Author: Shana Abe
Series: The Sweetest Dark
Release date: April 2, 2013
Published by: Bantam/RandomHouse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What can I say about The Sweetest Dark and its main characters Eleanor, Jesse, and Armand (Mandy)? Well, they are magic! Eleanor starts the story by telling us that she is not quite human.
She has grown up in an orphanage in London and was even placed in a mental institution for a while because she claimed to hear things that others could not. At the age of 16 and at the start of WWI, Eleanor’s orphanage is bombed, and she is sent to school at The Iverson School for Girls as a charity student.
As you might imagine, Eleanor does not quite fit in with all the rich, snobby girls, but she does befriend the grounds keeper, Jesse. Jesse has a secret; he is the one who has called Eleanor to this place at this time. And Eleanor’s life becomes more complicated as the Duke’s son Armand seems drawn to her for some reason...which gives the rich girls even more reason to dislike her.
Overall, this was a strangely slow but fast read. Here’s what I mean: It was fascinating watching Eleanor begin to believe in herself and Turn to smoke and then a dragon. It was also beautiful to watch Jesse and Eleanor fall in love, and it was made even richer because of the setting backdrop of England at the start of WWI. The slow part came in the pacing of the story, but I wasn't annoyed or disappointed, rather I felt the pacing matched the discoveries that Eleanor makes about her true path, her past, and her future.
There is magic, mystery, history, romantic tension, and some action mixed together in this unique dragon tale. I won’t tell you what it is, but there is a heart-pounding ending to this first tale; it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks and make you desperate for the next story. I am so excited that I have access to the next book through Netgalley because that is what I am reading next!