Published by Bantam on April 2nd 2013
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,
I ridiculously loved The Sweetest Dark, in the sense that after I finished it, I just about cried before I found out that book two comes out in August. Or maybe I was still crying over the ending. *spoiler* It’s heartbreaking. Basically there was a lot of feels going on towards the end of The Sweetest Dark. Funnily enough, I didn’t enjoy this book in the beginning. I nearly DNF’d.
I’ve never been a fan of period novels. Besides having a hard time relating to individuals from another time, the writing style in period novels tends to be dense and therefore more time consuming. I knew I was taking a huge risk requesting/starting a book that takes place in the early 1900s. Of course, now that I’ve finished and adored The Sweetest Dark, there’s a part of me that wants to give others a chance. Yes the writing was denser, but because so, the emotions were amplified.
Abe’s writing style is so colorful and passionate. I really got a sense for 1900s-London, a setting that was absolutely perfect. Dark and gritty, 1900s London was just right for The Sweetest Dark which has an edgier, almost gothic quality. Taking place in the middle of World War I also heightened the sense of danger and despair.
Our main character, Eleanor a.k.a. Lora is quite plainly extraordinary. An orphan with a seriously dark and disturbing past, Lora has been through a lot. Yet, she prevailed. Wise beyond her years, Lora is incredibly smart, quick, resourceful, brave and confident. She’s also witty and fast-thinking – able to throw verbal punch for verbal punch with anyone – even a certain smart-mouth highborn (Armand). She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, among males and the catty material girls that Iverson is known for.
When you see Jesse and Armand mentioned in the cover description you automatically think or dread “love triangle” – like I did. But don’t be afraid! There’s more to it. I found both boys to be completely different with their own faults and virtues. I thought that their roles were essential and enjoyable.
The myth/magic part in The Sweetest Dark is tastefully done. It’s mysterious, dark, sexy and dangerous.
There’s a lot of heartbreak and despair in The Sweetest Dark. I won’t lie, I teared up a bit… or you know… a lot. The ending was cruel yet probably essential (as I keep trying to tell myself).
I give The Sweetest Dark 5 stars for it’s originality and shocking twists.