Book 2 in the Sweetest Dark series
By Shana Abé
Available now from Bantam Books (Penguin Random House)
Read my review of The Sweetest Dark
I fell head over heels for THE SWEETEST DARK. It's one of my favorite books of 2013, one I called "a swoony book that I'll probably read multiple times before the promised sequel." That was true, and I'm happy that THE DEEPEST NIGHT wasn't delayed like its predecessor because I did not want to wait any longer.
Warning: major spoilers for the first book.
Summer is coming, which means scholarship student Lora Jones is about to no longer have a place at the Iverson School for Girls. That's not good, because she's getting a mission from the stars to save Armand's older brother, thought dead. You see, Lora and Armand can turn into dragons and Lora's boyfriend was a star in human form who died. It sounds crazy, but Shana Abé writes it so sweet and lovely.
There's some interesting development on the romance front. Lora shot down a love triangle in the first book, preferring Jesse to Armand. But she's getting over the loss of Jesse and feels a pull toward Armand, the only other member of her species she knows. It leads her to do something I found incredibly dumb, but I'm curious to see how her decision will play out in the final novel. And I can't hold it to much against her, because it was a noble thing to do.
Most of the novel deals with Armand and Lora traveling across war-torn Europe. Abé continues to use the WWII setting well, although I must admit my favorite bit was Armand turning his family home into a hospital for wounded soldiers. The biggest bully at Iverson turns out to be a talented, comforting nurse; however, it makes her no kinder to Lora. Lora has no talent for keeping her cool during surgery, yet it makes her no less brave when she must face battle herself. It sets up so many wonderful character moments.
I wasn't quite as in love with THE DEEPEST NIGHT as THE SWEETEST DARK. At the same time, a number of interesting plot points have been set up for the next book in the series. (I don't know whether this is just a trilogy or not. I'd both love to find out how everything ends and spend more time in this world.) Given the strength of the first two books, I'm sure things will continue to play out in a fascinating fashion. I'm also happy that the Sweetest Dark series has encouraged me to read more of Abé's backlist. I just devour her beautiful, poetic prose.