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The Sweetest Dark Hardcover – April 2, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Sweetest Dark
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345531701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345531704
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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.

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Customer Reviews

One of my biggest problem with this book, was that I felt the author was doing too much at once.
A Reading Nurse
It took me a while, after I read this book, to write this review because I didn't think beautiful was sufficient in describing the story Shana Abe created.
Cori, Donna & Dawn- Reading In Pajamas
I think it appeals to fans of YA paranormal romance, adult paranormal romance, historical fiction, and even fantasy.
Megan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Jane of All Reads VINE VOICE on August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Shana Abé writes beautiful romances and her dragons have been the awe inspiring stuff of dreams. I fell in love with her hauntingly romantic Drakon series and was excited to hear that she was going to dabble in the paranormal world of YA and bring her dragons to a younger audience. However, where her traditional fantasy romances showcase the vivid, rich world of her dragons, her usually beautiful prose was buried beneath so many YA cliches that it may as well not have been about the Drakon at all.

The story is set in a boarding school and while I'm usually a fan of the YA boarding school novel, this one left nothing to the imagination. You could see it all coming from the start- overly stern headmistress, secret places in the school, and oh yes...mean girls.

I wasn't at all a fan of the constant, mid-chapter point of view changes. Eleanore barely had enough presence and voice to carry her own story, and the supporting characters that were frequently thrown in to narrate had far less. We have an unmoving case of insta-love with an almost as instant love triangle. Our hero had only just been introduced when a second contender was thrown into the ring. There was a desperate push to have as much tension and fervor between our lovers as their short courtship could hold and the haste really dampened the romance (some things should be taken slow).

So I'm a little disappointed. True to Abé form, there were some absolutely beautiful passages and descriptions, several that I've marked to revisit in the future, but the overall effect wasn't at all what I had hoped for. Fans of the Drakon will want to read this one, if for no other reason than to keep up with the lore of her world but as an addition to the series, a YA one at that, it pales in comparison to her other books.
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2 of 2 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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