Number of pages: 448
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 0
Just a fair warning: I’m pretty sure I only made it to chapter 7 in this book (though I could have made it further than that), so it is your decision whether you want to trust my opinion. (I also skimmed ahead, but I don’t really count that as reading)
When I first heard about Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, I didn’t really understand what this book was about. I knew it had something to do with Romeo and Juliet, but that was pretty much it. I also knew that I had loved Rosamund Hodge’s other two books; Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound (I would direct you to my reviews, but they are not my finest work).
Before book blogging, I had had two auto-buy authors in my life (one of them is still one of my auto-buy authors). I now have a total of 3 auto-buy authors: Kiersten White, Renee Ahdieh, and Rosamund Hodge. The only reason I can think of for why I bought this book is that I needed and wanted to read more books from Rosamund Hodge. Before you read on, just know this book doesn’t change that. I think that even the world’s best writer would not have been able to pull this off.
Let’s start with the major issue with this book; the concept itself. This idea and the world are simply too convoluted to be properly executed. Hodge tries to explain this world to us, but we either end up losing details, or Hodge’s beautiful writing in the process. There was too much lore that came with this concept for everything to be properly explained without this book being incredibly boring.
Which brings me to my next point; this book was boring. There was so much detail that it read like a textbook and the characters fell flat. The characters were basically emotionless life forms that we were somehow supposed to care about, all while they moved whatever the plot was along.
I hated the ending of Romeo and Juliet, but as a whole I didn’t mind it (granted the last time I read it, I was 12 years old). I feel like this story probably would have been better if it had stayed closer to the plot of the play. Also, for those people confused about who this Runajo girl is, I’m fairly certain that she is supposed to be Rosaline.
Overall, Rosamund Hodge bit off more than she could chew with this concept, leading to a DNF from me.
Side note: my copy of this book is probably the worst book quality wise I have ever owned. The dust jacket is way too big for the book and the actual book has dried glue visible everywhere. It looks like a 13 year old made it for an art project, rather than a professional publisher.