Romeo had looked at a Catresou girl and loved her. He had believed that Juliet was more than a weapon, and that it was worthwhile to love her, however little time they might have. He had died believing it.This is the second half of the tale begun in Bright Smoke, Cold Fire which I reviewed here. It will come out on July 24.
Juliet had believed that once too.
She couldn't free her people. She couldn't free herself. And she couldn't save the city from its doom.
But she could be like Romeo, and learn to love her enemies. She could protect these people around her for whatever time they had left.
It wasn't exactly hope, but maybe it could be enough.
The city walls are not holding despite increasingly large blood sacrifices. The dead continue to rise, mindlessly hungry. (Yep. Zombies and the end of the world.)
The Juliet has been trapped into protecting Romeo's family at great cost to her own. Meanwhile, Romeo is attempting redemption by protecting Juliet's family. (Oh the irony! And the romantic gestures!)
Paris is still dead but alive enough to obey the necromancer's spell. Runajo is still trying to find a way to protect her city while tortured by her betrayal of her friend Juliet.
So we've got the perfect setup for the conclusion of Rosamund Hodge's riff on Shakespeare.
The story is complex enough that I'd forgotten important details from the first part and had to reread it before I could launch properly into Endless Water, Starless Sky. We still have all the big themes and literary devices that gave the first part depth and complexity. Here the story has everyone running as fast as they can to try to avert disaster, both of civilization and of their personal lives. There is a lot of fighting and a lot of talking in the first half — we did mention this is a riff on Romeo and Juliet, right? But it all works.
As engrossing as most of the book was, it really entered new territory in the last fourth where it becomes an otherworldly, Dante-esque journey. This part was wildly inventive and yet delicately balanced to guide the reader to the ultimately satisfying conclusion.
I really loved it and will definitely be rereading it, sooner rather than later. If you liked the first half, you'll like this. If you haven't read either, then you've got a treat in store.