Author: Shana Abe
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Source: the wonderful Candace (Thank you so much! ♥)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | The Book Depository | Chapters
“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.
Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.
(summary taken from Goodreads)MY THOUGHTS:
In my thesaurus for this book, The Sweetest Dark is synonymous to beautiful. Ordinary is not-a-fat-chance. And Shana Abe is something of a genius for creating a story so lush, so beautiful, and so different from your classic paranormal book! I just have to break it down! :')
The world: Taking place in England during World War I, The Sweetest Dark is also set in the world of Shana Abe's adult Drakon series. Even though it may not be a big secret, I don't want to give away the type of creature that lurks around in this enchantingly bleak world (like Lora). But I can tell you that this isn't a vamp/were/witch/fey story!
The heroine: At first, Lora comes off distant. She's hardened by her awful past, slow to trust and quick to reply with snark. But beneath her hard shell is a fragile girl made of so many layers, and I loved that part of her. I ended up loving ALL of her. She has a silent strength that's unmistakable, and my heart clicked with hers like that.
The boys: Don't worry; you'll find that this isn't your traditional love triangle! Jesse a musical genius who doesn't care what other people think of him. Many think he's mute because he refuses to speak — except to Lora, and it's SO sweet when he does. ♥ Then there's Armand, the arrogant aristocrat who Lora distrusts immediately. Both boys play a huge part in Lora discovering her heritage, and both unravel in different ways.
The awesome: I spent much of this book in a daze, confused almost, but the last fraction completely blew me away! I cried like a baby. To be honest, even though there are still so many things I don't understand (so many things I hope will be explored in a sequel *hint hint*), this is simply one of the most beautiful books I've ever read and it gets my heart for that!
The epic conclusion: Written with some of the most gorgeous prose I've ever read and told with the essence of a heartbreaking Grimm fairytale, The Sweetest Dark is a captivatingly original story that takes the phrase "hauntingly beautiful" to extremes. My chest is still aching!
BUY or BORROW?: I'm borrowing this ARC from Candace [insert showering of hearts!!], so of course I need to get a gorgeous finished copy for my shelf! :')