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review 2020-03-24 06:12
Review: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Dark and Deepest Red - Anna-Marie McLemore

I believe this book earns the distinction of my first 5-star book of 2020. It was phenomenal. I have not read a book by this author before, but if this is any indication then I am going to have to read some of their other offerings. I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about it.

 

The contrasting stories were so expertly woven that when the two were merged in the final chapters I just sat in wonderment at the dichotomy and similarity of the two narratives. I found both of them enchanting. The world presented by the 1500’s France era of suspicion and fear at things the people did not understand and, as a result, were more than willing to blame the “other” people for. And the present day world of Emil and Rosella in which strange happenings are accepted as part of the culture but that the “other” group of people is still to be considered with suspicion for other reasons.

 

And through all of it you have two women, Lala and Rosella. Both of them struggling with the roles assigned to them by the society they inhabit. And there was also a lesson in these pages, but not quite the one the author explained in her Author’s Note. Personally, I found that a bit annoying. I don’t like being told by anyone what the point of the story is supposed to be. Their bottom line may not be my bottom line. And, to me, it treads dangerously close to telling me how to “properly” read the story. But since it was at the end of the book, I could only get mildly annoyed because I had already formed my own opinion about the book by that point.

 

Anyway, back to the message that I took from the story. This is a story about women. The roles that are assigned to them by the various people in their life; family, lovers, friends, and society as a whole. All women are told by the world who they ought to be. But the message of the story is that you can either accept that role or craft a new one. That it is within your power to take all the things that people tell you that you are and embrace them to a new end like Lala, or spit in the face of them and use their power to fuel your own like Rosella.

 

Frankly, this is a book that I would pass on to my daughter when she’s older as an example of the power she inherently has as a woman and the ways she can use that power to whatever end she desires. I loved it.

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review 2020-01-02 04:07
Dark & Deepest Red
Dark and Deepest Red - Anna-Marie McLemore

It’s no secret that I love McLemore’s work. Anna-Marie is probably my favorite author writing in Teen right now, and whenever a new title is announced I do a little happy dance. As it turns out that happy dance was very much in the spirit of things as this latest offering is a retelling of the classic story of the red shoes. This book is absolutely gorgeous. It has all the lush lyrical writing I’ve come to expect, as well and an emotional core that hit me right in the heart. Even better is that McLemore uses the story of the red shoes to tell both a very old story and a very new one all at the same time, and never gets bogged down or hamstrung by what came before. The story manages to feel familiar and fresh all at once. McLemore remains a master and I am ensorcelled by the sheer beauty of storytelling and wordcraft in this book. Dark and Deepest Red hits shelves on the 14th and you absolutely do not want to miss it.

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review 2013-09-11 00:00
The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2... The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2) - Shana Abe See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksI can’t even begin to express how well The Deepest Night follows The Sweetest Dark. If you read my review of The Sweetest Dark, you’d know that I loved it. With how much I loved it, The Sweetest Dark was a hard act to follow; however, The Deepest Night did not disappoint.The Deepest Night picks up the story not very long after the end of the first book. Because most of the plot line for this follow-up either spoils the first book or this one, I can’t go into too much detail about the plot, but this story is filled with action. During The Deepest Night, Lora finishes up her year at Iverson and, however reluctantly, joins Armand at his family home as a nurse for the military hospital he established there. Through various events, Lora and Armand are off, venturing into the warfront. The way this story twists and turns kept me so interested in what was going to happen. I found myself worrying about whether or not Lora and Armand would make it out alive and accomplish their goal. Shana Abé perfectly mixes such action packed scenes with sweet and heartfelt ones, allowing a wonderful story to unfold with characters that feel so real.Just like in the first book, I LOVE LORA. Lora is just so great. While still being her sassy and strong self, Lora grows a lot in this story. The reader begins to see a more thoughtful and caring side to her. While in the first book she was mostly concerned about herself, she is not learning how to be fully conscious to the people around her and how her actions may affect them. Then there’s Armand. In the first book, I didn’t really love Armand. I didn’t hate him, but he definitely didn’t strike me as a wonderful character. In The Deepest Night, however, he definitely grew on me. I started to see who he truly was, rather than the duke’s son who needs to get what he wants, and how deep his emotions ran. It was a refreshing change from his character in the first book.Overall, there is really nothing I would change about The Deepest Night. Shana Abé creates such wonderful characters in a wonderful world filled with wonderful mythology through wonderful writing. Not only is the plot interesting, but also the way she paces all the events is absolutely perfect. If you haven’t started reading this series yet, I highly recommend that you pick up The Sweetest Dark and delve into the world of the drákon.
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review 2013-08-01 00:00
The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2)
The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2... The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2) - Shana Abe This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.

Note: This review contains spoilers of the first book in the series, The Sweetest Dark.

The Deepest Night suffers from a case of sophomore-itis. The first book, The Sweetest Dark (you can see my review here), revealed Lora’s shocking secret: she’s a dragon. And so is Armand, who is deeply in love with Lora. Small world! That book was enjoyable for a lot of reasons: The WWI setting in England; the fish out of water aspect of poor-girl Lora given a huge boost with a scholarship to a prestigious school; the rich guy and the poor guy both competing for Lora’s affections; and finally, the slow reveal that Lora and Armand are dragons.

What’s left for The Deepest Night? Not a whole lot, it seems. School takes a backstage, but the girls who tormented Lora in TSD still manage to pop up in TDN to deliver a couple of token bullying insults. Armand is still in love with Lora, and Jesse is still…missing.

Also missing? Armand’s brother, Aubrey, when it’s learned he’s been captured in war. Who better to rescue him than a couple of dragons? Abe’s writing has a dreamy, ethereal quality that serves the many, MANY scenes of flying very well. I’ll repeat: Lora does a LOT of flying in this book, often with Armand riding on her back. But most of what I loved in the first book is missing here, and even all of the flying couldn’t save it for me.

We still don’t have a resolution for Jessie, and I assume that’s being saved for Book 3. I’ll wait to hear reviews before I decide to continue the series.

Note – I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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review 2013-07-26 00:00
The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2... The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2) - Shana Abe This is the second book in the Sweetest Dark series. The story picks up shortly from where The Sweetest Dark ends. Lora has learned what she is, and suffered a horrible loss. She plans to spend her summer helping wounded soldiers from the war, nothing is goes according to plan for Lora, taking us on an suspenseful and compelling journey.

Lora’s character is strong and caring. Having accepted that fact that she is a drakon, she is patient when it comes to Mandy (Armand). She is still grieving the loss of Jesse, her love and at points it was heartbreaking, her pain was terrible. But Armand is there with her, and helps to ease some of it. Their banter and sarcasm aimed at each other had me laughing out loud. With a few new and old characters, it made for a great group of characters.

The story is told from Lora and Mandy’s POV with the occasional POV from Jesse. With the discovery that there is another drakon, she sets out to do a rescue before it comes to light just what this person is. Lora gift is becoming stronger and more controlled, which will certainly come in handy but she also has to learnt to trust Mandy because they will be working together on the rescue. Their bond is ever growing into something more, and Mandy has toned down his undying love for Lora, so it felt more genuine and in no way rushed. It is war time, so there is the constant fear of being discovered for Lora. There are battles and Lora fighting as a drakon, so the action was plenty. I would say that this ended with on a cliffhanger note, but the questions that were introduced happened during the big battle towards the end, making the ending even more excruciatingly amazing. The next book is not going to be out fast enough to know what is going to happen now.

The Deepest Night was one enthralling book, the writing is wonderful, the romance was sweet and the magic world and action combined with the history was completely spellbinding. This is one sequel that definitely lived up to it’s predecessor, making the series even better with each book. I look forward to learning even more about Lora, and Armand.

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