We join two boys, Charlie and Thomas, with different upbringings at a private boarding school where the students are taught how sinning is evil and the smoke that emits from your body is a reminder of that premise. The boys travel to London where they see sin in all its disgusting glory where it is evident the more wicked you are the dirtier you are. The boys, in a Harry Potter sort of way, investigate this further and the methods in which the rich and the ‘noble’ seek to cover up their most natural sins by sucking on sweets and, ironically, inhaling certain cigarette smoke.
Whilst the pace of the story wanes in the middle of the book and the story is strained at times, the ending pulls it together. Throughout this story the reader ponders whether an element of bad can be good – and natural – and this is what keeps you going. Together with the descriptions of London invoking the most bleak of Dickensian descriptions this book is highly enjoyable.
In my opinion, Vyleta missed a trick with this novel as it could have easily been a series of books with the story developing slowly. That being said, I can see it easily being adapted for a movie.
Did any of you read it? What were your thoughts?
Recommended for: those of you who are missing Harry Potter or Philip Pullman novels
Favourite quote: “We can’t have it, can we? Just a little Smoke. Enough to make us human … But that’s just it, isn’t it? How much is enough?”
Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!