Friday, 21 March 2014


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.

Boy, has March been unkind to me reading-wise. This book is a special release for World Book Day, and is a short companion to Maureen Johnson's Shades of London books. A series that I love and am dying to get the next instalment of. I expected this book to fuel that desperation, to really punch me in the heart and make me blub over Stephen.

                                                      It did not do that.

Honestly, I was never a huge Stephen fan. And I am now ducking under my desk to avoid being hit by projectiles thrown by 90% of the internet. Yes, I was several emotionally impacted by the ending to book two, The Madness Underneath, but I had never really warmed to Stephen. I hoped this book would help, it would build up his character, break beneath the surface and let me in. I don't think it did. In fact, I found the whole thing, dare I say it, kind of dull. I love Maureen's writing, I do, but this book was lacking her usual spark. She has such a way with words - as you'd expect from a writer, of course, but her writing has always struck me as particularly fresh and interesting and vivid. This didn't line up with her other work and that's a real shame. 

Obviously, if you're a fan of the series, you'll want to read this book (or will have already done so.) If you haven't read the series - though I have no idea why that is - I can't understand why you'd have any interest in this at all. So, read the series, and try not to be too disappointed by this one. 

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