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.My thoughts:
As it turns out, this is BOOK ONE of a trilogy. Had I known that when I ordered it from NetGalley, I might've passed on it. It's not that it wasn't good--it was excellent. But now I need to add two more books to my topplingTBR pile.
The book takes place in England during World War I, however due to the Gothic castle and the island seclusion of the setting, I had to keep reminding myself of it. It was only near the end, when the war intruded, and Lora had to use her newfound powers to defeat the enemy, that the time period felt real to me. Added to that were plenty of timeless, fantasy elements.
The Amazon description pretty much sums up what the book is about, and far better than I'd be able to do. I will say, though, that the book moved along at a very leisurely pace, with relatively little tension, which surprised me. The slow pace thoroughly grafted me into the story. But I was also surprised at how little happened in 354 pages. I guess when you're writing a trilogy, and if the quality of your prose is incredible (as Ms. Abe's is) you can take ten pages to say what someone else might've said in four.
This book was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Did you read this book? Did you read the entire trilogy? What did you think of it?