What would you do if everyone could see your sin?
Smoke by Dan Vyleta changes the story of virtue and sin. Historically, those of higher class and better breeding were the virtuous ones. However, can virtue be measured if it is not seen? In Victorian-age England, Smoke is the result of sinning. Whether it be lying or thinking ill thoughts, clothes are stained with soot.
In a world, historical and paranormal, Thomas and Charlie, both from noble families, are sent to a “prep school”. Meant to teach its student body how to subdue the Smoke and act with more virtue than sin, young men fight to conceal their true selves. Thomas and Charlie begin to question the society they are brought up in. Instead of accepting what professors and their parents continue to tell them, they seek out the answer for Smoke. Learning that there was a time before Smoke, the two teenagers set out on a journey to uncover the truth. With help from Levyia, Thomas’ up-tight, cousin, the three learn about Smoke’s past, the members of the society who seek to change the order of the world, and those who are fighting to keep it the same.
Charlie, level-headed and considerate, seeks to understand Smoke. Thomas, volatile and angry, fights inner demons. Once he is told something evil is growing inside him, instead of combating against his Smoke, Thomas accepts what it actually means. And Leyvia, living up to the standards of virtue her breed is meant to, starts to come apart.
The three teens end up on the run, in hiding, and being hunted by a monster who used to be a boy. They encounter a woman who can’t stop Smoking to a man who can’t Smoke at all.
Weaving intricate stories throughout the main narrative, Vyleta creates a world that is dark and ashy. With clouds of Smoke spewing from London capital, to soot on people’s tongues, the twists one turns throughout the novel will leave you asking for more.