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.

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe ( Review )

Series: The Sweetest Dark #1
by Shana Abe
Published by Bantam on April 2nd 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Genre: Unusual novel
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads

Abailabe at Amazon

Laura Jones has always known that she is different. On the outside, she appeared as an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Laura maintains a heartfelt privacy: she listens to songs that no one else can hear, dreams of smoke and flight, and lives inside her in a mysterious voice that emphasizes what she thinks is more than she’s.

England, 1915. Growing up in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Laura quickly learned to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, to his surprise, he was selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on the south coast of England. Everson’s supernatural, Gothic castle is something that Laura has never seen. And the two boys she will meet there will open her eyes and change her destiny forever.

Jesse is the school’s groundskipper boy, a handsome boy who knows Lora who she is and what she really is. Armand is a dark handsome and arrogant elite who hides some of his own closely guarded secrets.

Both hold the answer to his past. One is the key to his future. And both will aim to win his heart. As the danger descends on Iverson, Laura must be able to harness the powers she has just begun to realize, or else she may lose everything to her beloved.

Filled with joyful atmosphere, thrilling romance and ancient magic, The Sweet Dark captures a rich historical historical epoch with brilliance and reveals an enchanted love story that denies time.

The story follows the life of “Laura” John, an orphan from London in 1909. Although the story took place in the past, the author gives the characters and events a modern feel. So much so, that I often forgot that it was set in 1909 until it was mentioned. Personally I like this aspect of the book because I am not too much of a fictionalist.


From the very beginning you feel for Laura. He has no recollection of the past and has been seen wandering the streets alone without the ability to speak. When no one claims him, he is sent to the Moore Gate Orphanage. Here, he finally regained his speaking ability and learned to live in a society. Everything is going well until he starts listening to other people.

Song. It is everywhere and has a voice, a kind of inner monotony that he cannot control and has a discreetly curved personality in it. Laura is forced to undergo a “proper prescription” instead of something to try to free her from her misery. It is one of those parts of the book that reminds us perfectly that it is still 1909. Yikes.

The author has an amazing ability to draw scenes, his words have a lyrical quality that made me admire. One of my favorite passages was shortly after Laura Moore left the Gates Orphanage to start anew at the Iverson School for Girls in Idling:

“Victoria station was cavernous, a fairy-work construction of wrought iron and steel and great canopies of glass, with locomotives that heaved and puffed into their slots by the platforms like groaning overstuffed beasts.”

I could clearly see the train station as I stood there with Laura, smelling the air and feeling the sticky heat as the steam rolled.

Arriving at Idling, Laura meets Armand – the son of the Duke of Idling and enjoys the privilege. Another reason after that is that the next person Laura meets is Jesse. * Swan * I love Jesse! She’s been cautious beyond her years and so gentle with Laura as she moves on to rediscovery.

Jesse is actually the person who helps Laura discover why she listens to songs that no one else hears and where that voice is coming from. He is a dragon – a person with special ability to turn desire into a targon. Of course, it takes practice and patience to control it with a truly miraculous ability. Everyone is happy to help Jesse Laura turn the practice around, especially when she returns as a girl without leaving her previous outfit intact. 🙂

For those who don’t follow Shana Abe’s composition, Drake has a full adult series that you can watch here. This book brings Dracon’s world into the young adult genre in a way that is both effortless and exciting. Since I love all the things young adults do, I’m glad to see this great writer bring out his potential.

Main character:

Eleanor “Laura” Jones – about 16 years old. He is an orphan who is unable to speak. Her journey of self-discovery has turned her from a brave, frightened girl to a flood-like deadly and protective dragon who is willing to fight to the death to protect her loved ones.

Jesse Holmes – Rented hand at Iverson School for Girls. Jesse has been in love with Laura all his life. She helps him find his new-found abilities and share some of his own.

Armand – son of the Duke of Idling. He is descended from power and raised to work with authority even though he is hiding the fact that his mother had thrown herself into confusion – which he struggled with himself.

About Shana Abe:

Shana Aber was born in Texas. She spent most of her childhood in Colorado, gave a short speech in Mexico as a foreign exchange student, and at the age of seventeen she lived in Japan as a model.

Abby wrote throughout her childhood, completing what she called “The Celestial Romance Novel Ever” during her leisure time shooting for modeling. His writings focused on romance, as it was the kind of book he loved to read the most. He later attended college in Los Angeles and graduated with a degree in drama.


Many of Aber’s novels are set in the medieval period. Ab chose his period because of his “great sense of duality.” It inspires the thought of majesty, courtesy, and the thrilling knight – but at the same time there is a deadly, raw aspect to this period that simply cannot be denied.

Abe has accepted the Romantic Times Career Skill Award and has been nominated six times for the Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Award, winning twice.
Connect with Shana Abe on her WEBSITE.