The Sweetest Dark (Hardback)
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Short Description for The Sweetest Dark Chosen to be a charity student at a boarding school in World War I England, sixteen-year-old Lora discovers her long latent magical powers just in time to battle an evil bent on decimating the school.
- Published: 02 April 2013
- Format: Hardback 334 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780345531704 ISBN 10: 0345531701
- Sales rank: 157,786
Reviews for The Sweetest Dark
Beautiful Epic Love Story with Magic in Gothic English Castle
I was really surprised by this book! I hadn't heard much about it and I'm kind of late reviewing it. But it was so incredible, I couldn't believe there hasn't been a huge push about this book. Or did I miss it?
I mighta missed it. Cause this book hits all my must haves- magic, romance, wait, not romance, I don't know how Shana Abe did it, but she made this an epic love story in a couple of meetings between two characters. It felt EPIC! And oh yes, it is a gothic historical magical realism romance! So, if that isn;t enough labels for you, then I don't know how else to help you. I won't give away the magic.
The book is set in the years of the beginning of WWI. Don't get confused, this is England. They were in it before the United States, just remember that. Because I had to call the man with the elephant memory (they aren't supposed to forget anything) and ask him when the U.S. got involved in WWI. It matters because I needed to know how old the main character is when things happen. Anyway, Lora, has a rough time growing up but she's finally caught a break. She was found mute, homeless and orphaned at 10. She served time, and I do mean that, in a mental hospital after admitting some of her secrets. No one believed her hence the mental hospital and her "treatments." Then her orphanage is bombed by the Kaiser. But it's okay because she is headed to Iverson, an elite boarding school for girls, on the coast of England. It's in a dark gothic castle and her room happens to be in one of the towers.
Now, Lora sounds like a pathetic or at least sympathetic character doesn't she? But not once did I feel sorry for her. She's not written that way and she doesn't live that way. She learned in the orphanage how to be street smart and she knows people. When she gets to Iverson, she's already landed on her feet. She knows how she'll be seen and treated and she really doesn't care, she knows she's in a lot better place than she could have been. She's not feeling sorry for herself and events change in a way so that she gets the upper hand on the most uppity and therefore meanest girl to Lora. Some of the girls she attends school with are "Lady" This and "Duchess" of That. This is very upper class. And Lora's benefactor is a Duke who owns the castle and a monstrous home he's building some miles away from the school. Lora is actually funny in some of her observations claiming that on rainy days "all the girls in all the years recognized that they were made of spun sugar: Rain would surely melt them into puddles." (end of chapter 15) Sometimes she's saying one thing with her mouth and something totally opposite in her head. I'm not used to this type of character set in this time period. I really loved her! And even when something bad happens or something she can't believe, she's still very strong.
There were other characters that made the book amazing, but the magic and the ending. I can't say anything about it except to say Lora is not crazy and she learns about herself at Iverson. And the war comes to Iverson in one way and many others. I think Shana Abe has created an incredible first book in a series that I am popping to the top of my favorites list for this year. I will be looking at her other books, she's got a bunch and the next book in this series The Darkest Night comes out in August!
Yes, and thank you! I'm not sure I could wait a year after that ending. I'd be doing everything to get an ARC of that one. But this being April, I feel like I can wait. And just read The Sweetest Dark over and over. And read Shana Abe's other books.
Thanks to the publishers at Bantam for the E-ARC I received through NetGalley! The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated for this review.
GET THIS BOOK!!! I'm getting my own copy for sure!
Heather by Heather Rosdol
Beautiful HIstoric Fantasy.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley.)
Sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is an orphan. An orphan who doesn't even remember her parents, and can hear melodies no-one else can hear.
Having spent time in a mental institution after leaping from her top floor window thinking that she could fly, Lora finds herself sent to school for girls called Iverson, where she is looked down upon by the rich students, who don't want to associate with a charity case.
Lora finds herself capturing the attention of two different men though. Jesse the hired help who maintains the grounds, and Armand, the owner's son. Jesse knows what Lora really is though, and is about to help her become what she was born to be.
What is Lora though? What is Jesse? And who will she choose?
I liked this book, the writing was beautiful, and the mystery surrounding what Lora really was was quite compelling.
Lora was a quick-witted girl, who knew that she was poor, but didn't listen when people told her that she was less than the rich girls. She tried her best to fit in and follow rules, but she also wasn't afraid to make waves, and often came out with things that would have been considered b*tchy and inappropriate! Whether this was because of the way she was raised in the orphanage, or whether it was just her I'm not sure, but at several times I cheered that she stuck up for herself against the rich girls, and some of her insults were bril!
There were two love interests in this book - Jesse, who worked at the school and was thought to be mute (but wasn't), and Armand, the owners son. Lora seemed to prefer Jesse, but I personally loved Armand! He was a little dark and dangerous, and being with him would have really ruffled feathers! This was one of those love triangles that was a little irritating because Lora was a little blind to it, and also because I thought she was making the wrong choice!
I liked the storyline in this book, and although the fantasy aspect could have been odd in this historic novel (circa WW1), it was actually blended in really well, and the idea of mythical creatures didn't seem unlikely. I did like the beginning more than the end though, I think some of the mystery was lost towards the end, but I did like it overall. The way this book was written was quite beautiful and flowing, which added to the mystery and Victorian feel, and I really liked it.
The ending to the book was quite shocking with one characters sudden demise(!) and other events surrounding Lora, it will be very interesting to see where the story goes from here!
Overall; a YA historical fantasy novel with a splash of romance.
8 out of 10. by Sarah Elizabeth
An engaging read
An engaging read that captures the essence of teenager's struggles with trying to find themselves and turning it into a heart pounding fantasy adventure.
The story was written in a very descriptive manner, but what I liked most is that she could really make you feel like you were there by adding in descriptions for the other senses like touch, taste, and smell as well as sight.
Lora is different and its because of this that she has hidden much of herself away. I really liked her bravery and strength throughout the story. She needed all of them in order to make it through this harsh where you never can tell you is friend or foe. I believe that although she has many abilities the average human does not she is still a very relate able character. Everyone has to deal with the issues of fitting in at some point in their life, but for Lora its life or death.
I also really enjoyed the romance in this story which was very beautiful, but at the same time didn't take over the whole story. It was a nice addition and I liked how the relationships were handled. There were mistakes made, but the characters acknowledged them and were able to deal with any issues instead of running away or pretending like it didn't exist.
I can't wait until the next book because there are still a lot of questions about Lora's past that I would really like answered.
Overall this is a beautiful adventure with a dash of romance that I highly recommend to all YA fans! by katie