REVIEW by Ginny: The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe (@Shana_Abe)

“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.

the sweetest dark

Netgalley told me this book was coming out yesterday and it came out on the second.  This has been happening a lot lately, and had made me unduly cranky.  I mean here I am trying to read books for their release date, and they either aren’t released yet- making me look like an idiot- or were already released- making me look like an idiot.

Fine, I thought, effe them.  I’m just not going to read this one for the 9th.  I’ll read it when I get to it.

Then I discovered that on the morning of the 9th I had nothing better to do in the “wake up Ginny alone time” of my morning routine, and downloaded the title.  And by nothing, what I’m really saying is that reading a book from Netgalley when I’m ticked at them was more appealing than wrangling banners at 6 am when my eyes were still glued shut.

I wasn’t going to like it though.  Or be happy about it.

14.5 hours later…

*me in tears on the kitchen floor while my daughter asks “you cryin’ mommy?”*

I still can’t tell you if this was a good decision on my part, or not.

On the one hand, this book was beautiful and now it’s memory will be with me forever.  Something to keep close and cherish.  Which I will.

On the other hand, its beauty had a brutal edge and invokes adjectives I am loathe to toss around willy-nilly.




Eleanore “Lora” Rose Jones has not had an easy life.  Found wandering the streets at age 10 she’s taken to a foundling home, and in early 20th century London those are not happy places.  Like less happy than the orphanages today.  Add to that the fact that she hears songs no one else can hear and has a voice inside her heart and things are not coming up roses for our main girl.

At age 16, while children are being evacuated from London due to the war with Germany, she receives a scholarship to an exclusive school in the country.

Her life will never be the same.

Namely because of the two men who wander into hers and muck it all up.  Or save it, depending on how you look at it.  Change it for sure though.

Now, I’ve got to admit, while reading I was a bit torn on the love triangle.  For starters, there’s little in the way of development in the actual relationship that takes place.  It’s just this instant soul changing connection.  I wanted to see more development there, but having experienced one of those life altering connections with my husband, I can’t really say “oh that never happens.”

Second, while the… whatever the hell it is grows with boy deuce, I didn’t really like him.  I mean, I had this hint that something was going to happen and I wasn’t going to like it and I got all bitter towards the boy because obviously it was his fault.  And at the same time, I kind of liked him.  Damn his eyes.  He was just as tortured as Lora, just with a more privileged background, and couldn’t that be just as choking as poverty?

Then by the time you see the writing on the wall- when you understand what it all means- just like Lora you’re unable to turn away.  You have no choice but to see it out until the end. Normally I can keep it together in front of my kid, but not this time.  This time the tears ran free, and several choked little sobs managed to break free.

5 stars.  If you like paranormal YA at all, you should pick up this book. Remember, it’s brutally beautiful.  Have a box of tissues handy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to forget that I have the next book in the series or I’ll get nothing done until it’s been consumed.

Ginny New 2

the sweetest dark

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2 thoughts on “REVIEW by Ginny: The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe (@Shana_Abe)

  1. I too was under the same impression and finished the book on the 3rd….sigh, so frustrating. Anyway, I loved this book! It did leave me in tears.
    Interesting she went the YA route with this book. Her Drakon series was not, and this new series sort of piggy backs off of those books.
    Great review as always 🙂

  2. Hmmm….I think I might have to read this one. 😉

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