a jane of all reads

“I am both less than you and more, ” he said. “An alchemist, an amalgamation of two opposite realms. I’m the fabric of the stars.”

Shana Abé writes beautiful romances and her dragons have been the awe inspiring stuff of dreams. I fell in love with her hauntingly romantic Drakon series and was excited to hear that she was going to dabble in the paranormal world of YA and bring her dragons to a younger audience. However, where her traditional fantasy romances showcase the vivid, rich world of her dragons, her usually beautiful prose was buried beneath so many YA cliches that it may as well not have been about the Drakon at all.

The story is set in a boarding school and while I’m usually a fan of the YA boarding school novel, this one left nothing to the imagination. You could see it all coming from the start- overly stern headmistress, secret places in the school, and oh yes…mean girls. It’s such a shame really, this mediocre storyline written in such beautiful, majestic language. The words deserved a much better story.

I wasn’t at all a fan of the constant, mid-chapter point of view changes. Eleanore barely had enough presence and voice to carry her own story, and the supporting characters that were frequently thrown in to narrate had far less. We have an unmoving case of insta-love with an almost as instant love triangle. Our hero had only just been introduced when a second contender was thrown into the ring. There was a desperate push to have as much tension and fervor between our lovers as their short courtship could hold and the haste really dampened the romance (some things should be taken slow).

Final Thoughts:
So I’m a little disappointed. True to Abé form, there were some absolutely beautiful passages and descriptions, several that I’ve marked to revisit in the future, but the overall effect wasn’t at all what I had hoped for. Fans of the Drakon will want to read this one, if for no other reason than to keep up with the lore of her world but as an addition to the series, a YA one at that, it pales in comparison to her other books.

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3 Responses to “The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abé”

  1. Candace says:

    I hadn’t read the author before this book but I didn’t have a clue what to expect and I absolutely LOVED it! I fell in love with her gorgeous writing. Since it was a little disappointing to you then I’m even more anxious to pick up one of her adult books. I believe I have got some already so hopefully I can find out how I like them soon. I’m sorry you were a bit disappointed in this one though.

  2. Sandy says:

    I didn’t even think this was a YA until you said so! the cover’s beautiful but it has an adult vibe to it. Or maybe it’s just me.

    I guess I’ll give this one a pass but now I’m curious to read her other books :D

  3. Seeing that one of the other commenters hadn’t read Abe before and liked The Sweetest Dark makes me excited for it. I am sorry it didn’t work for you. But on the upside, after your mention of DRAGONS and ADULT ROMANCE (sweet magical words to my ears) I’m totally going to give her adult romances a go.

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