Published by Penguin on September 1st 2022
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 . . .
Thank you to the Write Reads and the publisher, Penguin, for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
With Fire in Their Blood is a YA urban fantasy, witches, factions, and small-town Italy. Aside from the witches, I got Romeo and Juliet vibes from it but I was wrong. Even though we have the Marconis against the Paradisos, there isn’t a clear Romeo, nor do I think Lilly is a Juliet. Still, the book didn’t disappoint.
The premise lured me in and it was a good promise for what was coming, the past being a blueprint for the future.
I didn’t like Lilly as much. She pushes everyone away even though she craves relationships. She has three potential love interests and kissed two of them. I have absolutely no idea what’s up with her. She makes bad decisions and is incredibly stubborn. She gets people hurt because of it. And because she’s the only PoV, other characters are also seen as antagonists, people who get in her way. It makes sense since the whole town is a big cult and she’s the new girl. And not just the new girl.
The world-building is amazing. The history, the architecture, the religion, the symbols. I loved it. It reminded me of other witchy contemporary fantasy books and movies but with a unique twist of a small town in Italy. I used my experiences walking through Grosetto and Sienna to imagine the city. I’m sure my imagination wouldn’t be able to compete with what the author had in mind though.
I give With Fire in Their Blood four stars. It’s a fast-paced YA urban fantasy with interesting worldbuilding. The intrigues are more interesting than the characters but it was enough to keep me reading. And that ending… It left me wanting more.