Den of Smoke

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 May 2019

Member Reviews

This is the final book in the series. I have to admit I didn’t know where it was going to go when I finished the last book. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the last two. The final favour is called in, and the story wraps up nicely, but we don’t get to meet the Franco, etc until late on in this book, and I think I was hoping for another magical train tale.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the other two, but it does conclude well.
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This was really an enjoyable and engaging reading, filled with a great plot line and great characters.
Thank you NetGaleey for my ARC!
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This was an enjoyable read.
It's entertaining and engaging. The characters are likeable and lively.

Huge thank you to NetGalley and HQ Digital Publishing for approving me for this galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A great series I enjoyed this, fast paced and fun. Seemed to be not quite as good as the others, but overall enjoyable series

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Huge thank you to NetGalley and HQ Digital Publishing for approving me for this galley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Not my favorite of the three. This felt like a companion novel for most of the book. Still an enjoyable read, but I didn't feel the same after finishing it like I did with the other two.
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Yes yes yes, this book was great! Read it! Thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review!
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So much better than the last two! 

Jack is amazing, the story so good and relationships so much fun. The narrative was good and carried all the the way through. 

Such a great ending!
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Den of Smoke is an average read. It's entertaining and engaging. The characters are likeable and lively. Overall, it's just not my favorite. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Ragdoll Rating: 4.5/5 Buttons

Recommended For: Fans of heists, anti-heroes and adventure.

About the Book

This book focuses on Jackdaw, a mid-level criminal the Morning Star‘s crew worked with in the previous book, and his gang.

When a man bursts into the gangs hideout brandishing a pistol and demanding money, Jackdaw finds himself a promising candidate for his criminal enterprise – he hires Cole immediately. Cole quickly makes himself a valuable member of the team as they go out committing their various crimes. But the new crime lord, Donovan, demands ever increasing tribute from Jackdaw and his gang, which leads them to attempt the most insane 1-chance-in-a-million heist anybody has ever conceived.

What I thought

For the first 60% of this book, the Morning Star and it’s crew don’t even get mentioned. This is exactly what I needed after finishing the previous book (for an explanation of why I hate almost the entire cast of the previous book, please see the full review here: Book Review: Den of Stars (Cristopher Byford)). It focuses on the Jackrabbits ad they go about introducing Cole to the world of crime. The remaining 40% also features barely any of the cast of the other two books – so heads up, if you loved the crew, you may miss them in this book.

I, on the other hand, did not miss the other characters. I LOVE, the Jackrabbits. They are great. They spend the entire book committing crimes, but without any of the problems I had with the crew of the Morning Star.

The book is exciting from beginning to end. It’s very action based – there is always something happening, from a bank heists to beatings. I personally think this story is less complicated than Den of Stars which for me is definitely a good thing. The motivations of the characters are simple, their responses make sense and it just makes for a much easier, more engaging read. It made the characters easy to relate to – so when Jack takes a beating, and that dude takes a lot of beatings, you feel sorry for him and want him to get his revenge.

It’s well written and entertaining, and most importantly, fun.

Final Thoughts

This book could, with minimal alteration, have not had the Morning Star cast in it at all. When I say it focuses on the Jackrabbits, I mean it – it is all about them – and personally I think that’s brilliant. It confirmed my suspicion that I hated Byford’s characters and not his writing, which as it turns out, I really enjoy. This book more than made up for my disappointment with the last one and you should definitely read it.

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Please Note: I received a copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions contained within are my own and have not been influenced by any external entity!
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Book 3 in the series set in this alternative world. It does draw on some of the characters form books 1 and 2 but could be read as a stand alone companion novel. A well written story which makes you want to believe this world is real.
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Interestingly, I'm not sure I would call this a sequel to the previous books, given that the majority of the action is centred on anyone but Franco and Misu. I'd probably call, at least the first 50-70% of this book a companion novel. It has the same setting as the first two books and follows on from the action of Den of Stars but it is about Jackdaw and his crew. I appreciated this hugely as I felt I had had just about enough of the train setting and it was interesting to read something set somewhere a little more static.

It's always a dangerous line to tread, writing criminal gangs because you have to recognise their morality as, at best, grey, but also endear the reader to them enough that they forgive them their wrongdoings. I think this was achieved in the character of Jackdaw. My issue with the second book in this series was that the motivation of characters wasn't quite as clear as I would have liked it to be. In Den of Smoke I thought that, at least for the character of Jackdaw, this was rectified. He was a fun character to read and he neither felt too evil or too good.

Where this book lost me a little is that it wasn't clear, at the start certainly, who the main character was going to be. There is a lot of setting built around Cole, who is also an interesting character, but then later on Jackdaw becomes far more centred. I might have preferred had this been clearly split into a dual POV, but once you get the hang of the fact that you need to worry about both characters it's easier to follow the plot.

As with the second book, you have to let this book build to the action, though there is a lot happening from the start. It takes until around 60% in to get to the meat of the story and from there on I was hooked, I appreciated the need to set up this entirely new gang and to work out where the characters were coming from. But that's why I would be more inclined to call this a companion novel than the third book in a trilogy. Judged from that perspective I think this is a hugely enjoyable story to read.

My rating: 4/5 stars

I received a digital advanced review copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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