Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton – ARC Review


My Rating ~ Four stars

4-gold-stars copy

RELEASED: 2 April 2019

Format: E-ARC

Pages: 304


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.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim…




Many thanks to Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy of Smoke & Key, via  Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

When “Key” (so called because she is found with a key) falls down from her grave into a place called “Under”, she’s thrown into a maze of underground caverns where a group of similarly named dead people reside.  None of them can remember their past, or their names, until Key starts having memory flashbacks.  As she tries to piece together the memories she sees, some of people in Under start to show up burned and truly ‘forever dead’.  As she slowly regains her memories, it’s a race to decipher what they mean, and who the killer could be, before she becomes the next victim.

Smoke and Key was a creepy, paranormal mystery, with a bit of historical fiction thrown in.  I was so intrigued by the premise of the book and the story did not disappoint!  I did find myself having to try and remember if I was reading the present tense or a past memory in spots, but honestly, I loved both the mystery of trying to uncover the killer in Under and the piecing together of the mysteries, to unravel what had happened before Key died.  There were some brilliant characters, all with enough depth to keep me guessing who belonged on the suspect list and who didn’t.  This book was so unique and original and the slow reveal of the characters in the flashbacks made me want to turn the pages as fast as possible!




Smoke & Key pic by bookbookowl

Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl


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