Thursday, April 11, 2019

Review: Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton with Giveaway

Smoke and Key
by Kelsey Sutton
Release Date: April 2019
Entangled Teen

A sound awakens her. There's darkness all around. And then she's falling...

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she's dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn't utter a word. There's Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key's instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can't remember why.

Purchase links can be found HERE!


Fantasy, paranormal and mystery fans who are looking for a different type of read will enjoy picking up this one.

Key wakes to find herself in a dark, tightly enclosed space with only a voice coming from nowhere. Then, she falls. Landing in the Under, a strange place that many have fallen from their graves into after their deaths, her memories have who she was and who she knew during life are gone. Instead, she needs to find her place in a society of dead people...most who are at least partially decomposed and suffering the same memory loss. Soon, she finds some friends but, at the same time, her memories start to return. Then, the impossible happens. Someone is brutally murdering the already dead, and Key begins to suspect it has something to do with her and the object whose namesake she now carries—the key around her neck.

I'm not sure where to start with this review, since there's no way I can possibly bring the story across in all of its rich strangeness and curious atmosphere. It takes place in a space under the dirt, where types of living spaces have been carved out of the dirt. And the characters are partially decomposed, except for Key, who although laying in her grave for years, has somehow remained pretty much intact. The dead are friendly enough and have formed a type of townish society. It's an odd setting with a dismal atmosphere, and it works. 

Each character, named after whatever object they might have possessed when they 'fell', gains a surprisingly rich personality. Everything is coated with a sense of mystery and curiosity, and as the plot unfolds, all of it gains in depth. The characters hook and each possess their own surprising history. The mystery itself isn't so much a hunt for clues, but unfolds as the memories return in dreamlike flashbacks. While a bit predictable in some respects, the mixture works and makes it hard to put the book down.

There's romance in here too, which is warm and yet, strange in its own right thanks to the characters being dead. This leaves an odd feel to it, which isn't necessarily bad or good. Simply different.  

And here she is...

Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She will soon have a master's degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore. You can visit her online at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook  


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1 comment:

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