Review: The Sweetest Dark, Shana Abe

October 4, 2013 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Review: The Sweetest Dark, Shana AbeThe Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
Series: The Sweetest Dark #1
Published by Random House on April 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository

For fans of Lauren Kate and Libba Bray, The Sweetest Dark is filled with thrilling romance, exciting adventure, and ancient magic. Shana Abé brilliantly captures the drama of post-Victorian England, while unfolding a passionate love story that defies time.
“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.


I loved the sound of this book from the synopsis, it was historical and it was also a fantasy book with dragons and beautiful gothic castles! While I did enjoy reading this book the entire time I just felt that something was missing, I wondered if this was a spin off of another book series or set in the same world as another book series at least.  I wasn’t surprised to discover that Shana Abe, while this is her first foray into Young Adult literature has quite a bit of experience writing adult romances and I guessed right, there is another adult series set loosely within the same universe.

The writing in this novel is beautiful though I felt that it left the main characters at times coming off as distant.  Lora while sweet I never really felt sorry for her even though it would be tough living in a boarding school surrounded by wealthy girls.  She was an interesting character however and I am interested in finding out more about her powers linking music with precious gems I found that really different and fascinating!

The two boys which make up your typical YA love triangle are both interesting though I do this this triangle is quite off kilter especially with how the book turns out.  I’ll be interested to see how Abe pulls off the romance angle in book 2.  Jesse is all sweetest and light and theirs truly is a star crossed lovers romance.  On the other hand there is Armand who is arrogant, rich and has an intense heat within him. Normally I’m more drawn to the arrogant alpha types in romances but I really loved Jesse and I think that his talents are fascinating and such a beautiful compliment to Lora.

The actual storyline is a little slow and if I think back, not that much actually happens.  Abe is definitely playing to her strengths and this is foremost a romance with a smidgen of supernatural added in for good measure. If you are looking for a story that is romantic with some strong character building then I think you would enjoy The Sweetest Dark.

three-half-stars – Unique premise in a typical Young Adult setting.

The Sweetest Dark

the sweetest dark the deepest night

Book #3 Untitled



Email | Goodreads | | Twitter | Instagram Philippa lives in Brisbane, Australia with her partner and two daughters. She is an avid reader and reviewer of Young Adult literature as well as being a student midwife, closet geek, procrastibaker and coffee addict.

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