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The Sweetest Dark

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  • Posted December 25, 2013

    First of all, I ADORED the time period and location in which thi

    First of all, I ADORED the time period and location in which this is set and that is what piqued my interest right off the bat. When I first started reading, I admit I felt the writing was a bit disorienting, as I struggled to grasp the overall concept of what was happening. However, the story began to flow and I got used to it, even with the sudden switching of POV's.

    We begin the book by meeting Lora, our protagonist. She was orphaned at a young age and was raised in an orphanage, where she was forced to take care of herself and hide her secrets. I really like that Lora is tough as nails, and after she is sent to Iverson, a boarding school for girls, she does not let any of the socialite girls affect her. However, amidst petty elitist girls, ridicule, and pity, Lora finds her bright spot, in my opinion, in Jesse. He is the school's groundskeeper and you can't help but fall in love with him. He is sweet, tender, and loving to Lora and also helps her realize who she truly is and what destiny awaits her, if she surrenders to it.

    Armand, on the other hand, the aristrocratic Duke's son, is strangely drawn to Lora, from the moment they first meet as she gets off the train to Iverson. He doesn't understand why he is so drawn to her and neither do any of the other girls at Iverson. What could the poor penniless girl have that the Duke's son could possibly desire? Their banter is quite amusing and I liked how his role wasn't just to serve as a second admirer.

    When I first read the synopsis and saw there may be potentially be a love triangle, I thought, 'really, another one?!'. I'm all love-triangled out! Rest assured to those who are like me, I thought the incorporation of both boys in her life worked out really well. I don't want to give anything away, obviously, but they are all destined for something more, together.

    The ending of the book definitely ripped my heart open, but it also left me with hope for Lora and her future, as she's just now discovering who she is really is. (I won't say what but it was definitely awesome when it was finally revealed!)

    I really enjoyed this book and read through it in no time at all. It was so easy to get swept away to England and pulled in to the magical elements of the story. I can't wait for the second book!

    *Thank you to Random House for providing an advanced copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.*

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  • Posted September 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    There are monsters living beside you right now. We were told tha

    There are monsters living beside you right now. We were told that monsters are a myth but they do exist. They look just like us when they want to, but they are really monsters made of smoke, colors and claws called the Dra’kon. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is the story of one of the last Dra’kon.

    The story begins during World War 1 in 1914 at The Moor Gate Institute for Socially Afflicted Youth in London England. Eleanor is sixteen years old and was found wandering the city streets with no memory. She also hears voices and music that no one else hears. After awhile her condition improve and opportunity knocks. Children are being sent to schools in the country because of the fear of the German army attacking London. Eleanor is then given the chance to go to a new school called The Iverson Boarding School.

    Iverson is an eerie looking Gothic castle and very exclusive school on England’s Southern coast where rich people send their kids. Eleanor doesn’t fit in at the school but she does meet two boys who want to win her heart. One knows what Eleanor really is and the other can help her in the future and has secrets of his own. Eleanor must learn to use her magic or loose everything she has.

    The Sweetest Dark is a beautifully written paranormal historical fantasy. I loved how it was set during World War 1 and how the castle and location added to the atmosphere in the story. The way everything is described in this book, it was more like looking at a beautiful painting then reading a coming of age story.

    The Sweetest Dark is a YA novel and is not the normal kind of book that I like to read but the way the story was told really brought it to life. The settings were described in breathtaking detail and Eleanor was a character you couldn’t help but fall in love with. She is a girl who is a little different and is trying to fit in while wanting to find out why she is the way she is. People of all ages will find something to like in The Sweetest Dark. So if historical fantasy, ancient magic, vividly described settings and a touch of romance are your cup of tea then give this one a read.

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  • Posted September 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The year is 1915 and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones has just been g

    The year is 1915 and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones has just been given the chance of a lifetime to attend a prestigious boarding school, surely better than the orphanage she currently resides in on the outskirts of London. Lora isn’t just any ordinary girl though. Within her she harbors some powerful secrets that even she can’t fully understand and she must hide them from the world; that is until she arrives at her new school and meets Jesse, the school’s groundskeeper.  He sees Lora for her true self and will go to the greatest lengths to help her, while Armand, one of the rich students, has dark secrets of his own and together, the three teenagers will walk an ancient magical path while fighting for the heart of the girl.
    “I know all about it. I know all about you. You have wings at night. You lift as smoke. And you come to me, don’t you? Always to me.”
    I love that this book had a historical setting and a new fresh spin on the fantasy genre. Shana Abe does a wonderful job creating characters that are lifelike and allow the reader to really feel a personal connection with them. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something new and unique!
    *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review* 
    *You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    Captivating, but short

    I really enjoyed this book. It was only 200 and some odd pages so I read it in two days. I wish it were longer, but thankfully the next book comes out next month(August 2013). From what I understand there are going to be at least 3 books. The author's web site says she is working on the 3rd.

    It is captivating and beautifully written. I have mixed feelings about the end of the book, it seemed somewhat rushed. But, overall it was definitely worth the read.

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  • Posted April 27, 2013

    The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is a new YA series, which is some

    The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is a new YA series, which is somewhat of a spinoff from her very successful Drakon adult series. The story takes place in England during World War I.

    The heroine and main character in this book is Eleanore Jones ( Lora), whom we meet from the start, as an orphaned young girl. She has no memory of her early childhood, other then the orphanage. She has had a hard life, always hearing music in her head, which made her life even harder, with people thinking she was mentally impaired. Over time the voices/music go away, and she is then chosen as a charity student to an exclusive for the rich, school in London. As soon as she arrives at the school, the voices start coming back, and the music, which comes when looking at precious metals/gemstones. Lora does not know what is happening, and is convinced she is going insane.

    Just as she arrives at Iverson, Lora meets Jesse, the coach driver, and feels an immediate connection to him. She also meets Armand, who is the son of the Duke, and who pays for the charity student each year. But things start off rocky between Lora and Armand, and it becomes fun to watch their snarkiness to each other. Jesse is however, a quiet and gentle soul, and Lora knows she wants to know more about Jesse.

    At the school, Lora is treated like the charity case she is. She is ridiculed by some of the rich girls, but Lora is also hardened by her young life, and stands up to the girls. She is amazing with her retorts. Lora, to the surprise of some of the other girls, does develop a friendship with Sophia, one of the rich girls.

    She sneaks out often during the evenings to meet Jesse, and it is then she learns he is more then what he seems. Jesse begins to tell her of her own life, and how important and valuable she is. He explains some of the voices, and music she hears, and the letters she reads that she has from her unknown past. She learns of her mother, a Drakon, and what that means. Armand, as noted before, acts the part well as an arrogant aristocrat, but something pulls him to Lora. He too will learn more from Jesse. An unusual friendship bond will develop between the three of them.

    Shana Abe has created three wonderful and interesting characters. At first, I thought it was somewhat slow learning about Lora, but not to far into the book, she becomes a wonderful and strong heroine. The last half of the book was excellent, watching Lora come on to her own, learning all that she needs to know, her love of Jesse, and the friendship she begins to have with Armand. It all ties together, and at the end, we are totally hooked to find out what will happen in the next book.

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  • Posted April 16, 2013

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley.)
    Sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is an orphan. An orphan who doesn’t even remember her parents, and can hear melodies no-one else can hear.
    Having spent time in a mental institution after leaping from her top floor window thinking that she could fly, Lora finds herself sent to school for girls called Iverson, where she is looked down upon by the rich students, who don’t want to associate with a charity case.

    Lora finds herself capturing the attention of two different men though. Jesse the hired help who maintains the grounds, and Armand, the owner’s son. Jesse knows what Lora really is though, and is about to help her become what she was born to be.
    What is Lora though? What is Jesse? And who will she choose?

    I liked this book, the writing was beautiful, and the mystery surrounding what Lora really was was quite compelling.

    Lora was a quick-witted girl, who knew that she was poor, but didn’t listen when people told her that she was less than the rich girls. She tried her best to fit in and follow rules, but she also wasn’t afraid to make waves, and often came out with things that would have been considered b*tchy and inappropriate! Whether this was because of the way she was raised in the orphanage, or whether it was just her I’m not sure, but at several times I cheered that she stuck up for herself against the rich girls, and some of her insults were bril!

    There were two love interests in this book – Jesse, who worked at the school and was thought to be mute (but wasn’t), and Armand, the owners son. Lora seemed to prefer Jesse, but I personally loved Armand! He was a little dark and dangerous, and being with him would have really ruffled feathers! This was one of those love triangles that was a little irritating because Lora was a little blind to it, and also because I thought she was making the wrong choice!

    I liked the storyline in this book, and although the fantasy aspect could have been odd in this historic novel (circa WW1), it was actually blended in really well, and the idea of mythical creatures didn’t seem unlikely. I did like the beginning more than the end though, I think some of the mystery was lost towards the end, but I did like it overall. The way this book was written was quite beautiful and flowing, which added to the mystery and Victorian feel, and I really liked it.

    The ending to the book was quite shocking with one characters sudden demise(!) and other events surrounding Lora, it will be very interesting to see where the story goes from here!
    Overall; a YA historical fantasy novel with a splash of romance.
    8 out of 10.

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  • Posted April 14, 2013

    Shana Abe is a wonderful writer - The Sweetest Dark is a very we

    Shana Abe is a wonderful writer - The Sweetest Dark is a very well written YA paranormal. I like how the book was written more in the first person telling the story rather than from outside, looking in.
    Elinore Jones (Lora) has been raised in an orphanage, never knowing who her parent were and had no other family. She gets a rare opportunity to attend an exclusive girls school, Iverson and that's where things start to happen. Elinore hears music that no one else can and a voice inside her head. Things start happening at Iverson - there she meets Jesse the schools groundskeeper, a caring and loving friend that teaches her about herself - he is kind and patient. She also meets Armand, the son of a Duke who is like Elinore. I truly wish there is a follow-up book as the ending left me with a number of questions. If you looking for a beautifuly written, easy read - this is the one.

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  • Posted April 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    An engaging read that captures the essence of teenager's struggl

    An engaging read that captures the essence of teenager's struggles with trying to find themselves and turning it into a heart pounding fantasy adventure.

    The story was written in a very descriptive manner, but what I liked most is that she could really make you feel like you were there by adding in descriptions for the other senses like touch, taste, and smell as well as sight.

    Lora is different and its because of this that she has hidden much of herself away. I really liked her bravery and strength throughout the story. She needed all of them in order to make it through this harsh where you never can tell you is friend or foe. I believe that although she has many abilities the average human does not she is still a very relate able character. Everyone has to deal with the issues of fitting in at some point in their life, but for Lora its life or death.

    I also really enjoyed the romance in this story which was very beautiful, but at the same time didn't take over the whole story. It was a nice addition and I liked how the relationships were handled. There were mistakes made, but the characters acknowledged them and were able to deal with any issues instead of running away or pretending like it didn't exist.

    I can't wait until the next book because there are still a lot of questions about Lora's past that I would really like answered.
    Overall this is a beautiful adventure with a dash of romance that I highly recommend to all YA fans!

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    Posted July 29, 2013

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    Posted May 1, 2013

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    Posted May 26, 2014

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