Book Review: The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is a young adult novel set in post-Victorian England. Lora Jones has always known that she’s different, an orphan who hears the songs of the world around her, she quickly learned to hide the things that make her different. However, when the war encroaches on the orphanage, sixteen year old Lora is sent to a boarding school. As the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school in a gothic castle which is like nothing Lora has ever seen, she meets a variety of mean girls and two boys who will open her eyes and forever change her destiny. Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is while Armand is an arrogant aristocrat harboring a some secrets of his own. Both boys hold answers to her past, and possibly the key to her future. Can Lora harness her gifts and who she really is, or will she deny her destiny?

The Sweetest Dark is a story best suited to young and new adults. Lora is a solid character, with serious but well deserved trust issues and a desire to simply fly under the radar. However, this is something she just cannot seem to do. Her being the newest charity student at a school filled with wealthy girls makes her stand out enough, but when she catches the attention of Jesse, Armand, and the duke she stands out even more. The love triangle might be a little overdone, but I think it was handle well here, since it never felt like Lora was torn between the boys, rather that the boys were doing all the worrying. All three of the teens have secrets, but Jesse seems to know more about Lora and her secrets than she does, and works to help her come to control everything that comes with her true identity. I was less than thrilled with the ending, but have high hopes that the sequel, The Deepest Night, which is scheduled for release on August 13 2013, will resolve some of my unhappiness.
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