Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: BRIGHT SMOKE, COLD FIRE by Rosamund Hodge

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won’t find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could’ve been better or what worked or didn’t work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it’s here I probably think it won’t injure your brain if you read it.

The walled city of Viyara is the only one to survive the Ruining – the scourge that brings the dead back to life, hungry for the flesh of the living. The spells cast by the Sisters keep the rock walls strong against the dead, but the stones demand blood to remain strong… and as time passes, more is demanded.

The ruling family of the Catresou’s know more than most about blood. Each generation has one family member – a daughter – marked with the word for “Justice” in the old language of the gods. She knows when blood has been spilled, and will avenge it. “The Juliet” is always bonded with another Catresou to be her protector, a bond powerful enough to allow the two to communicate without speaking, and be held to each other’s word.

But this generation’s Juliet falls in love with a Mahyanai boy named Romeo, and marries him according to the custom of his people after spending three nights together. When her cousin Tybalt – the boy who was sworn to be her protector – is killed by Romeo, Paris must step into the role. But before he can go through the ceremony where they are bonded, the Juliet tries to bond herself to Romeo instead… accidentally killing him (or so she thinks) in the process.

Magic gone wrong has bonded Paris to Romeo, and the Juliet to Mahyanai Runajo, one of the Sisters who wants nothing more than to give everything she has – including her blood – to protect the city. With dark rumors swirling around the city about necromancy, and living dead breaching the old spells that hold the walls together, the two pairs must discover how deep their bonds go – and what they’re wiling to sacrifice for life and love.

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