Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review of The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

Title/Author: The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe
Publisher/Date published: Bantam, April 2nd 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: “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.

I wanted to love this book so badly, especially because it has DRAGONS in it and I love dragons! But sadly, we never hit it off.

I really struggled with Lora as a main character, I couldn't connect to her and I actually didn't think she was a very nice person. I get that growing up the way she did, she had to be tough, but I don't know, something in her attitude just rubbed me the wrong way. I think this goes along way to my disconnect from the story in general, because I couldn't find myself rooting for her.

And seriously, I'm a bit tired of the love triangle always popping up. Lora, who never really had anything, now all of a sudden has two attractive boys running after her and there's insta-love going on with one of them and I don't know, it just did not work for me at all. Maybe also partly because I was rooting for the boy she didn't have the insta-love with, he seemed a far more interesting character than either Lora or Jesse. Though seriously, please stop having his pet name be Mandy, because UGH THAT IS JUST NOT MANLY OK?!


I did like the dragon- and starlore and thought these abilities that Lora has could have been expanded on aside from her turning to smoke and turning up somewhere else naked (a lot). I was fascinated by her ability to command people using her powers and then it just vanished. I would have loved to see her grow a bit more into all of it and just play around for a while.

I do have to say that the writing was beautiful, Shana Abe really knows how to turn a sentence. But it wasn't engaging and her characters weren't relatable and it all just fell a bit flat for me. I really ahd to push myself to finish The Sweetest Dark and wasn't even all that devastated at something that happens towards the end, which if I had been truly invested in this story, I surely would have been.

My rating: 2 stars

Made me crave: nacho cheese tortillas


  1. To bad you did not liked this. I myself found it to be a really refreshing read and it made me think of the Gemma Doyle books. I too was not a big fan of Jesse and therefore liked the next book much better. And Mandy was at one point in history a boy's nickname that turned in to a girl's name. My friend had a great-grandfather Mandy.
    Really honest review which is nice to see on such a poplar book :)

  2. Hmm...I just got this book from the library and now I'm not sure if I should read it. I usually don't like books if I can't connect with the MC. I'm tired of love triangles as well, but you can definitely tell even from the summary that it's going to have one. I guess books without them are going to be the exception. Great review! ~Pam

  3. Aww that sucks. I was getting really excited when I was reading the summary but then it was instalove and you say you couldn't connect with Lora :( I hate when that happens. So I guess I won't be reading this one either.


  4. The Mandy thing drove me crazy! I think I liked Jesse more simply because of that. I enjoyed this book enough to want to read the sequel but I completely understand the objections of other people to this first one.

  5. I have enjoyed all of Shana Abe's Drakon books so much, that it's hard to believe I haven't read any of her other books yet. An oversight I intend to rectify!
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