Book Review : The Sweetest Dark By Shana Abe

April 3, 2013 Book review 8 ★★★

Book Title :                   The Sweetest Dark
Author :                          Shana Abe
My Goodreads Rating:   3 stars

A 16 year old girl in post-Victorian England plucked from obscurity in her orphanage to attend an exclusive boarding school in a creepy, gothic castle. A secret about a mythical creatures.  World War 1.  A beautiful cover.  This book ticked all my boxes but for me it didn’t follow through as I expected.

Now as you can see I gave it 3 stars, so that means I liked it but I didn’t love it. I could have loved it. If the plot moved faster, if we had less descriptions, if we had more dialogue. These were where the book lost marks from me.

“He used to be so good at lying.  At guile.  At deflection.  It occurred to Armand in that unlit, desolate hallway, holding that key, that he hadn’t felt like himself in a long time. If he truly considered it, he seemed a more circus-mirror likeness of who he used to be, all wavy and wrong, stretched in impossible directions.”

I had no sense of urgency to keep reading and that always means to me that the book isn’t hitting its mark. The last 20% of the book was more enjoyable, lots was happening and I finally felt we were getting somewhere. And even though there were far too many descriptions, the words were beautiful, I have to state that. Some I needed to read a few times just to appreciate how well they flowed together.  Just too much telling and not enough showing.

I liked it enough to add the next book to my to-be-read list so it wasn’t awful, it just could have been so much more.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Bookish Chat :  Have you ever read books that conflicted you?  I wanted to appreciate this book more, the writing is beautiful but if the plot isn’t moving along, it all becomes a little boring.  What do you think?


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8 Responses to “Book Review : The Sweetest Dark By Shana Abe”

  1. Kelley

    Great review. I know how you feel! Sometimes you just want things to move along, but you’re stuck reading long descriptions that don’t always feel necessary. I think those are times when I’m tempted to skim or skip ahead. At least you liked it enough to want to read the next book!

    • Trish Hannon

      Thanks Kelly, this one frustrated me as the idea was good. And the words were beautifully written so I felt like a pleb not appreciating them. But too much. Still intrigued enough to want to see what happens next though.

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    Wonderful review Trish, and I know what you mean when you get that rush feel, I am glad the last 20% was engaging and that you liked it enough to try the next one.

  3. astichoquette

    I can definitely relate. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a writing is sometimes, if nothing is going on. There needs to be a balance. Otherwise, I find my mind wandering or putting the book down to do other things and that’s never good! I’m glad to hear that it picked up near the end though. Hopefully the next one will pick up where the action left off and keep you engaged!

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