Friday, September 20, 2013

Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe [Review]

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1)4.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
Series: The Sweetest Dark #1
Genre: YA Paranormal/Historical Fantasy
Release: April 2, 2013
Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Bantam
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
For fans of Lauren Kate and Libba Bray, The Sweetest Dark is filled with thrilling romance, exciting adventure, and ancient magic. Shana Abé brilliantly captures the drama of post-Victorian England, while unfolding a passionate love story that defies time.
“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”
Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
When I read the synopsis, I totally thought I knew how this book would go down.  I expected it to be like every other young adult paranormal romance out there.  And I was wrong, so wrong. 

First of all, I had no idea with book was essentially about dragons.  This isn't really a spoiler since it says it in the prologue.  But it was such a unique take on it.  There was some mythology laid out, but the story never got bogged down in the details.  We learned as Lora learns.  I love it when author allow the reader to explore with the characters.

Secondly, the relationships between the characters were much more complicated than the synopsis lets on.  It seems like there would be a love triangle, and there is...of sorts.  But the relationship Lora has with Jesse is completely different than with Armand.  I don't want to give too much away, but to call it a "love triangle" would be doing it a disservice. 

Lastly, the writing is gorgeous.  It has a lovely, dreamy quality to it, which well matches the subject matter.  But it also crackles at times.  Lora is nobody's fool and has rapier wit.  She struggles to find her place in life and deal with the rich snobby girls she is surrounded by.  Armand is all dazzle and flash, but is much deeper than anyone realizes.  Jesse is a dreamer and helps to ground both Lora and Armand.  I loved the chemistry between the three of them and seeing how their relationships with each other develop.  The ending is heartbreaking, yet hopeful.

I was truly impressed with this book and cannot wait to read the next one!

Other books in this series in the order that they should be read:
1. The Sweetest Dark
2. The Deepest Night

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