Title: With Fire in their Blood
Author: Kat Delacorte
Release Date: 1/9/2022
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 37
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free copy from Penguin ,via the Write Reads in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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 . . .
I really enjoyed this. It was such an unusual and dramatically different almost Romeo and Juliet retelling but not quite. I liked how dark this was and how much Lilly was repulsed and repelled by the town, its history and customs. I also like how quickly she became indoctrinated to this bizarre way of life. I felt Lilly was a really strong and compelling character.
It does also suffer from the ‘lack of adults’ syndrome a little bit. While Delacourte does try to explain away Lilly’s fathers absence in what is one of the more convincing back stories I have read ther comes a point in the story where his absence just becomes odd. Odd is a recurring feeling for a lot of this book. If I am being honest I think that is what I like most about it. It is filled with a lot of odd. All the way through I felt I was missing something and that it just didn’t all quite come together yet I still found it completely entertaining.
One thing I didn’t really gel with is the fact that every single teen in this town seemed to be in love with our MC. It wasn’t just insta-love all of them seemed to find her completely irresistible even though she didn’t do a damn thing to warrant their affections. For me this seemed to add to the bizarre nature of the book. I don’t know if this was due to the powers that people in this city develop it never seemed to be explained but just this mad love they all seemed to develop for Lilly was a bit jarring. I think because there was a plethora of potential suiters for Lilly we never really got to know them enough to route for them. It also has a dramatic case of "burying your gays" which while it made for a shock at the time is such an outdated trope that now it makes me a little sad that is the route that was taken.
The cliffhanger ending was the biggest disappointment as nothing really felt resolved again adding to the odd feeling and the incomplete feeling I had the whole time. I still found this an enjoyable read and I would recommend it for anyone looking for something out of the box in terms of YA fantasy. But the billing as a paranormal romance oversells the romance and undersells the creative worldbuilding.