Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
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 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 thought when I started this book that it was a stand alone, just like her other two books. I started getting really nervous when I had about 50 pages left that there wasn’t going to be a satisfying ending. How could there be, there was so much to wrap up. Luckily, there is another book coming next year, YEAH!
Like her other books, Rosamund Hodge has taken the basic story and turned it upside down and sideways and has created something new and exciting. This is definitely not Will Shakespeare’s story, although there are many parallels. Many of the names are the same, but many were changed, as well as their allegiances.
The story is told from Paris and Runajo’s points of view, both are very minor characters from the original play although Runajo’s name was changed, (I think she is suppose to be Rosaline). Both of these characters are loyal, and courageous and really want to do what is right. Both want to save their families or clans and the city they live in with such devotion, you can’t help but like them, even when they are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Romeo tends to be a bit soppy at times, and there were a couple of times that I wanted to shake him and tell him to suck it up, but his character is true to the play, so it was easy to forgive him. Juliet is nothing like the play’s character. She is raised to be a deadly weapon, and she is kind of scary at times. But you have to admire her for her fighting skills.
I loved the character of Vai, the King of Cats. Vai is a nice addition to the story and a strong, fun character. Vai also adds a little humor in a story that really needed some at times.
The setting of the story was also very good. I loved the revenants, aka zombies, although we don’t see much of them. The magic was also very interesting, a lot of it being based on blood sacrifice, but also words and symbols were important. I loved that they could heal someone just by writing symbols on their bodies. Wouldn’t that be cool!
All in all a very fascinating story that was hard to put down and kept you wanting more.