The Sweetest Dark (Sweetest Dark Series #1)

The Sweetest Dark (Sweetest Dark Series #1)

by Shana Abé


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The Sweetest Dark 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
pacey1927 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have never read a book by this author before and I knew very little about the book before I started to read it. At first I wasn't sure what to think. I used to love the `girl goes to boarding school' plot which was amazing in Libby Bray's "A Great and Terrible Beauty" trilogy but hasn't been as successful in some of the more recent books with this theme that I have read. I wasn't big on the idea of this being a paranormal historical novel and I was doubtful when I began reading the book. Gradually the book got more and more engrossing and long before the end I was hooked.This story is about a teenage girl who had a lot of problems in her short lifetime. She can't remember much about her past or her parents. She hears music all the time and when she admits to this she is put into an asylum where she is given shock and water treatments. I think this is why I wasn't engrossed in the beginning of the book. We get years worth of backstory very quickly and so much of it is gloomy and dark. I wasn't sure if Eleanore was really insane or not in the first few chapters. Once Eleanore or "Lora" gets to the girls school (which is in an old castle) the story truly picked up. We meet the requisite mean girls. We meet two potential love interests in Jesse, who works on the castle property and lets most people believe he is mute and the duke's son Armand. Armand is a bit of a rogue and he is attracted to Lora from the start. The attention of the duke's son only makes the other girls at school even nastier.There is so much going on in the book. We have Eleanore discovering her paranormal secret, why she can hear songs in her head as she does. We have the connection the ties Lora, Armand, and Jesse together. I loved that the connection between these three was so much more important and meaningful than the usual YA love triangles. There is an interesting subplot involving Aramand's father the Duke. There is a catty girl who is trying her best to make Armand love her while treating Lora hatefully. I enjoyed all the parts of the book that dealt directly with the school or the relationships between the main characters. As others have mentioned the story is beautifully written. I love to read but I admit that I don't like a lot of flowery prose. This book skirts that issue but is done in a way that only adds to the book's setting and atmosphere. After becoming accustomed to the author's `language' I came to adore it.The climax of the story is absolutely amazing. I love how everything led to the final fourth of the book. It was stunning, heartbreaking, beautiful, and filled with action. I definitely didn't see the book ending the way it did and there is obviously more in store for Lora. In the epilogue of the story it is mentioned that Lora's story was just beginning. For a book I was strongly unsure of, I am very happy to report that I am eager for a sequel.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a completely different book that what I thought. I liked that! I enjoyed going on a journey that is not what I thought it would be. Nice plot twist :)Now, what I enjoyed the most is the plot twist. With a young girl holding secrets, as the reader, I am excited to see what her destiny holds for her. The plot alone of a new girl at a boarding school always intrigues me. Not to mention that right off the bat, she is interesting. Once in her shoes, I knew I liked her.There is a love triangle in the book. Both guys are honorable and completely different. Each guy brought a whole new aspect to what is really going on and what secret they held as well. As the reader, they each hold a part of this girl in who she is to become. Of course, I did lean toward one guy. He got me from the very beginning.The ending of the book was quite...unexpected. I was sure it would end one way, but no. The author threw in a different spin that made me want more!The Sweetest Dark is a great story that can captivate any reader! With amazing world building and great characters, I enjoyed it very much. Beautifully written, The Sweetest Dark is great!
Alo_m More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delicious prose that made the act of reading this book a pleasure above and beyond the plot. Many thanks to the author for a heroine who knows her own mind and is intelligent enough to give the story clarity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is beautifully written. I would recommend this series to everyone. The characters are well developed and engaging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm having a hard time trying to review this book without giving away spoilers... Maybe a list of pros and cons. Pros: I was hooked in the beginning of the book and didn't want to put it down. I liked the authors writing style. She uses a lot of metaphors, which can sometimes ruin a book if overused, but I felt like she did a good job making them flow with the book and create vivid imagery. I really liked the premise of the book. The magical beings in the book are original and interesting. I liked the main character. Cons: Character development and descriptions fell flat. I had a hard time picturing many of the characters, even Lora sometimes. I lost interest about halfway through the book and even though I finished it, I never regained interest. I think this was because it didn't feel like much was happening between the characters or that what was happening with them wasn't being told to the reader. I felt like more time was spend leading up to events and then when the events took place, very little happened. The main characters hardly communicate with each other. I also didn't understand or couldn't feel the attraction between the love interests. I get it, they love each other, but why? I want to be shown. I would be waiting for the main character to interact with another character in the book and when it would finally happen, they only said a few sentences to each other that usually felt pretty meaningless. Also, some paragraphs and sentences didn't make any sense to me at all, like it was a half finished thought. Overall I thought the book was just okay, I think it had the potential to be great if more time would have been spent on character development and interactions between characters. I was so let down by the book that I probably wouldn't recommend it.
kydirtgirl68 More than 1 year ago
Lora is being raised in an orphanage in London, England 1915. In these time the sixteen year old knows she has to stay out of sight and to keep quiet about her ability to hear music when others don't, the voice in her head and her dreams. While she tries to blend in she does stand out and gets the attention of a charity. She is sent to a boarding school where she clearly doesn't belong. Jesse a groundskeeper and Armand both notice her and want her for there own. Lora's powers seem to be growing and there is a danger near. She has to learn to use her powers quickly if she and her friends want to survive. This book does stand out as different and is very well written. It just didn't seem to be my thing. I know other people will love it. I liked Lora she is a good character that is surrounded by rich spoiled girls and makes the best of it. She has to understand what is special about her and learn to control it. She has two guys who want her but she doesn't go back and forth. She knows what is in her heart. I really liked Jesse. He seemed really special to me. I guess I am a sucker for the working and poor people in this story. At times I will say this book was very easy to put down and then I had to go back a few pages to refresh my memory. I just didn't get into it like I had hoped. I enjoyed the time period and what paranormal aspects the books has. If you like historical, paranormal YA books or are wanting to try one you may want to give this one a try.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
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.*
Shanrock19 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved it! It took me a bit to get into the story, but as soon as the twist started to be introduced, it was nothing but love from there! I feel the only reason I didn't care for some of the beginning is that I don't like the whole snotty mean girl vibe, but I get that needs to be a part of some stories. I'm glad Lora didn't turn out to be some wilting flower. She's had horrible things done to her, and she stills stands up for herself. She's got strength. Jesse was super wonderful, and so selfless. It would be hard not to adore him. Armand was a little harder for me to like, but he did grow on me a bit later on in the story. I'll tell you though, I hate the nickname Mandy! Horrible! Every time someone called him that, I'd cringe. The twist was wonderful, I was thinking it was going to go one way, and then BAM!, nope that's not the way it goes. I love the direction it went. I like the visuals Shana Abe creates with her words. The setting really adds life to this story. If you like fantasy love stories then definitely read The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe. This story really worked for me. Next up on my to read list, the sequel to The Sweetest Dark, The Deepest Night. I'm really looking forward to it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dwatson More than 1 year ago
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.
crayolakym More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
OwlnestlyReviews More than 1 year ago
Owlnestly Reviews How do I even begin to describe this literally breathtaking novel? This book was incredible, point blank. I have never read a novel that was as whimsical, mystical, and taunting wrapped up all in one. The novel is set in the WWI era and starts out with Lora and her experiences in the orphanage and the mental institution. You see, Lora is not your typical human. In fact, she is hardly human at all. She is able to hear the mysterious songs of gold, and precious gems, and she has a daunting voice inside telling her all sorts of absurd things. Lora is special, which is seen from the very beginning. But, like all young adult novels, Lora is also a teenager. She is sent off the a pristine boarding school on scholarship away from the bombings in London. Here, she meets two very handsome, very mysterious boys.  I was torn between these two boys. I wasn't sure which one I loved more, but either way I loved to love them. Jesse is the groundskeeper for Iverson boarding school and he is everything you would expect is a total swoon worthy character. He is handsome, caring, and just precious. Armand, on the other hand is a lot tougher. He definitely has a rough exterior, but he also holds secrets that must be protected by his hard shell. Both of them were quite the gentleman in one way or another. Unlike most young adult novels, this ones writing went so much more in depth. It carried a whimsical quality that flowed like the wind on a clear summer night. Everything was written so delicately and precisely. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style. Also unlike young adult novels, the ending to this one had a somber note to it. It was the perfect ending, because it was foreshadowed throughout, but it did not stop the tears in the least.  I guarantee you will love this novel if you enjoy dragons, swoon worthy characters, and a bit of mystical storytelling. What are you waiting for? 
Some_Reading_Required More than 1 year ago
I ridiculously loved The Sweetest Dark, in the sense that after I finished it, I just about cried before I found out that book two comes out in August. Or maybe I was still crying over the ending. *spoiler* It’s heartbreaking. Basically there was a lot of feels going on towards the end of The Sweetest Dark. Funnily enough, I didn’t enjoy this book in the beginning. I nearly DNF’d. I’ve never been a  fan of period novels. Besides having a hard time relating to individuals from another time, the writing style in period novels tends to be dense and therefore more time consuming. I knew I was taking a huge risk requesting/starting a book that takes place in the early 1900s. Of course, now that I’ve finished and adored The Sweetest Dark, there’s a part of me that wants to give others a chance. Yes the writing was denser, but because so, the emotions were amplified. Abe’s writing style is so colorful and passionate. I really got a sense for 1900s-London, a setting that was absolutely perfect.  Dark and gritty, 1900s London was just right for The Sweetest Dark which has an edgier, almost gothic quality. Taking place in the middle of World War I also heightened the sense of danger and despair. Our main character, Eleanor a.k.a. Lora is quite plainly extraordinary. An orphan with a seriously dark and disturbing past, Lora has been through a lot. Yet, she prevailed. Wise beyond her years, Lora is  incredibly smart, quick, resourceful, brave and confident. She’s also witty and fast-thinking – able to throw verbal punch for verbal punch with anyone – even a certain smart-mouth highborn (Armand). She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, among males and the catty material girls that Iverson is known for. When you see Jesse and Armand mentioned in the cover description you automatically think or dread “love triangle” – like I did. But don’t be afraid! There’s more to it. I found both boys to be completely different with their own faults and virtues. I thought that their roles were essential and enjoyable. The myth/magic part in The Sweetest Dark is tastefully done. It’s mysterious, dark, sexy and dangerous. There’s a lot of heartbreak and despair in The Sweetest Dark. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit… or you know… a lot. The ending was cruel yet probably essential (as I keep trying to tell myself). I give The Sweetest Dark 5 stars for it’s originality and shocking twists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
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.
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(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.
Diana612 More than 1 year ago
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.
princess_sara More than 1 year ago
I would like to thank Bantam and NetGalley for providing me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I loved this story! And I just love this beautiful cover! I was so frustrated that life got too busy for me to finish it quickly, but I guess this way I got to savor it. This story is set in the early 1900's with war going on and London being bombed by the Germans. Eleanore is a young orphan girl that has grown up in an orphanage home called Blisshaven, and has been treated for psychotic issues at the Moor Gate Institute. She hears songs in the stones and metals. And since no one else does so she must need therapy. But one day part of the school is bombed and so all the children are sent away, and Eleanore is being sent to The Iverson School for Girls as the new charity student sponsored by the Duke of Idylling. Here Eleanore, also known as Lora, meets Jesse and Armand. And what she learns from them changes her life. Here she learns there is nothing wrong with her, and that she comes from a lost line of Dragon. She is drakon. And Jesse is her star. What ensues is a very sweet, hidden relationship between them as Jesse teaches and loves her, and helps her reach her full potential. I absolutely fell in love with Jesse. He is sweet, quiet, attentive, and caring, and calls to Lora with his own song. But he also knows what is coming because the stars talk to him. And he holds some of his secrets in. Lora loves him with all her heart. Armand is the son of Duke Reginald. He is the opposite of Jesse. He is drawn to Eleanore and doesn't know why. And he finds little ways to get close and talk to her. Their little banter was fun and witty and had me wanting more of him. And he has a secret that he doesn't even know about or realize that leads to some great twists and turns. He had a wonderful part in bringing the story together. I loved Lora's character. She has bright and witty and a fighter. She did not take any teasing and bullying from the spoiled rich girls at Iverson. She was quick with fun comebacks, and could protect herself. She was brave and beautiful. But she also had these strange morbid thoughts sometimes that showed you she could be evil, yet wasn't. I have only read a few books with dragons and this one has moved up to favorite. Great characters, beautiful writing and descriptions, lovely romance, and a very bittersweet ending that, even though it broke my heart, it also seemed to be perfect. I am very excited to read the next book in this series. My Rating: 4.5 stars
kcody03 More than 1 year ago
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!