Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Lazear
paperback, 408 pages
Expected publication: August 8th, 2012 by Flux
Wish. Love. Desire. Live.
Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.
I have some really mixed feelings about this book, but I find myself finding that I really liked it despite some things that I liked less. I also read an early version e-arc and it's possible that some things will be changed. And the rough formatting will most definitely make the final edition more pleasurable to read. But overall this is a fantastic story with characters I really liked.
I'm gonna start off first saying that I love this cover. Like love, love, love it. It's gorgeous and I want it on my shelf. However, it is a bit misleading. And I see from other reviews that this has disappointed a lot of people so I figure it's important to let you all know. While this does have steampunk in the first bit and a tad bit here and there, it's very light on the steampunk aspects. This is much more a fantasy than anything else. So there's good and bad about that. If you're holding back reading it because you're not a steampunk fan, don't. However, if you're a steampunk fan, don't be expecting a large amount of steampunk. Perhaps future books will have more, I don't know.
Now I'm going to move onto the characters. I really liked Noli for the most part. She's pretty headstrong but she's not stupid and doesn't say or think stupid things. However, occasionally she feels a bit naive. And when it comes to Kevign and V I have very mixed feelings. I didn't really fall for either of them and am not sold on her feelings. But I didn't not like them either. I liked V more than Kevign but felt like he got a bit pushy at times which turned me off from him. And that leads me to the sexual bits, as it gets a bit heavy for YA. As I'm an adult that reads adult books, it really didn't bother me. However, for those wanting a completely clean read, this has some heavy insinuation as far as sex goes. They don't have sex, just other stuff...
I liked the steampunk in the beginning with the cool flying car, I loved the historical bits at the reform house and felt so furious at how things were (good bit of strong emotions are good!), and I really liked the Otherworld and the beauty within. All the settings were great. And I thought the story, the plot, was done well. I liked it and how it all went. However, I felt like sometimes the pacing was off. It would have some slow bits, but then feel like it rushed through parts that maybe could have been explored more. But I never really felt bored or anything, I just wanted things to run maybe a bit more smoother and at a steadier pace.
Now, it feels like I've nitpicked this book apart so I must stress to you guys that I still really liked it. It's like I saw all these things that could have been better, but I was able to overlook it all because what was good, was really good. I somehow was still emotionally involved in it and was eager for more. And even though I've already read the book, I'm definitely going to get a copy for my shelf. If you go in with the right expectations, I think you could really enjoy it. It reminded me a tiny bit of Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey because the Otherworld felt somewhat similar.
Also, please remember that the final edition may have some changes.
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.