!!!
The Ruining was more than the white fog that killed every person it touched. It had changed the nature of death. Even here in Viyara, behind the walls, the dead would rise again within two days, mindless and hungry for t
Wendy Darling
We hosted the official cover reveal for Rosamund Hodge's new book this morning:


Look at the pretty!

It's a dark romantic fantasy inspired by Romeo and Juliet...but with necromancers!

Incidentally, if you're not a fan of R&J, note that the author says she thought it was dumb when she first read it as well, hah. Her take on it is pretty interesting, and this story begins towards the end of the play.

Rosamund is on the blog today telling us more about how the story came to be, PLUS we're giving away t
Mar 12, 2016 marked it as to-read
When I first read the synopsis for this, it sounded like a Paris + Romeo and Runajo + Juliet gay/bi/lesbian Shakespearean extravaganza. I was so on board. I am so on board for gay retellings of anything. ANYTHING. But then I saw the word "friendship" and I was like...

Mikee (ReadWithMikee)
Nov 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: will-not-finish
DNF @ 158 pages (35%)

I'm sorry but I just couldn't get through this book. It was just so dull, boring, and everything was all over the place. It was just so bad that I actually dreaded the times where I had to force myself to pick up this book to try and get through it.

When I read that this was going to be a Romeo and Juliet retelling, I was absolutely ecstatic. I've came across star-crossed lovers in a few YA books but never one that was dubbed as an R&J retelling. Naturally, I needed to get my
Stephanie (Bookfever)
Three stars might not seem like a very high rating for a Rosamund Hodge book from me considering I absolutely loved her previous books. I didn't hate Bright Smoke, Cold Fire but I can't help but feel slightly disappointed. It fell somewhere in the middle between good and bad for me.

Starting the book I was very confused because the world in it, though it was pretty brilliant, was quite a lot to take in. And it took me a while (at least 40-50% in the book) to really got what was going on. And I wa
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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"I liked it... until I didn't." You can put that on my tombstone when I die. I was sooooo excited to get this book because I'm a huge fan of Rosamund Hodge. Her books usually have the perfect blend of romance, danger, and hot bad guys, which is a MUST in YA. And even though Romeo and Juliet is one of my least favorite plays, I totally looked forward to seeing what she did with it.

And for like 30% of this book, I was on board. Seriously.
Starry-Eyed Jen
An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts are my own. This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

Unlike a lot of people, Romeo & Juliet has never been my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. (I go more for the brutal, cunning Macbeth.) I just don't get how overly romanticized R&J is when Romeo was infatuated with the fair Rosaline one day, only to find himself in love with Juliet the next. Fickle I may be at times, but that just rubb

Sadly, this is what is left in me after finishing this book: Bright nothing, cold disappointment. In spite of all the negative reviews I've seen, I still had this sliver of hope that no, it can't be true, it's Rosamund Hodge, she can't let you down Nastassja. Alas, she did.

I don't know what to say about this book... the cover is beautiful? That is probably it. I can't say this book was a big cliche or that the characters annoyed me or the plot was stupid - none of these things are true.

Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“He was her world, and now she is going to destroy him.”

This was an interesting YA fantasy story, with characters named Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet were very different characters to what I expected! For a start, Juliet wasn’t even named Juliet, she was The Juliet – her families executioner and thought of more as property than as a daughter. She was pretty k
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-releases

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Book One of the Bright Smoke, Cold Fire series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 Ro
Natalie Monroe
"Journeys end in lovers meeting. Every wise man's son doth know."

Do yourself a favor and only read the first chapter. Close the book. Make up your own ending.

The first chapter of Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is everything it should have been. Juliet going into the catacombs to meet Romeo with rage in her heart. Vowing to kill him for murdering her cousin.

Murderess Juliet?

But after the prologue, it descends into your typical Hodge novel. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the author follow
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
It breaks my heart to rate it this low. Maybe 2.5 stars.

I was sold at Rosamund's name on the cover, but then the synopsis mentioned Romeo + Juliet and I was in love. Sadly, my infatuation didn't last.

The relationship between Juliet and Runajo was the intriguing. I didn't care for Paris at all and of course only wanted scene of Romeo and Juliet together. The various "before" scenes are what kept me reading.

I struggled hard with this book. The world building is interesting and quite intricate, bu
enqi ♡
Jul 05, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
this is only $0.99 on kindle today! obviously, even though i have 250 unread books on my kindle, i bought it anyway. ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

There comes a time when you encounter a book with an interesting premise only to discover that it has a lot of mixed reviews. Some love it, some hate it, and some find it OK. I found myself in that same position. And the end result was: I liked it.

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. This is my first Rosamund Hodge book and I was pleasantly surprised by how I liked Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. I wasn't sure how I would enjoy the book knowing it has a lot of mixed revi
Dec 08, 2015 marked it as nevermind

Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5* more like

This wasn't a bad book in my opinion. The story entertained me and the ending left me enough interested that I will read the second book when it comes out to tie up the loose ends of the first book (which there were a lot of loose ends).
Andreea Pop
Apr 02, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: cover-love
Oh my God, cover awesomeness alert.
Sara Saif

I’ve never read anything so cheerful in my life.

There was a lot of BLOOD and DEATH and BLOODY DEATH. Pretty sure that 80% of the book was a variation of DEAD, DEATH, DIE, DIED with BLOOD somewhere in between. I lost count of the number of times I read those words in one page. On droned the protagonist: we’re all already dead. We’re all going to die. Death is everywhere. Death does not bargain. I’m dead. You’re dead. They’re dead. Bloody death. Death and blood. There is no point in life. Let’s ju
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
What we've all come to love, trust, and even respect about Hodge's writing is her ability to weave a familiar tale, put a beautifully dark twist on it and make it all her own and her latest release is no exception to her brilliance.

Wonderfully told with twists around ever bend including the very fact that this tale is not told from Juliet and her Romeo's point of view but instead from Paris and Runajo, our hero and heroine of the story. Don't get me wrong, Juliet and Romeo play a very big part i
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
J'AI RIEN COMPRIS!! Voilà, je l'ai dis.


Sorry, my French needed to get out. It basically meant that I didn't understand a damn thing about this book, lmao. Or at least, it feels like it. I don't know if I should be crying or laughing. Probably both.

I have to say that prologue was a freaking liar because I loved it and I hoped the rest of the book would be as gripping. Unfortunately, I was confused and frustrated most of the time and my brain knew I didn't enjoy myself so he tried to wander off
Noel Nuñez
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: average

This book does many things right, except in the wrong order, and that can break the experience. But first, let's talk about the plot, and boy it's a doozy: Romeo and Juliet live in a city where zombies roam the perimeter. There is a force field protecting the walls, but it's failing for some reason. Two other characters, Paris and Runajo, are working against the clock to solve the walking dead problem, eventually teaming up with Romeo and Juliet when the lovers aren't too busy
DNF @ 60%
God, I love this author. Her imagination astounds me...but my brain just couldn't keep up with this one. The fantasy world being developed in the first installment of this Romeo and Juliet retelling is so very complex. Blink and you're lost... and I got lost more times than I'm willing to admit. Just going to put it down for now :(
rachel ☾
DNF 34%

I am not someone who can usually DNF books. In fact, I have the worst habit of not only forcing myself to finish everything I read but also forcing myself to finish off the entire series… no matter how long it might be. Call it optimism. Call it stupidity. Blame it on my Slytherin impulse to see the challenge in it and be unable to back down. Whatever it is, it makes DNFing next to impossible. It was only when I realised that the more I forced myself to read this, the more I found myself
The world was dying, and death did not care who mourned.

This was such a disappointment. I'd heard it wasn't as good as Cruel Beauty, which was one of my faves last year, but I didn't think it would be this...meh.

I guess I should also say that I don't particularly care for Romeo and Juliet to begin with.

The Writing and Worldbuilding

The writing was okay. The dialogue felt unnatural for the most part; half direct Shakespeare quotes, half incongruously modern-sounding speech. Juliet's dialogue w
rowanthorn ✨
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5/5 STARS

this is a very, very loose retelling of romeo and juliet. and ... i don't even know how to tell you the plot because i don't really know???!?!!! there's clans, sort of, and necromancy and a world where the dead don't stay dead.

the good, the bad: while i LOVED rosamund hodge's cruel beauty, and enjoyed crimson bound, but i just couldn't really get into or wrap my head around BSCF. there was SO much world-building that was just sort of tossed out there and either left unexplained or ex
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this one. I did.
A romeo and Juliet re-telling - where Romeo is moody and emotional (just like I thought he would be) and Juliet is fierce and a little...traumatized.

But...the rest of this world is different. There are castles and factions and some village area where there are fights with the leader being called a Cat. It's odd and hard to get into. I just didn't find myself drawn into the story or liking any of the characters.
Armina Salemi
If I may...
And once again:
Christy LoveOfBooks

What a crazy unique book! Rosamund Hodge is a must-read author for me. She always writes twisted and imaginative stories! Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is inspired by Romeo and Juliet, but it is definitely its own thing.

I would say this is Hodge’s darkest book yet, and I’m totally okay with that. In fact, that’s something I love about it. I mean, c’mon, there’s necromancers, magic, human sacrifices, and vengeance! Swoon.

Seriously, though, it can be pretty brutal in this world. I found the whole myt
Faye, la Patata
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
A bit different from the first books by the author prose-wise. There are some parts I like about it, but it feels a little too ambitious in terms of story-line and world-building. It is the first book of a series, though, so we'll see how it goes. ...more
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Catholic. Writer. Lay Dominican. I write books about gods & death & girls with knives. Latest: ENDLESS WATER, STARLESS SKY.

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Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (2 books)
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“Do you know the history of Viyara?” she asked.

“Blood, blood, blood, and more blood,” said Juliet promptly. “With a little evisceration.”

Runajo snorted. “Do you know about the Ancients?”

“They were very much the same, weren’t they?” said Juliet. “As far as blood goes.”
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