Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

Release date: April 2, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 352
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
“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.
What one first notices about The Sweetest Dark is the writing. I've not read such pretty writing in a long time. I thought the writing was so fitting for the time period and for the treatment of the story.

I didn't know this before reading, but this series is set in a world the author has previously written adult novels in, and these books seem to take place after her other books. I never felt like we got a great explanation of the drakon lore, and I'm thinking this is why.

Anyways... There's something about this book that's just so appealing. I have to say I was a little scared when I saw exactly what this book was about. The idea of a girl who turns into a dragon sounds a little horrifying, honestly, but Abe's take makes it just magical. Her descriptions of the experience made me see it in a different light than I anticipated. She also does a great job of mixing the typical idea of a poor girl pushed into a boarding school where she's an outsider with the ancient magic of the drakon.

I will warn y'all that there's a love triangle here, but the triangle is pretty resolved with the end of the book. I enjoyed reading Lora's interactions with both, though they were (both!) a little instalove... Eek.

I quite enjoyed The Sweetest Dark and am excited to read The Deepest Night, the sequel. If you like historical fiction with a twist or fantasy, this is the kind of book for you! You'll quickly be immersed in the writing and Lora's world.

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