Saturday, March 30, 2013
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
352 pages, YA Fantasy (Dragons)
The Sweetest Dark #1
My rating: 4 stars
“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 2 cents
This book is not at all what I expected! It completely transported me to another world, and I loved it! The writing was beautiful and poetic. The concept was completely new and original, and the characters and the setting were very vivid.
Lora is most decidedly different from her peers. Not only in station, but down to her very being. She really does think she much be crazy, until she meets Jesse. He has a secret of his own, and he sees her for what she really is--a dragon! He himself is meant to be her keeper, and he has sensed her in the world for years. His task is to help her complete her transformation from girl to dragon.
I actually did not like Jesse that much. I felt like he was really holding her back at times. Lora falls completely in love with him, and seems blind to a lot of his faults. I just didn't quite trust him. You'll have to read the book to find out whether I was right or not!
Armand is the son of the Duke who owns the school. He immediately is drawn to Lora, although she can't stand him. These two characters actually made me think of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. She is blind to him, and he looks down his nose at her. But he also has a secret, and these three characters are bound together because of it. I loved Armand! I thought he and Lora were more suited together. I could see right through his facade. I really wanted Lora to as well, but it seemed to take awhile!
Most of the story felt like a historical fantasy. It is set in England during World War I, so there is a lot happening. The romance is kind of a back drop, and doesn't rule the story. Its really a more coming of age--or dragon!-- story for Lora. The ending picks up with a lot of action, and wasn't at all what I expected! The book just kept surprising me and surprising me, in good ways!