Written Revelry! The Novel Strumpet Gets Her Own Column! Books! Reviews! And More! The Sweetest Dark By Shana Abe Book Review!

Duh-Du-Du-Duh! I feel like there should be a trumpet sound button on all computers. Seriously. How fun would that be!

We have a new column starting here at MTF! The Novel Strumpet is getting her own slice of the online pie with Written Revelry! Come back every Tuesday for all your bookish needs! Reviews! New Releases! and more!

I’m so excited that we’re getting another column to spice up our Tuesdays!

I’m not going to babble too much, let me turn the column over to The Novel Strumpet! And let’s give a big MTF welcome to Written Revelry!

M-

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Hey MikeTheFanboy Followers, Family and Friends!  I couldn’t resist all those lovely “F” sounds. Mike has finally gotten me to name my column and so I am proud to present “Novel Strumpet’s Written Revelry” *Cue Trumpets*

(Editor’s Note: See a trumpet button would be awesome! M-)

I’m going to use this space to revel in the written word.  Being a strumpet, you already know that I’m not picky about what I read so long as it’s got a little something, something you know?  A little edge.  A little sex appeal.  A little magic.  Why stick to one type when there’s so many to be had.  Book genre’s people…geez!

So this isn’t going to follow any pattern except books.  I might do a review, write an opinion piece, wax philosophical on my favorites old and new.  Whatever I feel like and you wanna know why?  BECAUSE IT’S MY COLUMN!

So bare with me as the I spend the first few posts finding new ways of reporting to you guys.  Feel free to drop me some advice, reading suggestions, or just a “Hi Strumpet, what’s up?”   I love to talk books, book related things, things that remind me of books…and it’s most fun to do so with others.  

I am a Novel Strumpet after all 😉

You can also find me on Twitter @NovelStrumpet.  

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe book cover dust jacket rare promo cover

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe:

From BN.com

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

I have to say I was hoping that since there was such an interesting mythology in this story that Lora wouldn’t actually “become” what she does but that there would be a different spin on it. However, it’s not the worse thing in the world that she does.

There’s some really dark themes in this novel; world wars, the upper class vs. the lower, power vs. weakness, unhinging of the mind, and the things poor Lora goes through as a child. But they never weigh the book down and in their way add to the atmosphere. There’s a definite change in the book’s tone between London and Iverson (in case you don’t know this period in history, London was being bombed by German Zepplins even in WWI) but the sinister underneath never quite leaves, just changes tone as well. In London it’s about bombings, in Iverson it’s about social trappings. Both can destroy lives utterly and completely.

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe book cover dust jacket rare promo cover

I like Lora, despite having a moment of “I can’t do this” which lasts a very short time, she accepts who and what she is and what must happen to move her life along. She rarely whines, though she can be overly cautious and not cautious enough, and has a fearlessness about her without copping real attitude. She’s polite but not weak and that’s a rarity in most YA novels now.

Jesse and Armand…hmm…I kind of wish you could smoosh them together and they’d be the man she needs. Jesse is understanding, strong in character, loves her fiercely but is not smothering and is always patient. Armand is fiery, loses his temper but likes the fact that she gives as good as she gets, has money and position but would give them up in a heartbeat to have his family whole again. Underneath you know that he has a huge heart that’s just been beaten down so much he can’t let it out.

All three are tied together in a metaphysical sense, and while the two guys ‘fight’ over her they never really get to the “you have to choose between us” stage. That’s refreshing. Of course given some things that happen who’s to say it wouldn’t have gotten there eventually. Or will.

There are definitely politics that go on between the students, the teachers, the Duke and the staff, the Duke and his son (Armand), and Abe does a good job of adding those elements without them overtaking things or getting in the way. Just like life at that time, they just are. I will say that at times I felt that the Duke and Armand’s attention to Lora (after all she’s an orphan charity case at the school) seems a little socially odd, but not being as familiar with the time period it could very well be correct.

Shana Abe has a good voice in this book, the elements come together, and she paints the picture of Iverson wonderfully. I think this is a definite must read for fans of YA Fantasy with just enough romance thrown in. But not enough to make it a real YA Romance. It’s an enchanting read and I really hope there’s more to come.

eGalley provided by Random House via NetGalley

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe book cover dust jacket rare promo cover

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