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Smoke This is a dark atmospheric and imaginative dystopian novel that feels intensely like a world that is Victorian and Dickensian This is society divided by Smoke which marks the poor, whose clothes and bodies are clearly marked by soot and smoke The rich and powerful use it as an instrument of power and control The well off do not smoke either through discipline or through underhand subversion of smoke with the use of specific sweets and cigarettes available to those in power We become acquaint This is a dark atmospheric and imaginative dystopian novel that feels intensely like a world that is Victorian and Dickensian This is society divided by Smoke which marks the poor, whose clothes and bodies are clearly marked by soot and smoke The rich and powerful use it as an instrument of power and control The well off do not smoke either through discipline or through underhand subversion of smoke with the use of specific sweets and cigarettes available to those in power We become acquainted with Thomas and Charlie, pupils at a boarding school in Oxford and erstwhile friends Thomas has a dark soul, quick to anger, his father was a murderer, a fate he is certain that he will share Charlie, by comparison, is level headed, compassionate, and loyal in character We become aware of Julius Caesar, an odd, sinister and dark character who loathes Thomas A visit to London introduces the boys to the heavily smoke filled city where Charlie sights an Angel, a man who seems to be completely free of smoke and Thomas observes an old man collecting the darkest of soot from a woman that has just been hung.Charles and Thomas are invited to Baron Naylor s estate where they meet Lady Naylor and become privy to secrets, plans to revolutionise society, experimentation, special cigarettes and sweets They are startled to discover Julius is Lady Naylor s son from a previous marriage and experience further unsettling and malevolant behaviour from him Livia is Lady Naylor s daughter, who disapproves of her mother, but her and Charlie become close Thomas, Charlie and Livia go on the run as attempts to kill them spook them Thomas is badly injured when he is shot Charlie attempts to secure further information from Renfrew, one of the teachers but barely escapes after enduring a harrowing experience in Oxford The three eventually reunite to continue their investigations in London at the home of the smokeless angel that is Tobias Grendel, a man who feels cursed to a half life Livia becomes romantically entangled with Thomas and Charlie which binds the three of them ever closer together A murderous Julius in the meantime has become consumed by the darkest of soot partaken through a special mask A trail of death follows in his wake He is determined to catch up with Thomas Becomingaware of the plans of Lady Raynor and Sebastian, an engineer, and the connection with the London sewer system and their need to save a young child, the three friends enter the dark sewers Thomas, Charlie and Livia come to contemplate the nature of Smoke and where they hope the answers might lie This leads them to make a momentous decision to enter a brave new world.This was a compelling and gripping read that entices and beguiles the reader I found the story tense, suspenseful and entrancing The three young characters are beautifully drawn and developed throughout the novel The plotting and world building is superb I hope the author continues to write another book about this world Highly recommended and wonderful read Thanks to Rebecca Gray and Orion for an ARC This is a novel in which I admired what the author was trying to do I appreciated his vision and cleverness of story but ultimately, this is a flawed book and it didn t completely work for me Smoke is set in Victorian England, but it s a revised version Characters in this world show their sin by smoke So if you have sinful thoughts or deeds, different colors of smoke will rise from you, and everyone can see it.The story opens at a prestigious boys boarding school, and we see the bullying t This is a novel in which I admired what the author was trying to do I appreciated his vision and cleverness of story but ultimately, this is a flawed book and it didn t completely work for me Smoke is set in Victorian England, but it s a revised version Characters in this world show their sin by smoke So if you have sinful thoughts or deeds, different colors of smoke will rise from you, and everyone can see it.The story opens at a prestigious boys boarding school, and we see the bullying that happens when people s sins are obvious and open to judgment, thanks to the smoke We thank the smoke, is a chilling phrase the boys are taught to say en masse We meet our two heroes, Thomas and Charlie, and we meet our villain, Julius One of my favorite scenes was the opening one, in which the boys hold a secret meeting in the middle of the night Julius holds court over the boys, asking them probing questions and testing to see if they ll show smoke.Then the boys take a trip to London, where they see how extensive the smoke is among the lower classes, and they witness a public execution The events that day set the second part of the story in motion, in which Thomas and Charlie get invited to a wealthy relative s house in the country, and they learn some dangerous secrets about the origins of the smoke And if you re wondering where the hell are the women in this story, we ll finally meet two of them out in the country In the third act of the novel, the boys are on the run for their lives, and Julius has become eventerrifying This is where the book took a turn toward horror, with Julius like a demon walking the earth This was my least favorite part, and I was ready for the story to end.My complaints about Smoke involve both its structure and some writing quirks Some of the parts really dragged, and there were sections with too much exposition and infodumping I don t need an encyclopedia of details about the different colors of smoke, thank you While reading, I really struggled with how I was going to rate this book, because there are aspects to admire here, but I was also frustrated with the pacing and story development.Other reviewers liked this novelthan I did, and perhaps you will love it, too In the end, I can say I m glad I read it, and I was intrigued enough by its cleverness that I will look upof the author s work.Finally, I have to praise the design of the book cover, which features the gorgeous Monet painting Houses of Parliament It s a beautifully haunting image, and it s perfect for this story I was also tickled by the choice, since I got to see another painting in that Monet series earlier this summer at the National Gallery in London Even though I didn t love this book, I enjoyed seeing that book cover on my nightstand every day.Favorite QuotesDan Vyleta chose some amazing passages from famous writers to include between the different sections of his book, and those quotes really helped set the tone and gave some historical context for the rest of the story Here were some of my favorites When one remembers under what conditions the working people live, when one thinks how crowded their dwellings are, how every nook and corner swarms with human beings, how sick and well sleep in the same room, in the same bed, the only wonder is that a contagious disease like this fever does not spread yet farther Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England 1845 I asked him whether there was a great fire anywhere For the street were so full of dense brown smoke that scarcely anything was to be seen Oh, dear no, miss he said This is a London particular I had never heard of such a thing A fog, miss, said the young gentleman Oh, indeed said I Charles Dickens, Bleak House 1853 Imagine that you yourself are building the edifice of human destiny with the object of making people happy of giving them peace and rest at last, but for that you must inevitably and unavoidably torture just one tiny creature and raise your edifice on the foundation of her unrequited tears would you agree to be the architect on such conditions Tell me the truth Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov 1880 Smoke is stunning and sublime A piece of fiction like this does not come along very often This is a firm favourite of mine now forever Totally adored it I m stunned by so many low reviews Truly.This book has the most fascinating plot Quite simply your sin shows to the world as soot, smoke, grime on your body and clothes Thinking something bad about the person you are with Careful your white shirt doesn t start to spoil with smoke and soot.There are seekers who are determined to find a wa Smoke is stunning and sublime A piece of fiction like this does not come along very often This is a firm favourite of mine now forever Totally adored it I m stunned by so many low reviews Truly.This book has the most fascinating plot Quite simply your sin shows to the world as soot, smoke, grime on your body and clothes Thinking something bad about the person you are with Careful your white shirt doesn t start to spoil with smoke and soot.There are seekers who are determined to find a way for Smoking to stop and then those that believe all need to The lengths gone to in the novel will take your breath away.It s incredibly atmospheric and addictive, I felt the book pulled me in and entangled me in the prose I m stunned that some did not like this and gave it bad reviews Truly I am It s not a fast paced book and there are many characters that I won t go into but each one has a distinct presence and place that makes them easy to walk with, to see, to know I felt I was IN the book at times.Set in England, from London central to small mining villages the setting is just perfect It s one of those fiction books that had me thinking what if this were true and pondering the impact of it.It s a unique read for me, something out of the ordinary and I read it steadily without putting the book away Each word had me mesmerised Sophisticated story telling I felt a lot of emotions reading this too from horror and disgust to happiness and wonder Fiction rabbit hole here I come See you when I come back up for air.A beautiful book with a dark edge and moments that will keep the book twisting and turning Subtle scenes that whack you across the head once you digest what is really being presented to you So much to say really So many great elements Great overall concept and an absolute winner for me If you like some degree of complexity with your books you will enjoy this, it s not one you can skim read at all Lock yourself away with food and water and ensure you wear black should you smoke and show whilst reading it.5 magical stars for the journey this book is I would love to see this as a mini series, it s ripe for it Even if you don t step out of your comfort zone of genres, try this one and see Obviously not for everyone but I can t fathom actual bad reviews of this Huge thanks to the publisher for a copy of this novel to read and review.Thanks for reading my review Forof my book reviews, plenty of awesome books to win, author interviews and features come over to join me for book fun at follow me on Twitter enquire about joining my reviewers team to enquire about my book publicity services Smoke , by Dan Vyleta was bloody marvelous From the first line in the book Thomas, Thomas Wake up, which did grab my attention to the very last sentence of the book I m still smiling ear to ear, but I m not dishing out this line ,I had a BLAST OF FUN hanging out with the teenagers, Charlie, Thomas, and Livia all of noble birth There is adventure, dystopia adventure , mystery, rich vs the poor, and young love There are political and moral overtones with the To Smoke , by Dan Vyleta was bloody marvelous From the first line in the book Thomas, Thomas Wake up, which did grab my attention to the very last sentence of the book I m still smiling ear to ear, but I m not dishing out this line ,I had a BLAST OF FUN hanging out with the teenagers, Charlie, Thomas, and Livia all of noble birth There is adventure, dystopia adventure , mystery, rich vs the poor, and young love There are political and moral overtones with the Tories, liberals, and Radicalsturning this novel into a thriller with villains and heroes but as to being fully certain who is evil and who is notwell, that s questionable depending on whose perspective you might be looking from In this worldthere is a physical manifestation of Smoke from your body and clothes if you tell a lie..are sinful..and withhold secrets Yet there are degrees of sin Depending on which social class one belongs to The wealthy kids such as Thomas Charlie and Livia have been trained to control their emotions so their clothes look cleaner than people who come from povertywhere they are covered in soot It was fun that the candy sweets, Beasley Son was a character in this novel the yummy irresistible treats These sweets are a part of the mystery they just might give Charlie and Thomas answers if they eat one Then again.questions may arise Is Smoke a diseaseor a cure Lots of symbolism in this novel When the mind is enlightened, the spirt is free and the body matters not Oma Desala, from Stargate.Smoke represents the release of the soul, or spirit, from its visible and physical form and it s sublime ascent back to the invisible GREAT novel.maybe A sequel is coming It looks like it s possible Thank you Doubleday s first reads giveaway The concept of this book was very intriguing It deals with a world in which you literally start smoking when you sin In other words, sin is very visible, and at school you are taught to try and hide your sins It s exactly at a school that we meet our two main characters, Thomas and Charlie Circumstances, however, lead them away from school one Christmas, and that s where the story really takes off I really liked the two boys as well as this mysterious, yet fascinating world I think that s The concept of this book was very intriguing It deals with a world in which you literally start smoking when you sin In other words, sin is very visible, and at school you are taught to try and hide your sins It s exactly at a school that we meet our two main characters, Thomas and Charlie Circumstances, however, lead them away from school one Christmas, and that s where the story really takes off I really liked the two boys as well as this mysterious, yet fascinating world I think that s why the beginning of the novel came off the strongest to me because it introduced me to both the world and the characters I also really liked how the story is predominantly told from the protagonists points of view, but every second chapter is from the point of view of an outside person That really brought depth to the narrative, and I was constantly looking forward to these short in between chapters However much I found this world fascinating, though, I started losing interest in the story towards the middle, and it only got worse There wasn t any point where I was eager to get back to the book and continue reading especially when it started becomingof a middlegrade YA story That s why my rating ends at 3 stars, because while I loved parts of this book, I was also disappointed in some of it I received this on a read to review basis from NetGalley Thank you to the author, Dan Vyleta, and the publisher,Harper Collins, for this opportunity.Smoke is the name for the physical transmutation that appears on a person s body and clothing as a physical sign of their internal sin Whether in thought or deed, the sinners are marked for society to judge by the severity of the smoke that marks their physiognomy This leads to an almost religiously fanatic feel to permeate the book and often rea I received this on a read to review basis from NetGalley Thank you to the author, Dan Vyleta, and the publisher,Harper Collins, for this opportunity.Smoke is the name for the physical transmutation that appears on a person s body and clothing as a physical sign of their internal sin Whether in thought or deed, the sinners are marked for society to judge by the severity of the smoke that marks their physiognomy This leads to an almost religiously fanatic feel to permeate the book and often reads like a religious or moralistic parable in the depiction of society s treatment and judgement of the sinners What is counted as sin can often be something as human as lust or something as immoral as murder Bad thoughts and bad deeds alike are visible and this leads to a society of restrained individuals that appear Victorian in their abstemiousness The obviousness of the satirical approach of the novel only served to heighten the absurdity of the lengths individuals would go to to disprove their sin and to prevent its occurrence.The ambiguities I encountered whilst reading this I could completely forgive as the world building and the creation of the magic system of sorts was on such a phenomenal scale, especially given the length of the book, that any attempt at a further justification would have only furthered muddied the already complex descriptions given This book is clever, no denying that, and reading this is like attempting to view the world through layers of smoke there are layers upon layers to both narrative and plot, shadowed corners that are only to be revealed when the author allows and a dark and brooding atmosphere that permeates the entire text I was enraptured with this world and the characters therein and cannot wait to dive into the next installment One of the benefits of a cross country airline flight is a lot of sitting without other distractions competing for your time Without a back and forth trip this weekend, I m not sure how long it would have taken me to finish this book.I should start by saying that upon reflection, I m not sure this is really the book for me however, I think a lot of people will love it Smoke tells the alternate history version of Victorian England where people emit a smoke whenever they do something bad like One of the benefits of a cross country airline flight is a lot of sitting without other distractions competing for your time Without a back and forth trip this weekend, I m not sure how long it would have taken me to finish this book.I should start by saying that upon reflection, I m not sure this is really the book for me however, I think a lot of people will love it Smoke tells the alternate history version of Victorian England where people emit a smoke whenever they do something bad like tell a lie, lose their temper, think a bad thought, steal, etc And yet some people namely those in the church, government, the rich, and those in authority , don t seem to smoke The poor, uneducated, powerless, smoke all the time.The premise of the book is fascinating The first chapter actually the first third of the book is so well written I was completely engaged Then the book starts to get a bit convoluted and I lost interest Its 448 pages seemed to drag on eternally I attribute this partially to the story losing focus and partially to me just not being the right audience for this alternate reality science fiction dystopian sort of book.In spite of my issues with the book I am always amazed at how closely fiction mirrors reality even wildly creative fiction, like this Characters in this book want to remove all foreigners from England, build walls , and the divide between rich and poor is startling Vyleta had to have written this book long before the U.S Presidential campaign but the themes sounded eerily similar.2.5 stars rounded up to 3 for creativity and originality Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review Alternate cover edition can be found here The laws of Smoke are complex Not every lie will trigger it A fleeting thought of evil may pass unseen a fib, an excuse, a piece of flattery Next thing you know its smell is in your nose There is no hateful smell in the world than the smell of Smoke England A century ago, give or take a few yearsAn England where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours forth from their bodies, a sign of their fallen state The aristocracy do not smoke, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot An England utterly strange and utterly real An elite boarding school where the sons of the wealthy are groomed to take power as their birthright Teachers with mysterious ties to warring political factions at the highest levels of government Three young people who learn everything they ve been taught is a lie knowledge that could cost them their lives A grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories A love triangle A desperate chase Revolutionaries and secret police Religious fanatics and coldhearted scientists Murder A London filled with danger and wonder A tortured relationship between a mother and a daughter, and a mother and a son Unexpected villains and unexpected heroes Cool reason versus passion Rich versus poor Right versus wrong, though which is which isn t clear This is the world of Smoke, a narrative tour de force, a tale of Dickensian intricacy and ferocious imaginative power, richly atmospheric and intensely suspenseful I loved Dan Vyleta s previous novels, particularly, The Quiet Twin, a dark, historical mystery, and so was thrilled to have the chance to review his latest offering Smoke, is a very different novel to his previous work, but will hopefully bring him a whole new audience, which has to be a good thing.The novel begins at a prestigious boys boarding school in an alternate England It has a sort of Victorian, steam punk, feel to it from gas lamps and carriages to public executions this is a I loved Dan Vyleta s previous novels, particularly, The Quiet Twin, a dark, historical mystery, and so was thrilled to have the chance to review his latest offering Smoke, is a very different novel to his previous work, but will hopefully bring him a whole new audience, which has to be a good thing.The novel begins at a prestigious boys boarding school in an alternate England It has a sort of Victorian, steam punk, feel to it from gas lamps and carriages to public executions this is a dark and almost pre industrial version of the country However, the greatest difference is Smoke itself rather than pouring forth from chimneys, it is something that emanates from people Smoke is, indeed, a visible manifestation of vice and sin As always, there is a class difference here the aristocracy including the boys we meet at the beginning of the book, friends Thomas and Charlie, and the Alpha Male, violent and bullying Julius are taught to control their Smoke The working class pour Smoke freely and their vice and sin are shown openly and often revelled in A school trip to London opens the boys eyes and changes how they think about Smoke.Thomas s father committed a crime, and, it is believed, that he carries this inherited sin within him When he goes to visit his uncle, with Charlie, he meets Lady Naylor and her daughter, Livia Thomas discovers his uncle has descended into madness, while Lady Naylor has secret laboratories and is involved in investigating the origins of Smoke Charlie, Thomas and Livia team up and end up on the run dealing with the evil Julius, controlling school masters and lowly coal miners as they fulfil their destiny to uncover the secrets of Smoke This is an interesting and well fleshed out world, with good characters and an original background At times, it read a little like a YA novel, but hasadult themes I enjoyed the ideas behind this novel and, while I hope it increases Dan Vyleta s readership, I hope it will not see him changing style completely He writes such excellent historical mysteries that I would be saddened if he did not continue this new style of writing alongside his previous types of books I m quite certain that reviews of this book will make much of its Dickensian atmosphere and setting The author is clearly aiming for such, with quotes from Dickens included However, something kept poking at me, saying, Dickens Hmm that s not quite it And suddenly it sprang at me Joan Aiken Yes, Aiken hasthan a touch of the Dickensian herself But that s the feel of this book exactly If you loved Joan Aiken s books as a kid, you will LOVE this book now It s aimed at a sli I m quite certain that reviews of this book will make much of its Dickensian atmosphere and setting The author is clearly aiming for such, with quotes from Dickens included However, something kept poking at me, saying, Dickens Hmm that s not quite it And suddenly it sprang at me Joan Aiken Yes, Aiken hasthan a touch of the Dickensian herself But that s the feel of this book exactly If you loved Joan Aiken s books as a kid, you will LOVE this book now It s aimed at a slightly older audience I d say that this is YA for young adults who don t mind their stories dark Like Aiken, Vyleta s story features an England of yesteryear, a plot that s essentially an adventure tale, with much romping around the countryside but with truly creepy villains and the real potential of bad things happening to our young characters.Those main characters are Thomas Argyle whom I kept picturing as Thomas from Downton Abbey and his friend Charlie, students at an elite boys boarding school in the classic fashion of a certain genre of literature We soon learn, through a brutal incident of hazing, how this world differs from ours This Britain is affected on every level by Smoke Smoke is just that a sooty discharge that emanates from people, particularly when people are overtaken by their passions, by emotion, especially by guilt Smoke is seen as sin, and an indication of sin It is also seen as an indicator of class of course, the peasantry is rife with smoke, but a gentleman should never be seen to show a stain of such he should always be self controlled and pristine.Thomas has an unshakable belief in his own state of sin, due to a hidden incident in his family history He looks up to his friend Charlie as farvirtuous than he His main concern is the state of his soul until he is invited, nay summoned, for the holidays to the home of an uncle who s a stranger to him Charlie accompanies him, and there the boys discover a bizarre situation The uncle is confined to his room, unwell, and his aunt is running the show She seems to be engaged in mad scientist type experiments involving Smoke which are also probably highly illegal Also in the house is her daughter, the rigidly repressed Livia and then, Thomas worst bully from school turns up, with an unexpected reason for being present Outside of school, his dastardly acts may be even less restrained than they were before, and the boys believe that they may be in serious danger, from multiple directions Have they stumbled onto clues to knowledge that they were never intended to see It seems they re over their heads, and in the midst of some very adult plots involving both the highest and the lowest echelons of their society.Many thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for the opportunity to read As always, my opinions are solely my own


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