Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

ARC Review: The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abé

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The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1)
   by: Shana Abé

Publication Date: Apr. 9, 2013
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 352 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

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 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.

                        -goodreads.com description

First of all, I ADORED the time period and location in which this is set and that is what piqued my interest right off the bat. When I first started reading, I admit I felt the writing was a bit disorienting, as I struggled to grasp the overall concept of what was happening. However, the story began to flow and I got used to it, even with the sudden switching of POV's.

We begin the book by meeting Lora, our protagonist. She was orphaned at a young age and was raised in an orphanage, where she was forced to take care of herself and hide her secrets. I really like that Lora is tough as nails, and after she is sent to Iverson, a boarding school for girls, she does not let any of the socialite girls affect her. However, amidst petty elitist girls, ridicule, and pity, Lora finds her bright spot, in my opinion, in Jesse. He is the school's groundskeeper and you can't help but fall in love with him. He is sweet, tender, and loving to Lora and also helps her realize who she truly is and what destiny awaits her, if she surrenders to it.

Armand, on the other hand, the aristrocratic Duke's son, is strangely drawn to Lora, from the moment they first meet as she gets off the train to Iverson. He doesn't understand why he is so drawn to her and neither do any of the other girls at Iverson. What could the poor penniless girl have that the Duke's son could possibly desire? Their banter is quite amusing and I liked how his role wasn't just to serve as a second admirer.

When I first read the synopsis and saw there may be potentially be a love triangle, I thought, 'really, another one?!'. I'm all love-triangled out! Rest assured to those who are like me, I thought the incorporation of both boys in her life worked out really well. I don't want to give anything away, obviously, but they are all destined for something more, together.

The ending of the book definitely ripped my heart open, but it also left me with hope for Lora and her future, as she's just now discovering who she is really is. (I won't say what but it was definitely awesome when it was finally revealed!)

I really enjoyed this book and read through it in no time at all. It was so easy to get swept away to England and pulled in to the magical elements of the story. I can't wait for the second book!

*Thank you to Random House for providing an advanced copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.*

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  1. I just requested this book on NetGalley! I hope I get it because it sounds absolutely amazing.

    Great review!

    1. I really liked this book! I'm so glad I got its sequel on NG!

    2. I hope you get it too! If you do, you'll have to let me know what you thought of it!


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