Title: With Fire in Their Blood
Author: Kat Delacorte
Genre: YA fantasy
Page Length: 416
Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2022
Synopsis: ‘Startlingly original… Readers will be lured into this tumultuous world of warring families, forbidden power, and heart-searing romance’ – Lyndall Clipstone (Lakesedge, Forestfall)
From the word-of-mouth fantasy sensation Kat Delacorte – the standout debut star of 2022 YA Lit Con (YALC) – comes the first instalment in a new YA fantasy duology.
Packed to the brim with bisexual and queer representation, 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. . .
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’m so pleased to be on The Write Reads tour for this book. It’s such a unique supernatural romance with great Gothic and dystopian elements. The story follows Lilly, who begrudgingly moves with her father to Castello, a small and isolated city in Italy, and discovers that Castello holds many secrets. It’s divided into two clans kept apart by a leader called The General. As she learns more about the past, the present, Castello, and its inhabitants, Lilly realizes that everything she knew about herself was a lie.
The magic system, world-building, and dystopian elements are on point in this book. Everything is layered and developed, and the imagery and personification used really bring the setting and characters to life. The magic system is layered, complex, and intriguing, but I did find it a bit dense and confusing at times. That being said, I feel like the next book will offer some clarity for those few instances.
The tone is great – dark and eerie with an air of mystery. The story includes an isolated city shrouded in secrets, eerie mists and decaying structures, enigmatic characters, disturbing nightmares, and more, which really highlight the Gothic vibes. The author’s writing style and the way they use personification and sensory language also add to the Gothic tone. The dystopian elements are also strong, especially the excessive control and corruptive power of those in charge, the rigid rules which keep the citizens uninformed, isolated, and without a voice, and a protagonist who defies all obstacles and fights for freedom.
The plot is really interesting and includes some great twists and turns. I like when books take you in different directions than you expect, and this book did that on more than one occasion. The major characters are interesting, but I felt like I wanted to know more in some instances. That being said, Liza, Nico, and Christian are three characters that Lilly befriends, and I found them all intriguing with strong and distinct voices and character arcs. There are also possible romances that I have a feeling will be explored more in future books in the series. It will be interesting to see how some of these relationships will grow and change as the story progresses. Unfortunately, as secrets and more shocking revelations are revealed, it becomes clear that Lilly doesn’t know who to trust.
I enjoyed this read. It was unique and entertaining, and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. I would definitely recommend it to readers of dark YA fantasy with Gothic vibes. Thanks so much to NetGalley, The Write Reads, and Penguin for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
The past is vicious. It doesn’t die so easily. You have to kill it yourself.
About the Author:
Kat Delacorte was eleven years old when her family moved from the United States to a small town in central Italy. She soon began writing stories about her new friends developing superpowers, and she hasn’t looked back since. She graduated with a BA in History from Columbia University, and lives in Venice, Italy.