Leiodare has been forever changed by a disease that has led them to ban all birds for fear of the return of a deadly virus. Within the post-apocalyptic world of Smoketown, Anna Armour is searching for a woman she loves and has a deep connection to, but something strange begins to happen. Ever since she was a child Anna has had special artistic skills and suddenly they seem to have returned with tremendous intensity.
Tenea D. Johnson creates a world unlike any other I have read before in Smoketown. While our primary character is Anna, we learn that as a child she was able to bring beings to life from her imagination. When she allows herself to draw, sculpt, or indulge in a focused form of artistic creation she can create anything. With birds banned she suddenly has a dream of them spurred on by her thoughts of Peru and finds herself with two small cygnets. As Anna continues her search she also begins to find herself connected to a beautiful woman named Seife. Outside of Anna’s story there are two people connected to a new religion, one of whom is trying to determine if birds truly were the cause of the deadly virus that changed their world as well as a man who lost his entire family to the disease that ravaged Leiodare.
Each of the stories presented by Johnson flow together so organically and she deftly combines magic with a world of science. Anna and Peru’s connection surprised me and while I was waiting for a female and female romance, the bond they have was something much deeper than I had thought would occur. Smoketown somehow makes so many different genres work together and not only that, Johnson also makes a diverse collection of characters seem completely connected. I loved the introduction of Anna’s powers and how strong she was as the story progressed. If you enjoy magic, post-apocalyptic worlds, or just exceptional world building you should check out Smoketown today from Blind Eye Books.
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