The Resource Smoke : a novel, Dan Vyleta

Smoke : a novel, Dan Vyleta

Label
Smoke : a novel
Title
Smoke
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Dan Vyleta
Creator
Author
Setting
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In an alternate England, where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours from their bodies, Thomas, Charlie, and Livia notice that some people appear to be able to lie without triggering Smoke. As they dig deeper, they discover teachers who have mysterious ties to warring political factions, a sumptuous estate which hides attic rooms and laboratories, revolutionaries who are fighting against a secret police force. They begin to suspect that everything they have been taught about Smoke is a lie; but if that is a lie, what else about their world is lies? What is their place in the struggle between faith and reason, between good and evil? And who can they trust?
Member of
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
LibraryReads Favorites, 2016.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Historical-novelist Vyleta (The Crooked Maid, 2013) imagines an alternative turn-of-the-century England where the proletariat and aristocratic classes are further divided by the relationship to Smoke, the manifestation of sin that flows from the body as blackened breath or ashen sweat whenever someone thinks or acts immorally. The nobility maintain their stature by suppressing their desires, while the poor cake themselves in Soot every time they succumb to their feelings. But, like all social norms, Smoke is riddled with contradictions, as three boarding-school students discover on their winter break. As Thomas fights the darkness that has been thriving in him since birth, Charlie and Livia experience the allure of Smoke a thousand different ways, each one spawning a new question about human instinct: Is it natural to think “bad” thoughts, and if so, does that make it OK? Do people behave morally out of true goodness or to prove to others how much better they are? Full of otherworldly adventure yet chilling in its realism, Smoke lures readers into considering these questions about society and ourselves.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With Vyleta poised to follow the rise of best-selling historical-fantasy author Susannah Clarke, a national tour and numerous media appearances will highlight a major promotion effort. -- Hyzy, Biz (Reviewed 4/15/2016) (Booklist, vol 112, number 16, p40)
  • In an alternate historical London, people who lie reveal themselves by giving off smoke but the rules of how this works are complicated.There are some people who can lie and not trigger any smoke and this lends an interesting element to the story. The rules we are given are changeable. The setting lends itself well to the story.The writing is descriptive, and the tone is atmospheric. Similar authors that come to my mind were Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. This is a dark, delicious tale. -- Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO. (LibraryReads, May 2016)
  • Set in an alternate Victorian England, this novel opens with a late-night bullying scene in a boys' boarding school à la Robert Cormier or Charles Dickens. But over several hundred pages, the narrative develops into a story of three teenage friends on a mission to save the world from destruction by deranged adults, all while negotiating their own love triangle and questioning everything they've ever been told about the Smoke that streaks or puffs or billows out of people who lose self-control in their world. The religious and philosophical beliefs surrounding Smoke, the physical phenomenon of it, and its relatively short history in this England don't all quite hang together in terms of world-building, but most readers won't care, because the grubby mystery of Smoke is intriguing. Teens will find themselves wondering what makes humans human. The lush yet accessible writing style is irresistibly engaging. Most important, the three friends—a cheerfully privileged yet compassionate earl's heir, a mad scientist's haughty daughter, and a possibly cursed, ruthlessly honest orphan boy—are a heartbreaking, heartwarming pleasure to root for. This thick volume satisfies on its own, but a sequel would be welcome, too. VERDICT Give this to fans of either historical fiction or dystopian fiction who want to read a bit outside their comfort zone.—Hope Baugh, Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, IN --Hope Baugh (Reviewed 12/01/2016) (School Library Journal, vol 62, issue 12, p128)
  • /* Starred Review */ Vyleta’s latest is a fiercely inventive novel set in a late Victorian Britain at once recognizable and intricately transformed. Best friends at an elite boarding school, Charlie Cooper and Thomas Argyle accept the way their world works: dark thoughts and deeds immediately cause black “Smoke” to emanate from human bodies, and the upper classes rule by virtue of being visibly more pure than the lower. Then the friends spend Christmas at the baronial home of Thomas’s uncle Baron Naylor, and everything changes. They are both attracted to his daughter, Livia, and her half-brother, Julius Spencer, Thomas’s cousin and a prefect at their school, hides a violent soul behind an irreproachable persona. Meanwhile, Lady Naylor is conducting secret research that throws everything they believe—from the texts of the Bible to the very nature of Smoke—into doubt. After investigating her laboratory and being attacked by an unknown assailant, Livia and the boys make for London, where they risk their lives for the chance to change their nation and themselves. Though its pacing falters a bit mid-book, Vyleta’s (The Crooked Maid) bold concept and compelling blend of history and fantasy offer a provocative reflection on the nature of evil, power, belief, and love. Dickensian in its imaginative scope and atmosphere, Smoke will have readers glad that a sequel is already underway. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 02/15/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 07, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ London is under a cloud of smoke—not the usual fog described in Charles Dickens novels. In this alternate history set in Victorian Britain, people exude smoke when they sin, leading to a huge pall over heavily populated areas such as London. Thomas and Charlie are students at an elite boarding school for aristocratic scions, where they are disciplined for any display of smoke or sooty residue. But the duo, on a visit to Thomas's aunt in the country, uncover a terrible truth about this phenomenon and must race to stop a conspiracy. This books succeeds on many levels. The author observes life in the school with a keen eye, depicting the casual cruelty of an older student that portends the true villainy to come. And the camaraderie of Thomas and Charlie, tested by violence and a romantic rivalry, keeps readers rooting for them through thick and thin. Livia, the object of their joint admiration, is another wonderfully realized character, shaken out of her sheltered and rigid life of self-discipline. VERDICT As a meditation on the nature of evil, Vyleta's fourth novel (after The Crooked Maid) has a depth that will be appreciated even as the action keeps the pages turning. [200,000-copy first printing; a LibraryReads May pick.] --Megan M. McArdle (Reviewed 05/15/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 9, p57)
  • A dystopian fantasy novel set sometime in 19th-century England. "We thank the Smoke" is a mantralike phrase that's used by characters throughout this exciting, fearful fantasy novel by Vyleta (The Crooked Maid, 2013, etc.). His previous novels explored social paranoia, distrust, and fear, and he's now bringing these same topics to a scary imagined world. Meet two young, upper-class best friends, Thomas Argyle and Charlie Copper, at what appears to be a classic English public school—except it isn't. This is a world where children are born in sin, where Smoke emanates from their bodies when they lie or think a bad thought, and the purpose of this school is to cleanse them of the Smoke. Bleak House had its fog; in this world Smoke surrounds people, staining their clothes (only lye or urine will get it out). As children grow older, "Good begins to ripen." Why? Can it be changed? Over Christmas holidays, Thomas and Charlie meet a girl named Livia, a prefect at another school, the attractive daughter of Baron and Lady Naylor. Following up on something shocking Lady Naylor tells Thomas changes the novel's trajectory into one familiar to Philip Pullman and C.S. Lewis readers—the quest. Thomas, Charlie, and Livia are off to London and its old, abandoned halls of Parliament, where they'll seek answers about Smoke and the maleficence behind it. We root for these appealing characters as they face one dreadful obstacle after another. Although the novel is primarily told in the third person, many chapters are in the first person, narrated by a wide variety of characters, which helps the reader become more deeply invested in their adventures. Even though it's somewhat derivative of other books in this vein and loses its way at times, the novel's sumptuous, irresistible narrative—filled with plenty of twists and turns and imagination—will satisfy any reader. A terrific, suspenseful tale that could definitely cross over to the teen audience. Sequel, anyone?(Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2016)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10466730
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Vyleta, Dan
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Smoke
Series volume
0001
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Good and evil
  • Social conflict
  • Life change events
  • Boarding schools
  • Triangles (Interpersonal relations)
  • Imaginary societies
  • Aristocracy (Social class)
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • Alternative histories (Fiction)
  • Aristocracy (Social class)
  • Boarding schools
  • Good and evil
  • Imaginary societies
  • Life change events
  • Social conflict
  • Triangles (Interpersonal relations)
  • London (England)
  • England
  • England
Label
Smoke : a novel, Dan Vyleta
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1525887
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xii, 431 pages
Isbn
9780385540162
Lccn
2015037301
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780385540162
  • (OCoLC)922630826
Label
Smoke : a novel, Dan Vyleta
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1525887
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xii, 431 pages
Isbn
9780385540162
Lccn
2015037301
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780385540162
  • (OCoLC)922630826

Library Locations

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    • Yarborough BranchBorrow it
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      30.3234684 -97.74072129999999
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