Review: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Lazear
paperback, 408 pages
Expected publication: August 8th, 2012 by Flux
Source: NetGalley/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.
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  1. Oh, boo–I wanted tons of Steampunk! That cover is indeed misleading. At least it’s an interesting story, despite the ups and downs.

  2. A flying Car?????? Reminds me of Harry Potter! I must confess I am not the biggest Steampunk fan -mainly because I still haven’t read a real good one.

    However this one sounds quote nice(ish). 😉
    I know how it feels to write a 3 -3.5 star review. I often find myself pointing out the things that didn’t work – although I truly did like it in the end :))

    I might put it back on my list!!

  3. I have this one and I have to be honest, I am not overly excited about this one after reading all the lukewarm reviews. I hope I like it a little bit…glad it was okay for you as well!

  4. Awesome review. I like that your broke it down. the cover is awesome, but you’re right, it seems more steampunk than the book seems to be. The book sounds really fun and intersting and I think I’d really enjoy it, actually.


  5. I love that, even though you pointed out the things you didn’t like about this book, you still made sure to mention that you really liked it — which I’m super happy about! Sometimes when people point out all the negatives, it almost feels like they hated the book LOL :’) I have to admit that I fell in love with the cover first, but the flying car! Historical bits! And I wasn’t expecting the fantasy either. That’s all so cool! :)

    Amazing honest review, Candace! Despite a few flaws, this book sounds like a great read and I can’t wait for my copy to arrive! 😉 <3

  6. Is it odd that I want to read this just based on the fact that you said it was pretty steamy for a YA book?!

    I’m always looking for older YA that really pushes that line between it being YA and it being Adult so I’m pretty sure that I’m going to have to try this one.

    Thanks for the great review, I’m glad that even though you had some issues with the book that you still enjoyed it. :)

  7. The sex scenes I’m used to reading about are so intense that YA sex hardly even makes me blink, and most times I don’t even really notice it. LOL

    I love the cover too, but I’m not sure that’s enough to get me to read this one. It just doesn’t sound like my type of book. I think your review is good enough for me. Thanks, Candace.

  8. While I’m sad the cover is misleading, I can’t lie: I love some good fantasy thought steampunk is nice too! Sorry the love triangle didn’t work for you either.

    ” They don’t have sex, just other stuff…” that made me laugh…I’m not entirely sure why!

    ~Kailia @ Reading the Best

  9. This seems like a really interesting fantasy book, and the world this author has created seems fantastic. In general, pacing is really important for me, so it’s unfortunate that there seems to be a couple of flaws there… Overall though, I’m really glad you enjoyed this book!

  10. Mary,
    Yeah, I think a lot of it has to do with expectations. And that cover is going to make people think it’s heavily steampunk.

    Yeah, these middle reviews are hard. I really was tempted to give it 4 stars because I really liked it, but I had so many things to point out that I felt maybe 4 stars was a bit generous.

    Maybe you’ll like it more since you have a better idea of what to expect.

    You probably would! Especially now that you have a better idea of what you’re going into.

    I really think this is one that you will enjoy!

    Don’t expect TOO much steam. Honestly, it’s not really so much on the romantic end of things. It’s hard to explain. But some it is just talk and some is other characters that you know ‘did it’ and some is on the romantic end with kissing and heavy, uh, touching- I guess. So maybe you’ll like it… the steam, I mean. 😉

    Oh yes, I know that steamy stuff won’t bother you! But you’re right, I don’t really think it’s your kind of book.

    I think this is one you might enjoy!

  11. I’m a bit bummed it’s fairly light on the steampunk aspect, I was hoping for a crazy steampunk world full of crazy gadgets and things! Since I’m an adult reader and love adult romances, I know the sex(ish) parts won’t bother me, but it’s good that you put up a warning. I remember reading The Mephisto Covenant and being completely shocked at how much detail there was in the sex scene. I actually had to double check it wasn’t an adult paranormal romance:)

  12. Agreed about the cover. As soon as I scrolled down and saw it, I got WAY excited. Then I read “Realm of Faerie” and my excitement deflated. I’m glad you ended up liking it overall, but I’m kind of afraid to read it.

  13. I almost, almost requested this one on NetGalley, but when I checked out the reviews that had already been posted, I decided to hold off. The concept sounds interesting, but I’m kind of afraid that some of the issues I’ve seen mentioned would bother me too. Hmm…maybe if the library gets a copy, or if the e-book goes on sale in the future, I’ll pick it up.

  14. Hmm! 😮 Now I can definitely tell you that you’ve made me more than a little curious! I admit I’ve kind of overlooked this one a bit so far, even when seeing it around, and it seems like I might have to regret that decision! It does sound quite awesome and I’m sooo glad you enjoyed it so much–even if it had bits where it could be a little bit better.

    I’m gonna look into it a bit more, I think! :) Great review!

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