The Boy in the Smoke by Maureen Johnson

This is a short prequel novella to the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson and the first thing I would say is that despite this being a prequel, I would say to read it after The Name of the Star as it does give a few things away about one of the characters.

This novella follows Stephen Dene who we meet in The Name of the Star  and tells his story up until the beginning of that novel. The writing style was still as brilliant as always with Maureen Johnson and although you get an overview of Stephen’s life in The Name of the Star, it was really interesting to read more about his character and learn what happened in a lot more detail.

The character of Peter was really brought to life (pardon the pun) and I really liked the relationship that he had with Stephen.

At only 86 pages I thought that this wouldn’t really be necessary to the series, and although I think you could definitely read the series without this little book, I am really glad that I picked it up on World Book Day and had a chance to read it during the Booktubeathon.

It was a quick read and although creepy at parts, it was more about the characters which I really enjoyed. I am now really excited to get to The Madness Underneath as soon as I have finished some other books that I am currently reading.

Overall I would completely recommend this short book if you read and enjoyed the first book in the series but I wouldn’t say to read this first as, as I said, it would give a few things away.

the boy in the smoke


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