After finishing The Deepest Night and thinking about where it went wrong for me, I think it goes back to my post about when your tastes in books change. I read The Sweetest Dark about a year ago and loved it, but with The Deepest Night? To be honest, I skimmed a lot of it.
Maybe it’s because something about the end of The Sweetest Dark broke my heart – and because I feel like the sequel really mishandled that. Or maybe it’s because the writing style – while as gorgeous as ever – felt like Abe was trying TOO hard. Not every paragraph needs to be drenched in pretty prose, or stately dialogue. The writing really wore on me after awhile, and felt so over-done.
However, one of the strongest things about The Deepest Night is again, the atmosphere Shane Abe creates. I absolutely could SEE myself in the this era, there with Lora. Abe fully immerses the reader in the setting and the period, and that helped me enjoy The Deepest Night somewhat.
I also liked the characters. Lora and Armand (or Mandy, as he wants to be called…?) are incredibly strong personalities, and they fill the pages with spirit and fire through their banter and their perspectives.
However to be frank, the pacing and plot felt as if it drug on forever, although the e-galley was relatively short. I kept waiting to be invested or care, and I never did. The plot was so far-fetched at times that I found myself shaking my head in disbelief and hoping I was through with The Deepest Night soon. There’s a very “the chosen one” vibe to Lora that I didn’t buy, and between all that and random switches to a point of view that I don’t think the book NEEDED, I was relieved when this book was over.
Finally, the romance. *sigh* I was enchanted with the romance in the previous book, but in The Deepest Night I felt like it was being pushed at me, and I didn’t care for that.
Final Thought: Shana Abe writes beautifully, but in a way that’s heavy-handed. I’d prefer clearer prose and more action. The romance was a miss for me, and the plot was too far-fetched for my taste.