Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,111 Ratings  ·  500 Reviews
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.

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-ye
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Bantam (first published August 21st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sweetest Dark, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Rachel Rae I read this one recently, having never heard to Shana Abe's other series, and I understood it! I really enjoyed this one! But other than that, I'm not…moreI read this one recently, having never heard to Shana Abe's other series, and I understood it! I really enjoyed this one! But other than that, I'm not sure about the series.(less)
The Selection by Kiera CassClockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareEntwined by Heather DixonEverneath by Brodi AshtonFallen by Lauren Kate
Best Girl in a Dress Cover of 2012
98th out of 434 books — 1,721 voters
Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee JonesThe 5th Wave by Rick YanceyReal by Katy EvansBranded by Abi KetnerThe Law of Attraction by N.M. Silber
New Series (2013)
84th out of 980 books — 2,554 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mimi Valentine
Jul 10, 2012 Mimi Valentine rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mimi by: Candace
In my thesaurus for this book, The Sweetest Dark is synonymous to beautiful. Ordinary is not-a-fat-chance. And Shana Abe is something of a genius for creating a story so lush, so beautiful, and so different from your classic paranormal book! I just HAVE to break it down! :')

The world: Taking place in England during World War I, The Sweetest Dark is also set in the world of Shana Abe's adult Drakon series. Even though it may not be a big secret, I don't want to give away the type of creature tha
A.G. Howard
Mar 22, 2016 A.G. Howard rated it it was amazing
I have drooled over Abe's prose for several years now. I've read a few of her adult romance novels, and my favorites are her Drakon Series themed books (The Smoke Thief & The Dream Thief). She stayed true to her signature lush, descriptive storytelling and knack for romantic tension and subtle fantastical elements in this tale for YA readers. Also, the time period details in this one were fascinating woven in with the drakon lore. The ending did break my heart a little, but that always earns ...more
Khanh (the Grinch)
Jan 02, 2013 Khanh (the Grinch) rated it did not like it
Holy crap this was a confusing book. From the blurb, I expected something much different. I am a sucker for boarding school settings, and early 20th century England? I'm there. The boarding school and the snobbery has been done before, and better; what I didn't like was the mythology that the author was trying to build. Dragons? Stars? Seriously, someone is an actual star as in twinkling in the sky, shining and all. Did I accidentally walk into an AU fanfiction of Sailor Moon?

Evil rich girls? Ch
Whitley Birks
Aug 26, 2013 Whitley Birks rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
When I first started this book, I went in knowing that many of my friends had given it one star. I was confused. Sure, it was clichéd and slow-moving, but it was still a pretty fun read, certainly nothing worthy of such abysmal ratings. I enjoyed the setting and the atmosphere, probably because boarding school stories always have a special place in my heart. Armand intrigued me, even if Jesse and Lora didn’t, but that’s par for the course with me.

And then, somewhere around the middle of the boo
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
This book is my most surprising find of 2013 thus far.

I had barely remembered requesting this book to review when it came time to read it. I honestly didn't know what to expect. I didn't read the blub again before starting it because the descriptions often give too much away, in my opinion. In truth, I was preparing myself for tedious young adult drivel; misunderstandings, nonsense, lip-biting, smirking... you know, the usual garbage. To say that this shocked the hell out of me is an understatem
Breathtakingly beautiful.
“Those nights, in the sweetest dark, we shared our dreams.”

I’ve always been fascinated by dragons. The dragon is one of the most fearsome yet regal of all the fantasy creatures. To me, dragons evoke strength, power, and wealth. There’s a lot to be said for a dragon’s ability to find and hoard shiny – read valuable – objects. The idea of a race of dragon shifters called The Drakon living amongst humans has always intrigued me. Shana Abe’s Drakon series is one of my favori
Bekah AwesomeBookNut
Jul 03, 2015 Bekah AwesomeBookNut rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-addiction
completely enjoyed this book!

For my full review check it out here:
Feb 18, 2014 Hilda rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, tears, magic, arc
With every fiber of my being, I love The Sweetest Dark. It was beautiful, magical, dark, and absolutely sweet!

Now, where should I begin? The Sweetest Dark completely took me by surprise with its gorgeous prose. The moment I finished this book, I just went into total lockdown. I don’t want to ever leave this beautiful, shady world of The Sweetest Dark.

The first adjective that came into my mind when I described it is… beautiful. The Sweetest Dark is beautiful in such ethereal way. The writing is f
Jun 14, 2012 Candace rated it it was amazing
Sometimes there are those books that hit you so hard, so powerfully, that you know that there are no words to describe it, there's no way to get your point across how amazing the book is. The Sweetest Dark was like that for me. This was so much perfection within it's pages that I nearly cried at the beauty. And trust me, I had tears in my eyes a few times, but that was mostly because of what's going on in the story.

First of all, Lora is everything I could ever want in a character and more. She'
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

This book sounded so completely awesome, right up my alley. Historical fiction and paranormal? Sign me up. Well, I did sign me up and I read it and here we are with me trying to put a handle on just how I feel about The Sweetest Dark. It definitely falls into the category of really weird books. Parts I really enjoyed, and parts I loathed, while others I just didn't care about. Ultimately, I feel like Abé tried to do to many things, and the book came out
Karina Halle
May 15, 2012 Karina Halle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a curious, compelling little book...

The Sweetest Dark tells the story of Eleanore “Lora” Jones, an orphan in 1915 London where the WW1 is ripping the country apart. Poor lonely Lora, who hears voices and songs from metals and gemstones, is subjected to daily shock therapy at her Blisshaven orphanage until bombs tear it apart and she is shipped off to a wealthy boarding school called Iverson.

This is where the comparisons to Jane Eyre (my favorite book) come in. Lora reminded me so much of my
Shambhawi P.
Why does this book have a sequel? The ending was perfect - heartbreaking but perfect.

You know - one of those moments when reading a book you have guessed what is to happen and yet while you keep dreading that and your heart breaks and scatters all over the place, you cannot wish for anything else to happen because a happier ending might not always be the better one?

I am crying as I write this review - because this book tells the story of the kind of love people dream about. I did not expect myse
Snuggles with Rainbows
I’m going to make this review as short and painless as possible. I don’t want to be here writing or dwelling on my feelings, and I’m sure you have more important things to tend to too. So why did I hate it this much? Here is a very short list:

1. The Hodge Podge Story Telling

From the start of the book, the story is all over the place. It was very difficult to follow along…at times I was super confused.

2. Are you trying to be Charles Dickens?

With the orphans, the mean care takers of the orphans,
Apr 17, 2013 Liviania rated it it was amazing
I bought THE SMOKE THIEF a few years ago for about a dollar based on a vague recollection of someone complimenting Shana Abé's style. It just rocketed up my to read list because her young adult debut THE SWEETEST DARK blew me away. (I just have to find it, first.)

First of, Abé's style does deserve being complimented on its own. She has a smooth, almost poetic, way of writing that draws you into the magical atmosphere of her drákon-inhabited England. The majority of THE SWEETEST DARK's action tak
Jun 16, 2013 Anastasia rated it really liked it
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads and an e-book copy from NetGalley!

The Sweetest Dark is a new kind of book for me, so to say. I just starting to read historical fantasies, and so far I liked them. I liked The Sweetest Dark, but I didn't love it. I really loved the plot, but it was kind of predictable to me (maybe I'm just good at guessing what is going to happen, because a lot of people didn't, so it might not be as predictable to you as it was to me). I did though tho
Dark Faerie Tales
Apr 22, 2013 Dark Faerie Tales rated it it was amazing
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: Nothing is fair for Lora Jones, not in war or life and especially not in love.

Opening Sentence: Are your eyes truly open?

The Review:

This was a beautiful and amazing story. The details are just breathtaking. A simple night sky in Abe’s universe becomes a picturesque expanse of never ending amethyst! I’ve never been so moved by the mere description of sights or people. Seeing through Lora’s eyes makes my own vision seem weak and wrong now. I
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe is a unique story that focuses on a strange girl, Eleanore, and her journey from being a troubled orphan to her quick rise in status to becoming a student at a distinguished prep school. She meets a host of interesting characters including the sexy Jesse, who works as a stable boy, Armand, a handsome aristocrat, and Sophia, a spoiled mean girl, who turns out to be more three dimensional than we think.
Jennifer Rinehart
Jun 16, 2012 Jennifer Rinehart rated it it was ok
Wow, it's taken me a long time to finish this book. As far as books about loony girls go, I'd say it's five out of five for believable character, but one out of five for the story.

The story just dragged and dragged and I really never warmed up to any of the side characters, which is too bad because I was hoping they'd win me over after the first five chapters.

First off is the heroine, she's been raised in a London orphanage but was sent to a mental hospital on account of her jumping out of windo
Mar 12, 2013 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: original
The best part of this book is that it's completely unusual and different from any other book I have previously read.
This made it stand out and very refreshing to read.

However it was a little predictable. Up until the end nothing was grabbing my attention and made me sit up straight and look closer and say 'ooh this is so good'.

Near the end however the pace did pick up and it did get a little more exciting which is how it made its way into my good books again.

The characters weren't too shabby
Apr 16, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley.)
Sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is an orphan. An orphan who doesn’t even remember her parents, and can hear melodies no-one else can hear.
Having spent time in a mental institution after leaping from her top floor window thinking that she could fly, Lora finds herself sent to school for girls called Iverson, where she is looked down upon by the rich students, who
Shera (Book Whispers)
****Review copy received through Netgalley for an honest review.****

After the last page turned I could hear a haunting melody still weaving its way through my mind. To this day I can say only two other books have ever done that to me. I admit that The Sweetest Dark didn't have the intensity of those two titles, the point is that this book did sing.

Abe is an author I've heard many wonderful things about, yet I've been putting off for fear of being let down. Yeah, I do that a lot. The writing sty
Debbie I Heart YA Books
Jun 14, 2012 Debbie I Heart YA Books rated it it was amazing
The Sweetest Dark is true to its title. From the moment I began reading this novel, it became one of my sweetest, dark reads, and I could not put it down. Shana Abe stole my heart with this storyline and the dark characters, and I hope there's going to be a second book as there was an opening left for a sequel, though The Sweetest Dark could be a standalone as well. This is my first time reading one of Shana Abe's novel, but it's definitely not my last. Abe is an awesome writer and her character ...more
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
*Genre* Paranormal, Historical Romance
*Rating* 4.0


“Those nights, in the sweetest dark, we shared our dreams. That’s your answer. I was stitched into yours, and you were stitched into mine, and that was real, I promise you.” - Jesse from the ARC of “The Sweetest Dark” by Shana Abe.

Let me start out by saying that Shana Abe writes absolutely brilliantly! I haven't read any of her other works before finding this title on NetGalley, but, I shall have to remedy that situation soon. Abe puts to
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
I love Shana Abe's Drakon books and this one is no exception. I love the world, but this was bittersweet being much later than the others and the amazing world the Drakon had built is gone. It begins much as many YA books with a young girl who is "different" and is growing up in an orphanage without knowledge of her parents or where she came from. But from the time she is chosen to attend an exclusive boarding school as a charity case, the unique story really begins. In 1915 she goes to the sout ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
If you are looking for a non-stop action packed adventure this book isn’t for you.

If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. It was beautifully written and created. Highly complex, vividly descriptive, passionately conceived and emotionally gripping, Shana Abe’ plunges you into this fascinating world centered on England during the World War era.

The Sweetest Dark sucks us into a world where “dragons” and magic can exist, classes collide and finding ones true heart mi
Oct 02, 2015 Jo-Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I totally loved this book from the beginning to end. I loved the idea of this little orphan girl, Eleanore, who can hear songs coming from metal and jewels, and who has a voice inside of her that guides her to do things that normal people may not agree with. She has no understanding why she is the only one who can hear these things, however, and ends up in a bad place that does horrible treatments on her for the sake of making her "better." Luckily, she does not lose her gifts, but does learn to ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

Review posted at Books to Brighten your Mood

The Sweetest Dark was a surprise for me. And a pleasant one at that! As soon as I started reading it, I couldn't put it down and I kept making mental notes of all the things I liked about it.

And what I liked the most was hands down the setting and the writing style. Abe writes in such a lyrical and magical way that I kept turning my pages wanting to know what happens next. The way she describes Lora's life at the orphanage, at the clinic and
Emily (Falling for YA)
I must admit that from the first time I saw this cover I was in love. I know you’re thinking another girl in a pretty dress? Really Emily that’s all it takes to make you want a book? Yes! That is all it takes! Give me a pretty dress, smoke, and an awesome title and suddenly I have to have it. Luckily The Sweetest Dark was more then just a pretty cover it was also an amazing story.

The Sweetest Dark follows Eleanor “Lora” Jones as she is shipped from the orphanage she grew up in to a Girls Boardin
Oct 20, 2014 Elishia rated it really liked it
Rating 3.5

ARC provided by Netgalley - Random House

I'm not sure what I was expecting when starting this book as the cover was my main attraction . But it was very different to anything i've read before, its set in a historical setting which starts off in london ( I enjoyed that part as its where I live)then moved to a more rural setting. You don't realise there's anything paranormal going on for a while and even then I was trying to figure out exactly what was going on with Lora, the answer was v
This review was first posted on my blog Please check it out if you'd like to see some of my other reviews :)

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group for providing a free copy to me in exchange for an honest review*

Brief summary
Lora grew up in an orphanage hearing songs nobody else could here and listening to a voice in her head. In 1915, at the age of 16, she's selected to be a charity student at Iverson board
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Girls & Monsters
  • Taking Back Forever (The Kindrily, #2)
  • A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1)
  • Pretty Dark Nothing (Pretty Dark Nothing, #1)
  • Gift
  • A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy, #1)
  • Lightning Rider (Alterations, #1)
  • The Flame in the Mist
  • Ripper (Ripper, #1)
  • The Water Witch (Fairwick Chronicles, #2)
  • Prophecy Girl (Angel Academy, #1)
  • Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy, #1)
  • Taste
  • Souls of the Stones Omnibus (Souls of the Stones, #1, 2, 3)
  • A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)
  • The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed, #1)
  • Blood Flows Deep in the Empire (The Szolites, #1)
  • Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Shana Abé was born in Texas. She spent much of her childhood living in Colorado, with a brief stint in Mexico as a foreign exchange student, and, at age seventeen, lived in Japan as a model. Throughout her childhood, Abé wrote, completing what she calls "The Silliest Romance Novel Ever" during her free time during modeling shoots. Her writing focused on romance, as those were the types of books th ...more
More about Shana Abe...

Other Books in the Series

The Sweetest Dark (3 books)
  • The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2)
  • Untitled (The Sweetest Dark #3)

Share This Book

“So now you know the beginning of her story, and the ending of mine. The end of my mortal time with her, at least.
But I’m not really gone. I’ll never really leave her. How could I? She had been carved from the mud of the world just for me. I had fallen from the stars for her.
I told you before: Once a drakon holds your eyes and touches your flesh, you belong to them. And, believe me, when that happens, you’re glad for it. You lay your heart at their feet and hope for their favor, knowing its true worth.
Our time together had been so short. Every turn of the planet, every hour and minute and second, I had loved her and celebrated her. And I considered myself blessed, even unto death, to have known her smile. The rapture of Eleanore.
Blessed to offer myself up for her.
Lora-of-the-moon. She’ll fly my way again. I know it.
I dwell high above her now, back with my first family. The path of my dragon’s earthly life shines before me like a skein of glittering crimson thread. It crisscrosses the mortal plane, tracing its way from the Atlantic, where she took her first breath, east to Europe, where she will take her last. Armand’s thread glitters, too, plaited through hers.
The war will entangle them even more. The war will do its best to snip both threads short.
It is a thing of gore and violence. War cannot abide magic of any sort, much less a magic as brilliant as theirs.
I’ll be the star above them both, watching. Singing.
I’d waited for her nearly all my life. I can wait a while longer, until she turns her ear up to the night skies, ready to hear my ballad once more.”
“You do speak." It came out as an accusation.
"When there's someone around worth speaking to.”
More quotes…