The Sweetest Dark
by Shana Abe
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
I would like to thank Random House Publishing group and Bantam for giving me a digital copy through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
Book description from NetGalley:
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 bean 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.
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!
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