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 ·  2,652 ratings  ·  549 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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,652 ratings  ·  549 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1)
Mimi Valentine
Jun 14, 2012 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
Aug 21, 2012 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 an ...more
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
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
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
Whitley Birks
Aug 11, 2013 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
May 23, 2012 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'
Amber J
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 13 and up. Lovers of romance, fantasy, historical fiction, historic london, and dragons.

“You’re not human, Eleanore Jones. I think that somewhere inside you, you must know that. You must always have known. You’re not made of ordinary bone or blood but of something else completely.”― Shana Abe

As always my reviews are based off of my true and honest opinion and I do my best to keep all reviews spoiler free.


16 year old orphan, Lora Jones is accepted into an elite boarding school called Iverson. Here she meets Jesse, and the attraction is almost immediate. She soon lea

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
May 17, 2012 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
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-addiction
completely enjoyed this book!

For my full review check it out here:
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 11, 2012 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
Jun 25, 2012 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
Sarah Elizabeth
Mar 04, 2013 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
Mar 20, 2013 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
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,
Dark Faerie Tales
Apr 22, 2013 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 hone
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
May 14, 2012 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
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
*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
Jennifer Rinehart
Jun 16, 2012 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
Emily Donnellan
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
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
Feb 16, 2013 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
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.
Jan 07, 2013 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
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Shana Abe's Drakon series. If you haven't read those books, I recommend you read them.first. This book is the first in a YA trilogy telling of the descendants of the characters from the Drakon books. So, you can read this trilogy on it's own and enjoy it, but reading them after the Drakon series just makes for a fuller experience.

I enjoyed this. I liked watching Lora learn to use her abilities. I'm curious to read more and see how Armand comes into his. I appreciated the epilog
Selenity Jade (Coffee Addicts Book Reviews)
I started reading about the Drakon with the Smoke Thief, which I admit is my favorite by Shana Abe by far. However, despite the young adult theme, I found myself deeply involved in the story. It was slow at times, but that's characteristic of this author to deal more with emotional and subtle shifts between the characters. The ending, like a lot of young adult novels for some reason, is, of course, devastating, but I know there are two more novels to go, so I'm going to continue. Poor Jesse. ...more
I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not fall for pretty covers. I will not—

You probably get the point. What caught my eye for The Sweetest Dark was obviously its cover, and then the mention of Libba Bray, whose book The Diviners I absolutely adored. In a sense, I guess both this book
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Valiant (The Valiant, #1)
  • The Goddess Inheritance  (Goddess Test, #3)
  • The Echo of Broken Dreams (After The Rift #2)
  • Immortal Guardians (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts, #1)
  • Across a Broken Shore
  • Rebel Spy
  • A Ring of Truth (Henrietta and Inspector Howard, #2)
  • Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances
  • Wolf Roulette (Werewolf Dens, #3)
  • Black Heart (Curse Workers, #3)
  • Eden (Angelview Academy #3)
  • The Tethering (The Tethering, #1)
  • Crown of Danger (The Hidden Mage, #2)
  • Black Magic Woman (Quincey Morris, #1)
  • Evil Ways (Quincey Morris, #2)
  • Roommaid
  • Age of Deception (The Firebird Chronicles, #2)
  • Ghost of the Shadowfort: The Bladeborn Saga, Book Two
See similar books…
Shana Abé is the award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of seventeen books, including the acclaimed Drákon Series and the Sweetest Dark Series.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California, and currently resides in the mountains of Colorado with her very patient husband and a lot of pets.

Other books in the series

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

News & Interviews

Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
37 likes · 18 comments
“You do speak." It came out as an accusation.
"When there's someone around worth speaking to.”
“You’d better marry her before she reaches eighteen and the spell wears off,” I said.
“Yes. The one that’s hiding her fangs and pincers from plain sight.”
“I don’t find them especially hidden,” he said mildly.
“Then perhaps you’re a pair.”
His brows lifted. “Now, that’s the cruelest thing you’ve said so far.”
Mrs. Fredericks cleared off, and Chloe took her place before the piano. A beam of sunlight was just beginning its slide into the chamber, capturing her in light. She was a glowing girl with a glowing face, and Joplin at her fingertips.
“Give me time,” I muttered, dropping my gaze to my plate. “I’ll come up with something worse.”
“No doubt.” Armand pulled a flask from his jacket and shook it in front of my nose. “Whiskey. Conveniently the same color as tea. Are you game, waif?” I glanced around, but no one was looking. I lifted my cup, drained it to the dregs, and set it before him.
He was right. It did look like tea. But it tasted like vile burning fire, all the way down my throat.
Sip it,” he hissed, as I began to cough. His voice lifted over my sputtering. “Dear me, Miss Jones, I do beg your pardon. The tea’s rather hot; I should have mentioned it.”
“Quite all right,” I gasped, as the whiskey swirled an evil amber in my teacup.
Chloe’s song grew bouncier, with lyrics about a girl with strawberries in a wagon. Several of the men had begun to cluster near, drawn to her soprano or perchance her bosom. Two were vying to turn the pages of her music. She had to crane her head to keep Armand in view.
He sent her another smile from his chair, lifting his cup in salute.
“I’m going to kiss you, Eleanore,” he said quietly, still looking at her. “Not now. Later.” His eyes cut back to mine. “I thought it fair to tell you first.”
I stilled. “If you think you can do so without me biting your lip, feel free to try.”
His gaze shone wicked blue. “I don’t mind if you bite.”
“Biting your lip off, I should have said.”
“Ah. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?”
More quotes…