Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Series: The Sweetest Dark #1
Publication Date: 2nd April 2013
Pages: 340
Book Source: Random House Publishing & NetGalley

Synopsis: “With every fibre 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.

My Thoughts:
Breathtaking, magical, haunting, beautiful! How many more superlatives am I allowed? The dark fairytale-esque quality and exquisite writing was hypnotic, intoxicating.

Set in England during World War I, the world is actually a continuation of Shana Abe's adult Drakon world. *Kicks self* - dig out copy of The Smoke Thief and read. I loved the world, adored the characters, was transfixed by the storyline and cried at the ending ... the ending was aargh  poop heartbreaking *sob* and I didn't get what I wanted *stamps feet*. 

Eleanore (Lora) has a quiet strength and the kind of snark that puts mean girls and arrogant jerks in their place - she has backbone - I love that! The elite boarding school she's enrolled in as a charity student may sound clichéd but the dynamics weren't overplayed. I also loved both male leads - Jesse, Iverson's mysterious groundskeeper and Armand, the arrogant son of the Duke of Idylling, the school's benefactor.

Some readers refer to a love triangle (of sorts) ... I didn't really feel that, not in the typical sense. There's 'connections' but Lora is clear where her heart lies ... sigh, it's beautiful. It's hard to explain without getting spoiler-ish and the beauty lies in reading this with as little foreshadowing as possible so just trust me when I say, it works. Jesse and Armand are drawn to Lora for different reasons and destiny plays its hand. 

Final thoughts: ageless, exquisite. I just have to give this one 5 stars, I'd read it again in a heartbeat.

The sequel The Deepest Night is due for release August 2013 and woohoo I just got my hands on a NetGalley ARC ... 

 Cover: Stunning

Want to know more about Shana Abe? Visit her website, follow on facebook or twitter.
 

22 comments:

  1. Wow, it does sounds beautiful. & I'm really happy you loved it. When a book makes you cry, it must be good.

    J'adore Happy Endings

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    1. thanks Nina, hope you get to enjoy it!

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  2. I didn't realize it was connected to an adult series! I'm about halfway through and already looking forward to the sequel so it's good news that I have the adult books to check out as well!

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    1. Ooh hope you love it as much as I did. I'll look out for your review :)

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  3. It does sound really promising

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    1. You'd enjoy the world B, I'm sure!

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  4. I have not read this author, but I am very intrigued by this book. There are so many authors crossing over to YA

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    1. Nise, this was my first time reading Shana's work even though I've had The Smoke Thief for years ... time to dust it off I think lol

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    1. It was, it was, get this one Julie!!

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  6. I have owned The Smoke Thief for years but never even read a single page from it. I suspect that I am missing out!

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    1. me too Marg, very remiss, we'll have to do something about that lol

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  7. Sounds like a book worth reading

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    1. Hope you pick it up Ryan and love it as much as I did :)

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  8. This sounds wonderful! Historical fiction and fantasy is an interesting melding of genres. Thanks for the terrific review.

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    1. it was certainly a wonderful combination Stephanie :)

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  9. Sheree what a great sounding book and a beautiful cover!

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  10. Have I been living under a rock??? I've never heard of this book. Must get a copy, NOW!! Love your review!

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  11. You had me at "ageless and exquisite." I don't read a lot of YA, but this one sounds special. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. hmmm, I read the Smoke Thief a long while back, but there wasn't something about it that didn't quite grab me. this one sounds good though. and five stars? alright then, I'll add to the tbr :)

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