Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Published by: Balzer + Bray on September 27, 2016

Review Source: Publisher, Edelweiss

Genres: Young Adult, Retelling (Romeo & Juliette), Fantasy

Plot: Romeo and Juliette, but with necromancers instead of romance.

Review: This book felt really dense. To keep things simple, here’s the breakdown:


  • Even in a world where there are retellings galore, it isn’t every day that you stumble upon a book that’s pitched as a gender bending, undead infested Romeo and Juliette. Bonus points for bringing something new to the genre.
  • Hodge revamps Shakespeare’s classic tale by stripping away the romance and replacing it with the concept of friendship. The relationships between the four main characters offers readers something much more substantial than the insta-love that blossoms between the original cast. Granted, the 1500’s weren’t exactly a riveting time for dating, but I still appreciated Hodge’s redirection.
  • Quality of Writing. This isn’t Hodge’s first rodeo and it shows. The prose is on point.


  • Intense Worldbuilding. This is where I struggled. The world of Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is a complex one. There is family drama, crumbling positions of power, magic, and more… in detail. I felt bogged down by it.
  • Sad lack of undead. While there is some talk of zombie like creatures, this isn’t the walking dead. If you are looking for that kind of thing, I would move along.
  • Strange Pace. For some reason I never hit a comfortable stride while reading this. I felt like the plot stalled and started. It might have been the dense worldbuilding.


Overall, I think this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, but it wasn’t really for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Who Should Snag It: Fans of Hodge’s previous works or those looking for fantasy with a hefty amount of world building might like this one.

 *I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*

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