Smoke by Dan Vyleta

[Edit: Originally published on April 9, 2016]

Set in a dystopianesque England where people who sin Smoke. As in Smoke pours from their body whether they want it too or not, not have a cigarette. Of course the aristocracy don’t Smoke, because that would imply that they weren’t worthy of their titles. So the Smoke, is something that is seen as disproportionately of the lower class. This led to some great moments in the book as our three high born protagonists, navigate their way through life among the masses. 

Smoke is a fantastic story where three young people, Thomas, Charlie, and Livia, have to figure out just what is really going on when it comes to the Smoke, the aristocracy’s seeming Smokelessness, and just what are these illegal experiments that Livia’s mother has been doing for? On the run and not knowing who they can trust, they must make their own decisions about what is right, and they don’t always know the answer to that. 

Admittedly the book was a little daunting to start reading because of it’s size. However, as I read, I found that I moved through it very quickly, and I absolutely did not want to put it down. There isn’t a boring moment. Never once did I find that the narrative wavered. I was engaged the entire way through from beginning to end. 

The ending of the book was probably my favorite part, everything about the rest of the book was excellent and it lead up to the ending beautiful, but the ending was so well crafted. In the end it doesn’t come down to a right or wrong choice. It’s just a choice. Thomas, Charlie, and Livia make a choice. They’ve opened pandora’s box, as Thomas says, and they’ll have to deal with whatever it brings. We don’t get to see that, however. They did everything they could to the best of their ability, and now all they can do is continue moving forward. 

I have to say though for all my worry about the love triangle, the end result made me so happy. Livia is clearly torn with feelings for both Charlie and Thomas, but instead of a duel (as remarked about in the book) or Livia choosing one of them. It ends in Livia going, “Well why can’t I have you both?” And the three of them walking off into the sunset holding hands. This is the first book I’ve read that had polyamory as the answer to a love triangle. It wasn’t just thrown in either, it was developed throughout. From early on Livia is concerned about liking both Thomas and Charles and not wanting to have to pick one. There’s a moment, when Thomas tells both Charlie and Livia than he loves them. Seeing that all come together in the end was just fantastic. 

A few cautionary warnings: use of g*psy, and experimentation on children, ie, child abuse, and also a dog dies.

The book comes out in May and you can preorder it here.

Snapchats of my reading: