Monday, 1 April 2013

Review ~ The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) - Shana Abe

The Sweetest Dark
ARC received in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Expected release: 9th April 2013
ISBN: 9780345531704

“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 Opinion
The main thing that attracted me to this book was the cover, it is absolutely beautiful and now that I have read it I love how the smokey dress effect links in with the plot. I'm not normally a fan of books set in a historical setting but I know quite a bit about the WW1 so for once a book set in this time period intrigued me as there were paranormal elements.

I liked the originality of the story and how the author picked on different paranormal species. As well as this it was one I would have believed to normally be aimed at guys so it was a nice twist to take dragons and turn them into a book girls would love. 

The romance in this book was the main thing I liked. It was developed well and consistent throughout, I may have liked a little more passion but it was in keeping with the time period so may have looked slightly odd if the author had. Jesse was definitely my favourite character and I fell in love with his personality. I was a bit colder towards Armand but by the end I had grown to like him too. 

As well as this for once I actually liked the fact that Lora is an orphan. Generally if I read anything like this in description it turns me straight off a book as I find them full of cliches and the same stereotypical drama. The Sweetest Dark however did none of this and I thought that Shana Abe did an excellent job of creating an interesting character that doesn't use their past as a way to create sympathy by bringing it up every second. I fell in love with Lora because of her actions and quick wit not because she whined about her past and pitied herself.

There were a few things that  I didn't like though. For one, the writing at times was quite jumpy and moved from one scene to the next abruptly with the use of an asterisk rather than the author filling in what happens during the blank moments. I can handle this a few times in a book but sometimes there was only 2/3 paragraphs in between and at times it felt like the author didn't know how to link up sections with detail so resorted to missing it out altogether. As well as this at random points in the book a few letters were used as chapters. Although they are cleared up towards the end and I understood at that point, while reading them they became increasingly annoying as I had no idea who was meant to be reading/writing them, who they were for, or what they signified. This added to the jumpy nature of the book and broke up the flow.

Overall though The Sweetest Dark was an enjoyable read, and I liked how the action picked up towards the end. It's a book that makes you fall in love with the characters and I'm glad I have received the sequel via NetGalley too so I can start it straight away.


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