Thursday, April 4, 2019

Book Review: Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton

Smoke And Key

Kelsey Sutton

Entangled Teen

Release Date:
April 2, 2019

Add to:

eARC from publisher for honest review

Book Synopsis:

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…


My Thoughts:

Smoke And Key was a unique story.  It begins with "Key,"  hearing a voice urging her frantically to "Please wake up."  She finds herself lying down in darkness, and starts to panic when she realizes she is trapped inside of a casket.  As she tries to break out by hitting, kicking, and screaming, she finds herself falling to down below.  She soon learns that she is in a place where nobody has memories of their names, or their pasts; including herself.  Instead, everyone refers to themselves by an item that they had on them when they woke up in "Under."  She had a key around her neck, therefore "Key" becomes her new name.  

Nobody really knows what under is, other than a place where each of it's inhabitants fell from their caskets to down below or under.  This place is made of dirt, with no sky, homes or civilization as we know it.  The inhabitants have made the best of this place.  Friendships have been made, individuals have their roles to play, and there are those that are nice and welcoming, as well as those with malicious intent.  Some inhabitants in under are well-preserved, while others are grotesque looking.  

In Under, Key meets Ribbon, Spoon, Doll, Journal, Handkerchief, Tintype, and many others.  However, no one catches Key's eye the way that Smoke does.  He instantly becomes her protector, and these two share a connection.   Shortly after arriving in "Under" "Key" begins to have memories of her past return to her.  Simultaneously, murders are taking place in Under, and the bodies are being burned.  Key is desperate to uncover her past, and the closer she gets, the closer she comes to becoming the next victim.

Smoke And Key was an intriguing mystery.  I rapidly read the story, and was riveted with each new memory that Key unlocked.  There was danger, magic, romance, deceit, a curse, and love interwoven throughout the plot of Smoke And Key.  While the beginning of the story had a slower start, and had me confused at times, the second half of the story had me devouring pages and excited to unravel the mystery of Key and Smoke's past, as well as all of the other inhabitants down in Under.  If you enjoy a story heavy on mystery, light on romance, and a mixture of paranormal and historical fiction; Smoke and Key will be a delight for your senses! 

Book Teaser:

About the Author:

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.


  1. I did not envision Key and Smoke looking like that but it works! I really loved this book and can't wait to rave about it. I think Kelsey is so creative and she totally captured me despite all the flashbacks and dirt. ❤️

    1. I agree; I think she's very creative as well. This was a very quick read for me!

  2. I'm in the middle of this one so I'll have to come back for your thoughts on it, Lindy. So far I'm enjoying the sense of mystery and atmosphere.

    1. I can't wait to here what you think of it! Thanks for stopping by :)


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