Tuesday, April 9, 2013

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

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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.

With a description so lovely I just couldn’t resist picking this one up. I thought the setting of 1915 and the geography added allure to the story and I just fell for it.

Lora’s entrance into the elite boarding school is most definitely an eye opener for her. It’s very much like Mean Girls where she has to hold her head high and endure the invasive stares and cruel comments from the spoiled rich girls. If they've mistaken her for fragile, then they quickly learn their lesson. She's learned a thing or two at the orphanage from where she came so she's definitely up for a fight when pushed into a corner.

All of that though is secondary to Lora’s gradual immersion into the truth about her past and her powers. Thanks to her instant connection with Jesse, she’s able to develop them and become stronger. I initially doubted her quick acceptance of the truth but I guess when someone provides you a plausible reason for your gifts after living your whole life in complete ignorance and secretly wondering if you’re a bit mental, you’d go with it too.

Her interaction with Armand provides much humor as they match each other wit for wit. There is an obvious attraction between them and the fact that her very presence causes a stir within his family generates more tension.

The Sweetest Dark is simply enchanting. I succumbed to all of its magic and enjoyed reading how all the relationships played out. There are also some lovely passages that are quite moving especially when describing the emotional connection between the three main characters. Without giving anything away, I will say this: I was sad when the book ended - not just because of where the haunting storyline went - but also because I simply did not want it to end. 

The Sweetest Dark is out now and the second in the series, The Deepest Night will be out August 13.

~ Bel

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear you liked it. I have downloaded a sample, but haven't read it yet. This helps sway me.
    Tammy @ Bo's Book Nook