Review for The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2) by Shana Abe

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe

TITLE: The Deepest Night
SERIES: The Sweetest Dark #2
AUTHOR: Shana Abe
PUBLICATION DATE: August 13, 2013
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group
PAGES: 320 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Eleanore Jones has always been different and she finally knows why. It is because she is a dragon. Seriously people, it is because she can transform into a dragon. While she is still devastated by Jesse’s untimely death, she tries to carry on with her life at Iverson’s, the boarding school she attends. Then she learns that Lord Armand’s older brother, who was thought to be killed in war, is actually a prisoner of war and she is destined to save him. Though she is not sure she is up for the task, she wants to help Mandy in any way she can, so they start creating a plan to rescue brother dearest, though things never go as planned.

Lora/Eleanore is exactly as I remember her. Strong and clever, with the ability to know when to back down and when to fight. She has been through so much and yet she is still striving to continue and to better herself. She’s still a bit too stubborn and refuses Mandy’s help most of the time, but an all together enjoyable character that you cannot help but to root for.

I fell a bit more in love with Mandy in this one. In the first one, I liked him, but I was 100% team Jesse. In this one, you see how much he is trying to help her and what he is willing to sacrifice to keep her safe and happy. Unfortunately, that is part of why this gets 4 stars instead of 5. Even though Jesse is dead, he is still a big part of this story because he is now a star who guides Mandy, which means, the love triangle aspect is still very much in play. For the entire story, Lora fights her attraction to Mandy because she loves Jesse and then we get a handful of shots from Jesse’s perspective, watching from above which just makes it worse. It would be one thing to kill Jesse and let Lora get over it and be with Mandy. I wouldn’t completely agree with that option, but it would be better than ending book 2 with no more resolution on the triangle front than we had at the end of book 1. What’s worse is that now I don’t even know who I want her to be with more! I can’t pick a team. X_X

The writing is just as eloquent and beautiful as before. Abe has this amazing ability to write on a higher level but not make it come off as pretentious or condescending. I don’t know about you, but I have read one too many historical fictions where it feels like the writer is just using those big words and old time phrases to say “Hahahahahaha I’m smarter than you!” and this doesn’t come off that way at all. The storyline kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat wondering if these two crazy kids would pull it off and how they would accomplish it without getting caught.

I really enjoyed this and I cannot wait to get my hands on book 3, which isn’t listed on Goodreads yet, but the authors website says she is writing. Please hurry and finish it? This doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, just a sense that the story isn’t quite finished yet.

****Thank you to Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

TITLE: The Lost Prince
SERIES: The Iron Fey: Call Of The Forgotten #1
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
PUBLICATION DATE: October 23, 2012
PUBLISHER: Harlequinn Teen
PAGES: 377 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 5 stars

Ethan Chase has always been able to see the fey. What’s worse is that they know he can see them and take great pleasure in torturing him whenever possible. He does his best to ignore them and stay out of trouble, but then they start to disappear and he is forced back into the Iron Realm, seeking the help of his half sister, the Iron Queen. Ethan is determined to protect his family…and Kenzie St James, a nosy girl who refuses to let him alone. A girl that is getting too close for comfort that Ethan can only ignore for so long.

Let me just state for the record that I have not yet read any of the books in the Iron Fey series. I was under the impression that this was a new spinoff series and it wasn’t necessary. I stand by that assessment, though understanding some of the characters in the Iron Realm as well as that world itself may have been a little easier if I had. I have wanted to read them and that desire has only increased after reading this. Now that I have that out of the way, let me just say that I’m a little glad I read this one first because at least I know throughout all the expected angst of the Iron Fey series that Meghan will end up with Ash and I’ll be able to enjoy seeing Ethan as a little kid.

Ethan is a great leading man, with just a touch too much angsty and brooding, but with great reasons to be that way. Listening to him berate himself for being a dick to Kenzie while still giving her pissed off stares was priceless. You can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, with all the shit he gets blamed for that’s rarely his fault. Despite knowing better, he ends up getting involved in all manner of mayhem because he can’t seem to stop himself from saving the day. He does everything from save a kid from bullying to striving into a cavern filled with evil fairies just to save a guy he barely knows. That buried hero complex completely balances out most of the angst. Add that to the banter between him and Kenzie and you’ve got me hooked.

Kenzie, well I liked her instantly too. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be determined. Her overly cheery personality hides a fierce determination to accomplish her goals, whether Ethan likes it or not. I loved finally seeing a female character who didn’t back down from the broody male just because he said too. If you are hoping for a mousey shy heroine, look elsewhere because she’s definitely not here.

There was a plethora of other characters, including a talking cat that was like the love child between Cheshire Cat and the cat from Coraline who I really enjoyed. Then there was Kieran, who is a certain pairs child and that shocks the hell out of Ethan. My favorite side character though, was definitely Puck. Holy fuck, I LOVE HIM. I would read The Iron Fey series just for more of HIM! He’s got that attitude where he’s always smiling and flinging out one liners and saving the day. All of the side characters where enjoyable and memorable, but he was a special treat.

The writing was great, and the plot kept me interested. I read several reviews stating that they found the story rather boring, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I was enthralled once I got a decent way in and before that point I was still pretty interested to see where it was all going to lead. The Fey world Kagawa describes is fascinating and I am as captivated by it was Kenzie was. Speaking of Kenzie…****SPOILER****I KNEW SHE HAD CANCER. I saw coming pretty early on, when everyone was treating her slightly different. Of course she has cancer, because we couldn’t just let her be a normal teenage girl. X_X They better fucking find a damn cure and her and Ethan will live happily ever after or you will suffer my wrath!
****END SPOILER****Beyond that very spoilery blip, this has a pretty happy ending, with the majority of the story wrapping up nicely and only a few tolerable loose ends. I can’t wait to read the next one!

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review of The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

TITLE: The Sweetest Dark
SERIES: The Sweetest Dark #1
AUTHOR: Shana Abe
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Eleanore Jones has never been normal, no matter how much she tries to be. For as long as she can remember, metals have sung to her and there has been a dark voice whispering for her to do bad things. As a child, she made the mistake of admitting these things to adults which got her time in a psych ward with more than one treatment round of electro shock. Now she’s determined that if she can’t be completely normal, she will fake it as believably as possible. When the war starts and the majority of the population gets out of London, her orphanage sends her to Iverson’s, a high class boarding school, because she has been selected as the new charity student. Once there, Eleanore meets Jesse, the grounds keeper and feels an instant attraction to him. She also meets Armand, an arrogant aristocrat who may just be hiding the same secrets she is.

I decided to sleep on it before I wrote this review and I’m still at a loss for words….except the constant whine in my brain to go ahead and read the sequel (which I have a eARC of) instead of reading what’s next on my reading schedule. This is one of those novels that while I really enjoyed it, I’m not exactly sure what I liked. It has all the elements I hate, instalove, love triangle, bad ending, but somehow I still liked it.

I liked all three of the main characters. Eleanore has that tough girl image from being in an orphanage for most of her life and when the snooty girls start to fuck with her, she fights back, giving back exactly what’s she given instead of taking it. I loved that she was always battling with the idea that maybe she really was just crazy and everything was all in her head. Jesse stole my heart right from the beginning. Charming and sweet, he’s definitely the silent type. In fact, everyone believes he is mute. He says he only talks to people worth speaking to and that basically amounts to 2 people at the school. Armand is a whole other can of worms. The son of a duke, he’s lived a charmed life, but really he’s just as lonely as Eleanore and he’s so adept at lying no one notices. While I wanted Eleanore to be with Jesse, I did feel a lot of compassion for Armand. I know book 2 is going to take the love triangle to now, annoying, heights, but I still really want to read it. The only other character I loved was Sophia. Clever Sophia is the only girl at Iversons that actually comes to like Eleanore and I feel like we don’t get to see enough of her. She pops up a few times to help and then vanishes and I kept wishing to see more of her.

The story was interesting, if a bit slow. I read more for the fantasy elements, than for the historical ones. I’m not a big fan of novels about war. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with the cause or that I have a problem with gore, it’s just not a subject that interests me. So, while I understand the bits about the war were necessary for world and plot building, I was definitely not enraptured by them. This novel took me by surprise with the ending, which I didn’t see coming. But I can’t talk about the ending without ranting and I am desperately trying not to do that with this review.

****SPOILER****Okay, so maybe a tiny one. JESSE DIES. I’m not talking he dies and then some part of his supernaturalness brings him back, I mean he is dead and they bury him. Then you get a tiny epilogue saying that he is with the stars now and one day Eleanore will join him. Great, so I’ll have to deal with Armand and Eleanore getting all lovey in book 2. ::sobs::****END SPOILER***

This novel really has a ton of good things in it. You get enough mystery to keep you interested, tiny bits of humor to make you laugh, enough boy drama to have you rolling your eyes, and an ending that you’ll never expect.

****Thank you to Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****