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06 March 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Boy In The Smoke by Maureen Johnson

On a cold night, Stephen Dene went to the Eton boathouse to perform a desperate act. But someone stopped him along the way, sending his life in a new and decidedly strange direction–leading him to London, to two new friends, and to a world of shadows and mystery.

The prequel, published by Hot Key Books, will be available for purchase for £1/€1.50, or for free in exchange for a World Book Day Token in the UK and Ireland from March 3rd – 30th 2014, in celebration of World Book Day on March 6th.

And you can win a free copy here on this blog.


World Book Day is the biggest annual celebration of books and reading in the UK and Ireland, and this year takes place on Thursday 6th March, celebrating 17 years of encouraging the young and old to share their love of books and reading.

World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all.

Take a look at the World Book Day site too, where there's loads going on. There's even a dedicated YA section with reading lists and recommended books.


5 Words: heartbreaking, sad, dark, wonderful, interesting.

It is not bad that I've called this book sad, dark and heartbreaking. It is good and it is necessary.

If you have ever read the Shades of London books then read this. If you plan to read the Shades of London books then read this. And if you don't plan to do either? Read this anyway.

This short broke my heart as I read it, and it made me understand Stephen so much more. I thought I'd read it in a flash, but I ended up reading it twice, and taking my time with it. It made me think and it made me desperately sad.

It is beautifully written, and subtly witty, and Stephen's character really comes to life. His voice stands out as quite different from Rory's, the narrator of the main Shades of London novels, and it's refreshing to hear a different voice speak out about the whole ghost-seeing thing.
“Eton produced Society's Monsters - everyone knew that. Politicians, mostly, and occasionally people who ran banks and all the other institutions that stole the world's spoils for themselves.”
If you're in the UK then get yourself to a bookshop and buy this. It's only £1 after all, and for a good cause. I know that Waterstones stocks it, but it may well go fast.


Being the lovely, delightful person that I am, and knowing that not everyone can get their hands on this gem, I bought two copies. One for me and one to give away to some lucky person somewhere in the world. That's right, this is an international giveaway.


  1. Ahh, this sounds so great! I know I said I don't read a lot of novellas (none to be exact), but I really want to start reading them - they were just too difficult for me to get hold of it they weren't in print, but now I can get digital copies so it's fine...I really want to read this! Especially considering how The Madness Underneath ended!

    Thanks for the great review Cora!

    1. Also, thanks for hosting the awesome giveaway!

    2. Sharing a love of reading is definitely important - definitely something I hope to pass down to any children I may have in the future.

  2. Yay! Thanks for the chance. Sounds awesome.

  3. Great review. I love books with such premise so this one seems like my kind of read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Oh wow, that's so nice of you doing this! Thank you for a chance to win a copy! :)

  5. Yes,but it depends on the person whether they will accept that sharing book love :)

    I'm glad you liked this book,great review! :)

    Thank you for the great chance :)

  6. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.
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  7. I think sharing a love of reading is so important but it has to be done in the right way. Something so enjoyable shouldn't be forced on anyone but it can gently be encouraged.
    I loved Shades of London and holy god I'm dying to read The Boy In The Smoke your review made me want it some much more! Thanks for having such a stella give-away!


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