August 21, 2012

Very Early Review: The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

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.
So the publisher pushed back the release date of this book, originally it was set for release tomorrow, August 21, 2012, and to my surprise they moved it to next year. Hence the VERY early review for this book, but I can't wait til 2013 so here are my thoughts about THE SWEETEST DARK by Shana Abe.
You're not human, Eleanore Jones. I think that somewhere inside you, you must know that. You must always have known. You're not made of ordinary bone or blood but of something else completely.
I picked this up because I'm in a trippy mood with YA lately, I steer clear of vampires and/or werewolves in boarding schools, whiny teens who string boys along for some convoluted reason, gag-worthy love geometries, basically the usual formula that YA books seem to have in common. THE SWEETEST DARK sort of fits the bill, no vampires but there is a dragon, she's in a boarding school but she didn't get sucked into the cliques and the pressure of fitting in the popular crowd. The heroine, Lora Jones, is far from whiny and instead she's a 16yo orphan who toughened up and doesn't let anybody walk all over her. Like a dragon, she's feisty, quick-witted and doesn't stand down to insults her aristocratic classmates led by Queen Bee, Lady Chloe Pemington, throws her way. I was gleeful on those moments when Lora burn Chloe and beat her in her own mean-girl game.

Lora connected with two boys, Jesse Holmes, who is like Iverson's groundskeeper, and the Duke's son, Armand Louis. True to paranormal stories, these boys are far from human but their connection to Lora goes deeper than the usual physical attraction. It's more of they recognize their true selves in each other as if they're made from the same fabric if that makes sense. Not to give any spoilers, but these three were drawn together and their paths are meant to cross like destiny or something to that effect. I love how SAbe didn't highlight the romance part of the book too much nor made Lora into a flirtatious and deceitful girl however no matter how steadfast Lora is about her choices, things ended tragically for the three of them but it's far from over which should make book 2 a juicy read instead of a filler volume.
I'm saying that the true nature of our world is for matters to arrange themselves along the simplest of paths.
THE SWEETEST DARK is a fresh story that is rich in fantasy and lyrical emotions from the characters. It's not overly emotional but some of the conversations that Jesse and Lora shared was wax-poetic and a little spiritual. And SAbe's drakon isn't your customary shapeshifters who magically or painfully morph into a different creature, Lora's change is beautiful, sensory and magical in every sense. Overall the story has depth and combined with the turn of the century setting, scathing exchanges between the characters and a crisp take on fate and destiny, I'm sure a lot of readers will find this enjoyable.


  1. Oh I might have to try this book. It is so hard to find good books about dragon shifters or drakon.

    Great Review and not giving too much away but enough to catch my interest. :o)

  2. great review! I'm not too much for the high school scene either, but it's good to see a heroine with a backbone finally!! And dragons? Oh that's gna be so interesting. Adding this to my TBR now. and it's weird they pushed it back. Oh well, thanks for the review!

  3. *Sigh* I was really looking forward to getting this book </3 I'm definitely with you on the whiny heroines YA authors seem to want to attach to a book nowawadays -___- So I'm glad to hear that Lora isn't one of them :D Booo that it's been pushed to next year, but i'm definitely looking forward to it! x] Great review Braine, thanks for not spoiling it :p LOL


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