**DISCLAIMER: With Fire In Their Blood was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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 . . .
With Fire In Their Blood is a dark, paranormal romance that grips you until the end. It draws in elements from noughties paranormal romances that make it a nostalgic feast.
Firstly, we must discuss the setting for the story, Castello. A town with patchy internet – at best – and the most gothic setting you can think of. Lilly notices the brutality of it immediately but also recognises its charm. A secluded town in the middle of nowhere isn’t a teenager’s idea of a good time, but it certainly makes the story that much more exciting. The stark lack of social media means the characters have to connect in person and make real connections to survive.
Lilly’s relationship with all of the characters is rough at first. Only Liza gives her the time of day. Lilly is timid in the beginning, she can fight her own battles but she’s the ‘new girl’ and feels that hostility from her peers wherever she goes. Liza is a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t let Lilly feel like she’s a complete outsider. They become quick friends, and it’s clear there are romantic feelings building between the two. It’s never specified but Lilly is bisexual or pansexual – at least that’s the way it seems in this book.
Christian is actually the first person Lilly meets at school, but it’s a frosty meeting. It takes a long while for them to get to the root of their issues. There’s definitely chemistry between them from the start, and neither can explore it until Christian drops his guard with her. In my opinion, it was a bit obvious what the twist was in their relationship. However, it didn’t take away from the overall excitement that their connection brings.
Nico fits the bad-boy persona with perfection. He’s enticing and you want to know more about him, even if he is an ass initially. You get the impression he’s hiding something important and that he’s not giving up the information any time soon. Lilly’s relationships in the book are really in their beginning stages. They need some work, but all teenage relationships are messy. Between the hormones and intense personal growth, you can often feel like you’re lost at sea when it comes to emotional stability. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops in book 2.
If you’re into YA Fantasies, this is a book you need to read. It’s a mixture of warring mafia clans, corrupt politics, complex magic systems, and romance that will have your head spinning – in a good way! I highly recommend giving this fantastic debut a read.