Eleanore Jones was left in a foundling home in London
prior to the First World War. When she started hearing
voices and claiming that gemstones were singing, she was
consigned to an institution for mental disorders. The onset
of the war sees her sent to a coastal village school, where
for the first time she discovers why she is different and
what the voices she has learnt to ignore actually mean.
For Elanore is of a line of dragons, called Drakon, and the
few that are left recognise one another....
THE SWEETEST DARK tells how Lora, now a charity student at
a school for upper-crust young ladies, with bombed London
behind her, takes time to settle. Jesse, a young coachman,
knows why his touch resonates with Lora, why she finds him
fascinating, but the school edicts forbid them to meet.
This school is located in a castle on an island, and Lora's
tower room is the first taste of privacy she's had. The
other girls disdain her, the lessons are difficult, but a
piano suddenly brings out music that Lora has never been
taught to play, and she gets noticed by Lord Armand, a
young man whose family is paying her scholarship.
I observed similarities with Dragonsinger by Anne
McCaffrey, another young adult tale about music and dragons
and boarding school. Shana Abe however has given us a
girl who literally is a dragon, hidden inside her like
Ursula LeGuin's Tehanu and ready to fly only when she
matures. Even without the dragon aspect the quality of
writing and settings would have kept me reading. I did
think that the wealthy girls must have been very insecure
to persecute Lora, when their breeding and training would
have led them to talk around her or make allowances rather
than scorn her viciously. But it has to be said that she
did not help herself by insulting them as soon as she met
them for breakfast.
The echoes of zeppelin-dropped bombs drifting up the
Channel and older brothers having signed up are a constant
background reminder of the times, but life at school is
quiet. When the action finally gets going the sequence
where Lora, unskilled at her new abilities, tries to
counter two zeppelins while changing from girl to smoke to
dragon without any control or constancy, is well worth the
wait. Young adult girls will love THE SWEETEST DARK and
there is a follow-up, The Deepest Night.
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 Englandâ€™s southern coast. Iversonâ€™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
Jesse is the schoolâ€™s
groundskeeperâ€”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 sheâ€™s only just begun to understand, or else lose
everything she dearly loves.
Filled with lush
atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The
Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era
while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.