Book Review: The Deepest Night by Shana Abé
Title: The Deepest Night
Series: The Sweetest Dark #2
Author: Shana Abé
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Fantasy, Dragons, Romance
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Pages: 320 pages
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. Summary and image from Goodreads.
May contain spoilers for the first book in the series The Sweetest Dark.
You can read my review of it here.
WHY I WANTED TO READ THE BOOK: Shana Abé thrilled me with her young adult debut novel The Sweetest Dark, and I couldn’t wait to find out more about Lora, now that she has discovered her true identity as one of the last dràkons. I’m happy to say The Deepest Night did not disappoint me as a second book, it was just as fantastic, if not even more compelling than her YA debut novel. Shana Abé’s writing style is just as lyrical, and the setting, romance and adventure that I loved in the first book are all there, and surpassed all my expectations.
SETTING: The Deepest Night takes place in England and Germany, and continues Lora’s story after she discovers that she is part of the magical race of the dràkon. It is set amidst the richly atmospheric Iverson, an elite boarding school for young and wealthy British girls. Among the snobby and wealthy charges of Iverson, Lora lives and attends school as the Duke of Idylling’s charity case. With its sprawling grounds, secret passages, and gothic mansion, it is the perfect place for Lora to test and learn more about her magical abilities as one of the dràkon, learning to turn to smoke and shift to her dragon form.
SUMMARY: Lora, while attending school at Iverson, is still trying to mend her broken heart from the terrible loss of Jessie, and continues to learn more about her dràkon abilities. As Summer approaches, Armand, the Duke of Idylling’s dark and mysterious son, requests for Lora to join him on his lavish estate Tranquility, in order to help set up a military hospital and help the war effort as a nurse. Deeply drawn to Lora and her magical abilities as a dràkon, Armand’s bond to her runs deeper than both blood and love, and he is determined to keep her close to him at all costs. When news arrives that Armand’s brother is found alive and being held prisoner in Germany, Armand asks Lora to join him on a daring quest unlike any other. Together they will cross Europe and enter enemy lines into German territory, with Lora transformed as a dràkon, in order to rescue Aubrey from the enemy. Can Lora successfully use her abilities as a dràkon to save Aubrey, and will Lora entrust her heart to Armand before it is too late?
CHARACTERS: Lora’s character continues to grow in The Deepest Night as she learns more about what it is to be a dràkon, and how to use her powers of transformation. Readers will sympathize with Lora’s recent loss and understand her heartache, but will appreciate her new found strength and determination. I enjoyed seeing Lora’s positive transformation into a young woman of strength and passion, and her new powers as a dràkon were fascinating. This time around I enjoyed Lora’s character even more as Shana Abé focused the emphasis on Lora’s growth and transformation as a dràkon. The romantic interest is still a fantastic and integral part of the story, just not overshadowing it.
Armand’s character is even more intriguing this time around in The Deepest Night. He is no longer just the roguish young man, vying for Lora’s attention, but also has been transformed by personal loss and the war. As responsibility is thrust upon him as the next heir to Idylling, Armand’s character show’s a lot of personal growth. What is so exciting about Armand in the story is the fantastic new changes that Armand is going through, and it becomes very clear why he has such a connection to Lora. I can’t wait to see where these fantastic changes to Armand take him.
SWOON LEVEL: Crush.
THE ROMANCE: The Deepest Night has a beautiful and bittersweet romance. Lora struggles daily with the loss of Jesse, but can’t help but being captivated by Armand and their connection to one another. I really enjoyed the growing romance between Armand and Lora, and I’m glad the Shana Abé took this direction in the story.
THE SWOON QUOTE:
“Eleanore,” he whispered again, tilting his head to mine, his lips skimming past my cheek, his breath in my ear. “I’d wait forever for you, you know. If you’d care.”
I didn’t have to look into his eyes and acknowledge what I’d find in them, the constant hunger, the unwavering focus that made me feel both huge and tiny at once: selfishly pleased to be the recipient of his desires, inwardly terrified because I didn't know if I’d be worth of it, or even able to return it.
THE ENDING: The Deepest Night was filled with action, and Shana Abé teases us in the end with the possibility that there's other dràkon besides Lora. I can’t wait to continue Shana Abé’s story of the dràkon, and look forward to reading about Lora and Armand’s continuing adventures.
MY RATING: 4.5 stars. I really liked it!
PLEASE NOTE: I received an ARC copy of The Deepest Night by NetGalley & Bantam in exchange for my honest review.