My dear bookish friends,
Today I am reviewing for you this absolute gem of a debut. I saw With Fire in Their Blood on Netgalley a while ago and fell in love with the cover (at first sight!!) and was over the moon when I heard there would be a blog tour for it! A huge thank you to TheWriteReads, the author, and Penguin for my ebook and spot on this tour!! (None of this influenced my review in any way.)
I absolutely loved working on the banner for this tour. The cover is such a sight to behold and there are so many little elements you find the longer you look at it, and when reading the book you know how perfectly it also fits the story. 10/10 for the cover… and now read on to find out how I rated the story itself!
With Fire In Their Blood is a simmering supernatural romance set in the crumbling Italian city of Castello, where mafia clans make the rules, dark magic pulses the streets and the sins of the past threaten to consume the present. Perfect for fans of These Violent Delights, The Darkest Minds and V.E. Schwab.
When sixteen-year-old Lilly Deluca arrives in Castello, she isn’t impressed. A secluded town in the Italian mountains is not where she saw her last years of high school playing out. Divided for generations by a brutal clan-family war, the two halves of Castello are kept from destroying each other by the mysterious General, a leader determined to maintain order and ‘purity’. . . whatever the cost.
Lilly falls in with the rebellious Liza, brooding Nico and sensitive Christian, and sparks begin to fly. But in a city where love can lead to ruin, Lilly isn’t sure she can trust anyone – not even herself.
And then she accidentally breaks Castello’s most important rule: when the General’s men come to test your blood, you’d better not be anything more than human . . .
‘Who were the Saints?’ asked the narrator. ‘Why were they in Castello? No one could say for sure. All we knew was that they were children of evil, born with tainted blood in their veins.
A modern day gothic and magical version of Romeo and Juliet – with rivaling parts of town – a town seeping with superstition and dark powers. That is how I would describe With Fire in Their Blood in just a few words, but those few words don’t do the book justice at all! It’s so much more than that!
I loved how magic and reality are merged in this one. Castello is coming to live in front of your inner eye while reading, it feels like you actually are in this ancient forgotten town in Italy. It made sense for people there to be supersticious, to not believe in the newest technology, to be a bit suspicious of outsiders and not wanting anyone come in – or anyone of their own get out.
However, I was just as surprised as Lilly – if not more – to find out that the citizens of Castello actually believe in magic. The dark kind. In superpowers that only very few people hold – and those people needed to be eliminated. Or so their town’s history says. Lilly is shocked – in this day and age they are still talking of dark magic and burning witches? What place did her father bring her to!?
I thought it was super believable the way the clash between reality and fantasy is done here. Lilly isn’t the kind of protagonist who would believe everything she’s told immediately. She is fighting the weird beliefs and customs she meets, even though she is basically all on her own at first.
I loved that she then finally made friends – even if something as big as the secrets this city holds are standing between them. I also really liked the twists and turns the story offers – many of which you would never be able to guess! And also the fact that you can never be too sure who Lilly’s real friends are – and who would turn into the enemy.
What I probably loved the most though was how unique Castello is – I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a setting before! The darkness, the eerie atmosphere – the danger is practically bleeding through the pages. This is such a quick read, I practically raced through it and couldn’t decide if I wanted to read on or prolong the reading joy for a bit longer!
If you are a fan of YA fantasies where reality and fantasy are impossible to tell apart, where superstition and history merge, and where witchcraft and mafia dynasties exist alongside each other, you HAVE to pick up With Fire in Their Blood. Highly recommended – 5 stars from me for this eerie modern gothic tale!
Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick this gem up!
Also, did I read that right and there will be more to come?! Eeeeeek!!!