Sunday, March 17, 2013


Sweetest Dark
Shana Abe

Rating: A-
Release Date: 4/2/13
Synopsis from
“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 on the book:
The Sweetest Dark is a heartbreakingly beautiful story set during WWI. It's a unique take on fantasy and the time period chosen for the setting is also different from most YA books that I've read. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting, world, characters, and plot of this story. Even though the beginning was a bit slow and the ending crushed my soul, I'd still recommend this book to anyone who loves a good historical romance or fantasy. 

Lora is a strong heroine. She's had a rough life as an orphan, and because of that she's not some silly simpering miss. I really admire that about her. She doesn't swoon over guys, and she is independent. She always tries to survive, no matter what happens. She's no stranger to pain, and she never wants to give up, no matter how badly things may hurt. She adapts, grows, and carries on. There should be more YA heroines like her. 

Jesse... oh Jesse, you are the sweetest guy ever. I actually liked you more than the arrogant boy, and that's a first. The thing I liked most about Jesse is that he treats Lora with respect and like a person. He is her best friend, and he loves her. He never once pushes her, objectifies her, insults her, or tries to take advantage of her. He treats her as his equal in every way. The dynamic between these two characters is beautiful. 

I didn't hate Armand. I liked him just fine... I just liked Jesse more. I did feel bad for Armand, though. He wanted something more in his life than he had. I can definitely relate to that. He was an interesting addition to the story, and things were never dull when he was around. 

The secondary characters were all interesting in their own ways, and all of them were as complex as the leading characters. 

The plot was captivating, and I could not put this book down once I started it. The world that Abe has created is intriguing and unique. A girl who turns into smoke and then into a dragon is not something that you hear of every day. There wasn't a lot of action until the very end, but there was a lot of suspense, and that kept me reading. Also, the time period is different from any story I ever read. I'm used to either Victorian era or present day. Grave Mercy was set in the Middle Ages, and that was a different setting as well. It is refreshing to read novels that take place in different time periods. Abe obviously did her research because everything read true to life. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little bit different in the YA genre. Sweetest Dark is a heartbreaking, beautiful, unique, captivating, and intriguing story that you won't want to miss. 

Want to pre-order Sweetest Dark?


  1. I really liked this book which really surprised me because I am not a fan of historical fiction at all but , with all of the other genres added to it. I loved it!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  2. I have had this book on my list of to reads for such a long time, but I haven't yet read it. Partly because I have heard that the ending is harsh and I have been waiting to get the second book. And partly because I tend to get overwhelmed in review books and forget the "just because I wanna" books. I will have to make some time soon to read this one, though. Thanks for your wonderful review!


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