Friday, April 19, 2013

Review - The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe (4/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Date: April 2, 2013
ISBN: 978-0345531704
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Sweetest Dark series
Source: eGalley through
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got a copy of this book to review through Netgalley(dot)com. Thanks to Bantam and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book. Previously I had read the first two books in Abe’s Drakon series (which is an adult series) and enjoyed them. This was a beautifully written and sweet story about a girl with a mysterious past, it is entwined with the events of World War I as well. The second book in this series, The Darkest Night, is due for a June 2013 release.

Lora has had a rough childhood, first orphaned and raised at a horrible orphange and then sent to a madhouse for the voices she hears, her summons to a remote boarding school is a blessing. When Lora arrives at Iverson, she is happy to have a warm place to sleep and food to eat. Of course the other girls hate her, but she can cope with that. What complicates things is the boy Jesse, who makes the voices sing louder and the darkly brooding Armand who for some reason has his sights set on Lora.

This is a very beautifully written book about a teenage girl who finds out she is one of the Drakon; as such she can turn into smoke or a Dragon. The whole book takes place during World War I. So Lora's time at the boarding school is woven with stories of war. This was a quick and easy read, with some beautiful imagery.

Lora is one of those characters who has gone through a lot but still seems to have a sort of tough grace about her. She seems delicate and almost lyrical in her actions, but has a core of steel when she has to. She is caring, and a survivor and makes the other more well-to-do girls around her look like young children.

Jesse and Armand are both fascinating characters as well. They both have a lot of depth and are mysterious. This isn’t really a love triangle since Lora is steadfast in her love of one boy.

There is a lot of romance in this book and not a lot of depth. It is a sweet and beautiful read, but nothing earthshattering. I did enjoy how the history of World War I in Britain was woven throughout the story. Lora’s world is apart from the War but still largely influenced by it at points. That was probably the most creative aspect of this book; including well-researched wartime scenes in with this paranormal love story.

If there are any adults reading this book who have read the Drakon series they will enjoy the letters from Rue. Rue was the heroine of the first Drakon book, The Smoke Thief.

Overall a sweet and beautiful read full of wonderful imagery. This isn’t a complex book, it’s more just a light fun read. It’s very beautiful and I enjoyed the World War I scenes and influence that were woven together with Lora’s story. The story was well paced and the characters easy to engage with. I am looking forward to reading the next book, The Darkest Night. I recommend this to those who love historical fantasies with a lot of romance and a bit of history in them. It really is a beautifully written book.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Reading Challenge
- Debut Author Reading Challenge
- Paranormal Reading Challenge
- Young Adult Reading Challenge

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