Previous Installment: The Sweetest Dark
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.
I really enjoyed The Sweetest Dark, so was looking forward to seeing how Lora’s journey would continue in the sequel. The first book was extremely focused on the romance between Lora and Jesse, and since the dynamics of that relationship changed at the end of the first book, I was curious to see what would come next, particularly since Armand and Lora also had a connection. The war has also ratcheted up, which provided more danger and intrigue to the story. Still, The Deepest Night was, at its heart, also a romance, although I do think the mystery and adventure was weaved seamlessly into the narrative.
I want to be very clear about one aspect of these books, because the way the relationships develop happens extremely fast, to the point where it’s quite easy to call the romances insta-love. Those doing so wouldn’t be wrong, either: the connection Lora feels with Jesse was instantaneous, and likewise what Armand feels for Lora was equally quick to blossom. However, there’s a reason for that – all three of them are magical creatures of some sort – and it’s because of what they are that I am much more tolerant of how quickly their feelings for each other came into being. What I did appreciate is that, while Lora is drawn to Armand, her feelings for him took longer to develop, which was nice to read about considering how infatuated he was with her. The slow-building romance also really helped to flesh out Armand’s character; I came away from this book a really big fan of his, and his dual perspective also definitely helped with that. It was nice to be able to see things through his eyes.
Aside from the romance – which is all-encompassing in this book, make no mistake, even while it is understated at times – there was a nice sense of adventure, and the action scenes were well-written and gripping, to the point where I was almost perched on the edge of my seat while I was reading. I loved the way the war happenings were interweaved into Lora and Armand’s story, and especially liked how Lora grew so much stronger as she went through each trial. Instead of shying away from what she is, and what she can do, she really started to embrace it and feel pride in her ability. This was such a change from the way she viewed herself in the first book, and I thoroughly enjoyed being privy to her personal musings and introspection. I also want to mention the fact that the way this book is written is truly beautiful to read. I’m not generally a person who pays a lot of attention to the prose used, but Shana Abe has a truly lush and gorgeous way of wording things. Her descriptions, the way she weaves words together, all of that is really beautifully done, and really played a factor in my enjoyment of the story.
The Deepest Night was a nice continuation of Lora’s story. I very much enjoyed the growth of both Lora and Armand’s characters, the way their romance was written, and the way the world has changed for them due to their actions and what they are. I am especially intrigued to see how Lora and Armand’s relationship will play out once they’re back in the “real” world, where his being a son of a duke and her a charity student is certain to cause a lot of problems. While The Deepest Night did manage to wrap up some plot lines, there’s still quite a lot to be figured out, not the least of which is the pact Lora makes that’s certain to play a factor not only in her life, but those around her as well. I can’t wait to read the as-yet-unnamed book three to see what happens next!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.