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REVIEW: SLAY, Spark and Other Words of Smoke

Slay by Brittney Morris:

When I saw this book being talked about, I knew I instantly had to read it. This book is a mix of Ready Player one and The Hate U give for the younger generation and when I heard that pitch, I knew it was one that I had to read.

We enter our story by meeting our main protagonist, Kiera Johnson. Kiera Johnson is a regular student maintaining her 5-point average at high school but at night, she runs this underground game known by Slay. Being one of the only black kids at Jefferson high school, she wanted to create a safe space for black kids around the world coming up with the idea of Slay. Slay is a members only multiplayer online role-playing card game made especially for black kids. Nobody in her family or any of her friends know that she is the one who created the game. But when a teen in Kansas city is murdered and her game may be the potential fault for the killing, she is reached out to by the media who criticise her game. The game is labelled as racist and a place for thugs and criminals to hang out at but it is not and Kiera is on a mission to prove to the world that it is not what the media portrays.

So, this book for me was such an awesome read, my only problem with this is the fact that it wasn’t long enough. I honestly wished that we spent more time within the world of Slay and the game. Kiera, is such a strong character for people her age to look up to when reading this book. I truly admire her and commend Brittney Morris for writing this character that will eventually mean a lot to many. My favourite relationship in this book, is the sisterly bond that Kiera and Steph have. At first, they may seem like they have nothing in common, but throughout the book their journeys draw closer and so do they. Slay like the Hate U Give is a true eye opener into what black teens face on the daily and what discrimination they face just because of their skin colour. This book shows the struggles that these teens face and Morris couldn’t have written a more compelling story for the ages.

4 out of 5 stars.

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin:

Other Words for Smoke is a horror novel by Sarah Maria Griffin. We follow Mae and her brother Rossa. One day, their neighbours, Rita and Bevan go missing, they were never seen again and their house was burnt down. Mae and Rossa are the only ones who know the truth about what went down and we spend the novel exploring what they are hiding. They spent two of the most dangerous summers of their lives around that house along with Rita and Bevan. An entity named Sweet James haunts and takes the house over. Bevan wants escape from her life and so he gives her a glimpse of what real magic is whereas Mae sees herself besotted with Bevan where she is at the point of that she would give her anything. This creepy story is full of spine chilling moments and an eerie setting of this unnerving house.

I’m not going to lie here and say that horror is my favourite genre because it’s absolutely not. I only heard about this book because of YALC and so when one of my friends was unhauling this book, I decided to give it a shot. When I read this book, I did not know that it was a horror so maybe I didn’t like it for that reason. I would say overall that it’s a good book though.

3 out of 5 stars.

Spark by Alice Broadway:

Spark is the second book in the Skin series that follows Leora Flint. Previously, she found out that her father used to be a blank, a person without tattoos on her body and that her adoptive mother, was not her mother at all. Due to the events of the previous book, Leora is exiled to live among the blanks, but not as a punishment but as a spy for her own government. But whilst there, she finds that she questions everything that she knows about the blanks and finds they are nothing like what her elders tell her they are. She was taught that they were hateful but instead finds a peaceful and accepting society. At first, she finds it hard to fit in as the Blanks find her tattoos as abominations but she finally comes to find herself fitting in to the society. Now, learning all of this, she regrets taking on her mission and is now faced with a dilemma of betraying the blanks or the people that she loves the most taking the fall for her crimes.

It’s been a while since I read the first novel, so it took me a moment to get back into the book. But once I got back into the book, I found the pacing to be fast and as such this was an easy read for me. What initially drew me to this series was the book covers and I can easily say that they are simply stunning and made me pick up the book, I can say that I’m not disappointed at all.

3 out of 5 stars.


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