Thursday, August 1, 2013

[Review: The Deepest Night by Shana Abe]

"The Deepest Night"
Author: Shana Abe
Series: The Sweetest Dark #2
Pages: 320
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Date Published: August 13th, 2013
Publisher: Bantam
Format Read: eARC provided by the publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


A rich portrait of post-Victorian England, The Deepest Night seamlessly blends thrilling romance with riveting history and adventure—perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Lauren Kate.

It’s 1915, and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is finishing up her first year as a charity student at Iverson, a prestigious, gothic boarding school on England’s southern coast. While she’s always felt different from everyone around her, now she finally knows why: She is a drákon, a rare, enchanted being with astonishing magical abilities.

As war hits Britain’s shores, and Lora reels from an unimaginable loss, she finds that her powers come with grave and dangerous responsibilities. At the request of Armand Louis, the darkly mysterious boy whose father owns Iverson, Lora will spend her summer at his lavish estate. To help the war effort—and to keep Lora by his side—Armand turns his home into a military hospital, where Lora will serve as a nurse. For Armand is inescapably drawn to her—bound to her by heart-deep secrets and a supernatural connection that runs thicker than blood.

Yet while Lora tries to sort out her own feelings toward Armand, fate offers an unexpected surprise. Lora discovers there is another drákon, a prisoner of war being held in Germany. And that only she, with her newly honed Gifts, will be able to rescue him.

With Armand, Lora will cross enemy lines on an incredible mission—one that could bond her to Armand forever, or irrevocably tear them apart.

Beautifully written, deeply romantic, and filled with daring adventure and magic, The Deepest Night is a mesmerizing novel of the enduring pull of destiny, and the eternal strength of love.

My Thoughts:

I fell in love with Shana Abe's writing style when I read The Sweetest Dark and couldn't wait to start the second book in the series.  Once again I was blown away by the way that the story was told and the historical elements that were weaved, ever so delicately, with the fantasy aspects.  We got to see so much more of the magical side of things this time around and I really enjoyed that.  But even though the fantasy was heavy we still didn't loose the historical bits and those tended to stand out.

I'm a huge fan of history hybrid stories and this series is certainly a favorite for me.  Placing characters in the middle of a war with the ability to turn into mystical creatures is the perfect choice.  It brings an excitement that normally wouldn't be there and also a fear that is rooted in the historical things that we already know.

Eleanore is a fantastic lead character and it was awesome to be able to revisit her story and see how she was holding up after the ending of the last book.  A part of me wishes that we would have seen more of the affect of her mourning, but everyone deals with war in different ways.  Where she was learning about her heritage in the first book, she is now struggling to overcome her fear and accept her gifts.  It was great to see her interactions and to see that her snark hadn't left in all the madness of her life.

And Mandy (what man would ever want to be called Mandy?  I still can't get over it) was back to his old games.  I have so much love for this guy and his broody, sarcastic ways.  We got to see a lot more of him this time around and he created some ultimate swoony moments for me.  He's extremely loyal and yet doesn't ever suffocate Eleanore with over protection.  It's something that I love in a romantic lead.  

Part of me doesn't want to say this next bit, but I will anyways.  In a way I felt like this book had a bit of a "New Moon romance" vibe.  I think it was dealt with much better in this book, but it still had that lingering "I hope this isn't like New Moon" affect on me.  It didn't turn out being that extreme, but it had it's moments.  The set up for this romance is different because one of the characters is kind of out of the equation, so that helped the love story aspect of the novel, where as Edward was still around and just being ridiculous in that other book.  That all being said, I enjoyed the romance, even if it drove me crazy.  I don't understand why there is still something of a love triangle lingering, I honestly don't.  Oh the other hand there were too many slow burning, swoony moments to count and I loved every second of it.  Honestly nothing gets me more than a slow burning romance.

All in all I enjoyed The Deepest Night.  The secondary characters were all brought back from the first book.  Which was great and the story moved forward.  There were a few really awesome fight sequences and even a little kick ass hand to hand combat.  You don't want to mess with Eleanore!  Once again Abe's flowing writing style shines, filling the story with wonder.  This was a great continuation to a story that I think should be read.   

 4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!


Renae M. said...

Yay, you liked it! (obviously I already knew that, but y'know). I am interested to see how things play out in the next installment. Should be interesting.

Shane Morgan said...

Great review. I love the cover of this one :)

Giselle said...

This sounds really character oriented which is what attracts me the most to almost any book! I've heard a lot of people rave on The Sweetest Dark. While I'm not the biggest historical fan I'd like to give this series a try! :)

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

I like slow-burning romance, too. It's so much better than the insta-love. I always appreciate an author who can do chemistry.
Whenever I hear the name Mandy for a boy I think of Mandy Patinkin-who is such a badass actor on Homeland (and the wonderful Dead Like Me), that I can forgive the name. Great review!

Nicole said...

I still haven't read The Sweetest Dark! I saw some mixed reviews that made me hesitate (and thus pick up other books instead). But I know i'll eventually pick it up when my schedule loosens up a bit. So I'm glad you liked the sequel, despite a frustrating romance. loosens up a bit. Thanks for sharing!!