The Sweetest Dark

By Shana Abe
Published on March 26, 2013
Published by Bantam
Source: Netgalley
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.

The Sweetest Dark is a historical ... paranormal read?  Fantasy?  I am not completely sure- it seems to blur the lines of both.  Either way it is an engaging and entertaining start to a new young adult series.  The story follows Lora on the road to discover who and what she is and is becoming.  Lora has had a very rough life and that is apparent in her personality and mannerisms.

When Lora finds herself invited on full scholarship to a girl's school, she is surprised and ready to escape her old life.  Lora is a character that you can root for, and although both Lora and readers know nothing of her past, Lora is a strong enough character to stand on her own and to become what she is destined to be.

What is that "thing"?  Well, I am not telling!  I will say that fans of series like Firelight and Stardust will enjoy this series for the paranormal and fantasy elements.  The time period will also entertain fans of shows like Downton Abbey.  (I LOVE this time period!)  The author has a unique and lyrical voice in this novel.  The words are smooth, flowing, and are beautiful to read.  Each sentences has been poured over with care- this book really is a work of art for how it is written. I found myself stopping a few times and thinking "man, this book is just so... pretty!"

The Sweetest Dark is an entertaining start to a new series- I am thankful that The Deepest Night will be out in August (it is waiting for me on my Kindle as we speak!).  This was an engaging read and I can't wait to read more- that ending- ugh!  I need to know what happens next!

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