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The Sweetest Dark Hardcover – April 2, 2013

153 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Abe’s YA debut takes place in 1915 England in the same alternate world as her adult paranormal romances about the drákon, beings who can shift forms from human to smoke to dragon. After being committed to a mental institution for almost a year, 16-year-old Lora has learned to ignore the voices and music only she can hear. After her Dickensian orphanage is bombed, she is inexplicably invited to become a charity student at Iverson, a wealthy coastal boarding school. The high-society students are disdainful, but she captures the attention of two very different (but equally mesmerizing) boys: Jesse, the gentle school groundskeeper, and Armand, the arrogant aristocrat, both of whom are key in unlocking Lora’s drákon powers. A sudden side plot involving a German air raid at Iverson is unconvincing, and the supernatural elements, particularly Jesse’s powers as a “starman,” are mystifying though intriguing. Abe has more success when focused on Lora’s starry-eyed romance with Jesse, related in gossamer, leisurely prose. This will appeal most to fans of ardent but gentle romance. Grades 9-12. --Krista Hutley

Review

Praise for The Sweetest Dark
 
“A wonderfully refreshing story of self-discovery, love, courage—and dragons . . . I was enchanted.”—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Lovely
 
“Abé creates a rich and refreshing world.”—RT Book Reviews (four stars)
 
“Abe’s writing is both elegant and beautiful . . . The Sweetest Dark is the perfect fantasy read.”—Badass Book Reviews
 
“Strong and spellbinding.”—Genre Go Round Reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Sweetest Dark (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345531701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345531704
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,121,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Shana Abé is the author of Queen of Dragons, The Dream Thief, and The Smoke Thief. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Meegan VINE VOICE on June 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
**While I felt this was a five-star book in so many ways, I am officially giving it 4.5 stars here due to a few plot issues I had which I'll discuss beow.**

I first discovered Shana Abe when I stumbled across The Smoke Thief, the first book in her Drakon series. I was immediately struck by her wonderfully poetic and elegant prose, especially considering the Drakon books are historical-fantasy romance novels, a genre not often recognized for its high-quality writing. So when I saw Abe's latest book, a YA continuation of the Drakon world, I snatched it up immediately, no questions asked.

I was not disappointed.

As with her adult Drakon books, The Sweetest Dark dares to be very, very different from so many of its YA peers. The writing was breathtaking and so very evocative of Lora's world. Abe has a particular knack for engaging all the senses. Many romance writers rely heavily on visual descriptions, for obvious reasons. But Abe takes it so much further by giving equal attention to smell, sound, taste, and touch. This is particularly important considering the very sensual nature of the drakon.

I really enjoyed this book. It's always so refreshing to come across a novel where the writing seems to effortlessly outclass the stuff currently on the YA market. The Sweetest Dark picks up roughly 100 years after the last book in the adult series. (Note, while the book inhabits the same world as the adult books...you do not need to have read those to understand what's going on in this one...it is very much a stand-alone. Also, FYI...I do recommend the adult books but wiyh the caveat that the content is definitely geared towards mature readers). This is a deep, emotional, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, always compelling story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By book junkie VINE VOICE on May 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eleanore Jones was born different, she hears songs and voices, and has learned to pretend that she doesn't. Her life changes when she is mysteriously awarded a scholarship. Lora is sent to an expensive boarding school in a castle far away from the grungy London orphanage where she was raised. There she meets Jesse, who speaks only for her, and Armand, the second son of the Duke of Idylling, who cannot forget her.

Eleanore's story is gorgeously written- I had a hard time putting it down. I wouldn't have classed it as a romance novel myself. Fantasy maybe? The romance is really secondary to the magic part of the story, which I just loved. And really, I just loved the story. The characters were beautifully written. I loved getting to know the characters, and the scenery was gorgeous. I'm having a hard time discribing this novel, it but I thoroughly enjoyed it. If there is a sequel I will be first in line to buy it- I was sorry when it was over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pam from Texas VINE VOICE on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Sweetest Dark was beautifully written. Even the depressing, bad things were written in a way to draw the reader in. The author, Shana Abe, has a wonderful command of the English language. Eleanor Jones was raised in an orphanage in London where the bare necessities were hard to come by. She quickly gained the reputation of being different, not exactly normal. Eleanor heard music that nobody else could hear. The music came from everywhere; the walls, the floors, even the stars. There was also a voice in her head telling her she was so much more than everybody else. Sometimes the music bothered her quite a bit and at these times she was hard to get along with and a discipline problem. It wasn't long before she was having to visit The Moor House Institute for Socially Afflicted Youth. She learned fast not to speak of the voice or the music. Nobody believed her sane and it called unwanted attention to her. Her treatment consisted of ice baths, mercury tonics, and electrical shock.

When World War I began she was fortunate enough to be selected as a charity student at Iverson, a beautiful boarding school for the daughters of the wealthy. Eleanor (Lora for short)was 16 years old. Naturally she didn't fit in with all the other pampered girls with their beautiful clothes and easy lives. For the first time in her life, Lora had a bedroom to herself, even if it wasn't nice like the rooms of the other girls. She also had soft sheets and plenty of food to eat.

The best thing to happen to her was meeting Jesse and Armand. Everybody thought Jesse was mute but he talked to Lora and seemed to know all about her. He even knew about the music and the voice. In fact, he emitted beautiful music that only she could hear.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Estelle on September 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I really wished that I enjoyed The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abé. The premise was intriguing and from the blurb, it seemed like a decent, quick YA read. With an alluring blend of historical fiction, fantasy and romance, it's rare that such combination can do any wrong. Unfortunately this was not the case here. Instead, I was left feeling underwhelmed and indifferent at the end, wondering why it was a good idea to drudge through this book. It's even more difficult to write a review about a book that you have no strong feelings for so there is nothing really going for me at the moment.

One of the positive aspects about this book was its beautiful setting. The descriptions of early 20th century London were lush and vivid which painted lovely images in my head. With a WWI backdrop, Abé was successful in creating an authentic historical feel to the story despite its fantasy filled plot. Furthermore I liked the eerie and foreboding atmosphere that was not only present on the streets of London, but also within the boarding school Iverson. I'm a huge sucker for gothic settings so Abé easily won me over with the expansive school grounds, quaint cottages in the middle of the woods, old chapels, aristocratic manors and secret passages in the school castle. The setting can be loosely compared to Harry Potter however that is the only remotely common link between them. I have not read Abe's previous adult series that is set in the same world however I could recognise the subtle details and intricacies in the world-building that may be more apparent if you are familiar with her other books.

Abé's prose is also very beautiful and poetic. It is clear that she is skilled writer as she does have a lovely way with words that makes every sentence such a pleasure to read.
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