Monday, April 08, 2013

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe



Shana Abe is one of my favorite authors. I stumbled upon her fantasy novels years ago, but the ones I find myself re-reading over and over are ther Drakon stories that started with The Smoke Thief.  So when I was checking Netgalley for new books to review, and I found that Shana had a new Young Adult series that continues the Drakon lore - well, I think I might have squealed loud enough for the neighbors to hear me. Finally! The legends continue!

If you aren't familiar with the Drakon, then you should be. They're an ancient Magical race of Dragons that can take Human form. Originally, many, many centuries ago they ruled. They have magical powers. They can shift from human form to what appears to be smoke and then into beautiful flying dragon. Each has their own special talents, but they all can hear the music in the living rocks, stones and jewels around them. Over the centuries, however, things changed. The humans gained power, the Drakon were hunted viciously, and learned to go into hiding. The Legends are compelling.

With this new series, it's many years later and the Drakon are nearly gone. Lora Jones is an orphan that doesn't understand why she is different, only that it has caused her a lot of pain and humiliation. She's never heard of the Drakon. Fate is about to change that by sending her to Iverson, an elite school for girls in the country outside London. War is rampant and while the world is falling apart around them, Lora is finding her own life is changing faster than she can imagine. She has two  boys that are drawn to her and her new found Dragon self. She's in love with one, but her destiny seems somehow tied to the other. Before it's over Lora is going to find her true self, true love, and her destiny.

It's fantastically written, the love story is emotionally captivating and Shana has a way with words that is a magic all its own. Sometimes just reading a description or a turn of phrase is enough to capture your heart and make you wish you could express yourself that beautifully. It's also full of action and suspense as the Germans don't stay in London but do come for Iverson and they must find a way to save the school and surrounding community.

I flew threw the pages and into the sequel with hardly a chance to pause and loved every minute. Definitely going on my favorites to re-read shelf.

NOTE: Since I usually review Christian Market Fiction, I do want to make sure my readers are aware of a couple of things that they may want to consider when deciding on an appropriate age for reading. When Lora shifts into smoke or Dragon form, her clothes are left behind and when she shifts back she's nude. There is several scenes in the book that deal with this in some way, however it is done tastefully in my opinion. Nothing graphic or obscene. Nor is it dwelled on in detail. It is discussed briefly in the matter of how it brings up feelings and emotions of different kinds in both Lora and the boys she reappears in front of. There are also a few dreams that are more mature in nature. This is ABA market fantasy, not CBA, and remember this is a YA novel, so the age range is definitely for older teenagers and up.


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.

England, 1915: Lora Jones has always known she was 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 of her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
Far more powerful. Far more dangerous.
Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. But much to her surprise, she’s 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.
There’s Jesse, the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful, silent boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Then there is Armand, 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 a looming danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.



Shana Abé is the author of Queen of Dragons, The Dream Thief, and The Smoke Thief. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Follow Shana Abe on Facebook and Twitter

Be sure to visit her official webpage as well and enter to win Lora's gold cuff bracelet and an autographed copy of the book. Click HERE.


Best LHI One Way Links site info said...

The Sweetest Dark was a stunning and magical story. I couldn't put it down. If I expected a run of the mill paranormal YA, I was definitely mistaken, much to my delight. The premise was unique; it was literally something I've never come across in the paranormal genre and it was well executed. I had no idea what to expect around each corner. The writing was beyond excellent and it had a poetic quality to it that I really enjoyed.

April Erwin said...

Agreed! So glad you enjoyed The Sweetest Dark, be sure you check out the sequel. :)