Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: The Sweetest Dark

Book: The Sweetest Dark
Author: Shana Abe
Series: N/A
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pages: 352
Source: the wonderful Candace (Thank you so much! )
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon CA | The Book Depository | Chapters
Stars: 4/5
“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! :')  

-Mimi

37 comments:

  1. Hehe now you made me curious!! I haven't read any of Shana Abe books before, so I have no idea which paranormal creature to expect! I love when books like this totally surprise you. I might not be the biggest fan of this time period but I read soma amazing things about this book that I might need to read it! Even more, I trust you and we so often have the same taste in books! and .. I want beautiful too!

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  2. AGHHHH. Dude, I saw this on Netgalley and requested it IMMEDIATELY. I already read this book and I SO SO SO agree about this book being beautiful. Heck, it's like way more than that! I definitely loved the writing of this book. The descriptions were absolutely to DIE FOR, and the romance was rather good. ;3 I was personally more of a Team Armand fan and the ending made me sad sauce. :c <333

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! <3 AWESOME as always for a review!

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  3. If this made you cry, it must be a powerful novel. I want to read it, asap! So curious as to what her heritage is and I love how you described the heroine. I love characters with layers to them and hidden sides.

    And totally geeking out over the boys already, haha. Armand - le sigh- I love that name, LOL. It just sounds so sophisticated :D

    I thought your review was just lovely, Mimi ;) And thanks for bringing this book to our attention. *adds to tbr list* :)

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  4. Yay!!!! I'm so glad you found it beautiful too! This book was like a hidden gem for me, I seriously had no idea how brilliant it would be. And yes, that end was heartbreaking. But surprisingly it didn't piss me off like I would have thought. You made my night Mimi! I'm SO glad you enjoyed it!

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  5. I'm very much looking forward to reading this especially because of the WWI setting-after Downton Abbey I'm on the lookout for books set in that time period even with fantastical elements that will add more layers of complexity. Can't wait to find out what the paranormal aspect is!

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  6. EEEEEEEEE Mimi! I've seen this book before and the cover is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! I definitely need to read this book soon because the story sounds interesting too!

    Awesome review, Mimi! ♥ Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  7. This sounds like a great read. Early 1900s England is one of my favourite eras.

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  8. This actually sounds like a great read. Didn't think much of it when I came by the book a few weeks ago online, but I might check it out later. Great review!

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  9. Yay! I'm so glad you loved this! (And that it lives up to its gorgeous cover. ;)) Yet another awesome review, Mim! :)

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  10. This sounds so amazing, Mimi! Finally, a paranormal book where the "mysterious" mythical being isn't plastered on the cover or the blurb!

    Awesome review, Mimi :D

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  11. I've never seen this book before ! It looks like you really did enjoy it. That means I'm going to love it too! :D I haven't read a great paranormal book in a very long time now so let's hope this one will impress me as much as it did you.
    I love the last paragraph of your review. It makes me want to read the book right away. :)
    Lovely review, Mimi !

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  12. I'm really eager to get my hands on this now! I'm curious about all the characters and I can't wait to find out what type of creature is present in this story. Even from your review, I can tell this is a beautiful story! I'm glad you liked it, Mimi. Awesome review! :)

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  13. Wow! Pretty cover alert! This book kind of passed me by - I must go find out more about it! Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  14. Oh can't you tell us what the creature is right now? I am dying of curiosity! This book sounds amazing. Even though I am slightly worried about he love triangle. I can't beloved how gorgeous this cover is. I think I prefer the distant and strong heroines. I think I relate to them better. Snark is my thing all the way. No softness for me.

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  15. I never heard of this book. I'm glad to find about it through your review. It sounds very special and unique. I really want to read it to feel the amazing conclusion!

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  16. This sounds so so so amazing, I need to read it immediately! I remember talking to Candace about this one, and she just raved about it as well so I must get my hands on it. I love the sound of Jesse, I'm half in love with him already and want to hear him speak to Lora:) I'm a little nervous that you cried like a baby at the end, but books that make me do that always make their way to the shelf of favorites.

    Awesome, awesome review Mimi!!!!

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  17. Love triangle, yayyy! Omg, this does sound so beautiful. And Lora sounds amazing.<3 She sounds so real. Glad you liked it; amazing review, Mimi! You always make me desperate to read a book. :P

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  18. Oh, I really want to read this one. The cover really drew me in. Great review!

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  19. Beautiful review Mimi! I'd never heard of this book before, but the fact that this book made you go through such a range of emotions makes me want to get my hands on a copy asap! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful review and for bringing this book to my attention! :)

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  20. Wut? No vampires? Not sure this one is for me. :[

    Kidding!!! How could I not want to read this one after your amazingballs review?! Seriously, Mimi. You know how to sell a book. Congratulations. I'm now dying to know more about the boys, and what the heck the creatures are exactly.

    I think I need to go beg on Candace's doorstep.

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  21. I honestly would have passed on this one when I saw 1915 (I’m a bit burned out on the era), but, after your heartfelt, touching review, I’m definitely giving this one a read! This: “Many think he’s mute because he refuses to speak - except to Lora, and it’s so sweet when he does.” That got my swoon-o-meter running on high! Thank you for the wonderful review, Mimi! <3

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  22. This one sounds pretty awesome! I like the historical aspect and it seems the author takes a unique approach to the paranormal aspect and the love triangle.

    You have me really curious to know more about Lara and her world. And I also want to know what kind of paranormal being this book is all about! Guess that means I'll have to add it to my list!

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  23. Ahh Candace is awesome for sending this to you. I just mailed her one of my prized ARCs today. I have this one for review lucky me and now I am curious about the paranmormal element... what is it? I love your new review style, Mimi nice and clean and easy to navigate!

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  24. I absolutely love love love this novel. Reading gushing reviews of it just makes me love it more.

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  25. Normally this might not stand out to me all that much, but after your glowing review, I'm quite curious to check this out! I like that it's set in the past and that even though there is a love triangle, it's different. I'm curious about what type of paranormal this book contains!!

    Great review, Mimi. :)

    -Lauren

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  26. wow, this sounds like it'll be a great book to read!! I'm glad it's not like any typical paranormal books, because i NEED A CHANGE! Jesse sounds like a really awesome characters, and im so GLAD the love triangle is a great one <3
    Thanks for the great review Mimi :)
    - Farah @Majibookshelf

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  27. Different from classic paranormal books? I'm so in! And wow, now I'm so intrigued to know which kind of creature you're referring to :) Sounding better by the moment! Lora sounds like a complex character. Glad that you could click with her even thought she appeared so cold at the beginning. OHMIGOSH Jesse sounds so sweet! I want to meet him already! And although Armand doesn't sound as appealing, I'm certainly interested in the trio the three of them would make. Your review certainly does it make sound beautiful. I really hope I can read it someday.

    How can you do this to me, Mimi? I always want to read all the books you review, and my reading pile is already so high TT TT Even though I'm not here around much, I really hope your vacations are going great <33333

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  28. An unordinary love-triangle? Hmm, I'm intrigued. :) Brilliant review, Mimi! I've never heard of this novel before, but it sounds wonderful! I love historical novels with fantasy elements, thus I can definitely see myself liking this!

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  29. GAAAH. This one is on my TBR because it looks and seems so...unique! I love that you compared it to a Grimm's fairy tale, and that you thought the writing was gorgeous. That makes me even more psyched to eventually read it. I requested an ARC but honestly it's the sort of book I'm likely to splurge on!

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  30. LOVE how you split up this review!! I'm curious about the type of paranormal creature now, hmm. Both boys in this love triangle sound really great, a musical genius? Awesome. Also, this book made you cry?! It really must be amazing. I haven't heard of this before your review but I want to check it out now! <3

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  31. Oh, Mimi. It seems like you only read good books. How do you do that?

    This sounds veeeery interesting (like all the books you reveiw). Those boys also sound like hot. I'm more interested with the Jesse guy though. And I will be looking forward to this 'untraditional love triangle.' I hope this won't keep me guessing who the girl's going to choose in the end. Thanks for sharing again, Mimi! ;)

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  32. Wow! The historical backdrop plus the love triangle would definitely put me off to this book but there's something drawing me in to this one. I'm intrigued and really interested. I'll have to add this on my tbr. Thanks for the wonderful review, Mimi! I'm glad you enjoyed this. :D

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  33. Essence of a heartbreaking Grimm fairytale? Alright, perhaps I should add this one to my list! The cover was very pretty, but the blurb didn't satisfy me, but your review surely does :D Sounds great! I'm glad you liked it and I hope that your questions will be answered in - hopefully - a sequel!
    Thanks for the great review, Mim!

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  34. Wow this book sounds really awesome! I love discovering new books that aren't the average genre or something along those lines. I'll have to pick this book up!

    Jordon @ Miss Book Reviews

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  35. Awesome review Mimi! I've never heard of this one, I need to see if Netgalley still has it! I love that the cover seems to tie in with the story (the smoke). It is a beautiful cover too and I like that it's beautiful on the inside too! :)

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  36. Okay, now I am REALLY EFFING EXCITED TO READ THIS DAMN BOOK! Anyone ever told you that you should bottle your enthusiasm and sell it? Because you should. It's insanely effective. You'll make millions. The entire world will become book nerds thanks to you. Hmm, on second thought, maybe *I* will bottle it and pocket the money! muahahaha... erm.. anyway.

    I LOVE the sound of this!! The end made you cry like a baby? :o I'm desperate to see why! The characters sound amazing and gosh, Jesse has captivated me already! This book (and this review)... BREATHTAKING. Thank you for making me so in need of reading this!

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  37. I heard about this one a while back, but I didn't realize it was set in the early 1900s. I love your review. It does make me want to read it, but I don't have the best luck with historical fiction. Ugh, I'm soooo torn!

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Thanks so much for leaving your thoughts! I love hearing what you have to say, and I always try to comment on one of your blog posts in return! :)

It's really nice to meet you!