idInnocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Lazear
Release Date: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Flux
Source: NetGalley
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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 don’t know if this was the right book for me. I mean, I was the sole Faery expert at NiaB, but I also dislike the steampunk genre as a whole. I am not a fan of steampunk, though I’ll admit the jewelry can be cool, and most “steampunk” novels I’ve read just add a few gears and clockwork men and voila, we’re supposed to be impressed. Nah. And I’ll admit, I almost DNF’d this one after chapter two. I could see a love triangle looming from the second I met Noli’s best friend, V. Noli has fallen into the classic YA trope: I love my BFF but he doesn’t like me in that way (when it’s painfully obvious to everyone else that YES, THEY DO). This one didn’t pull me in until Noli arrives at Findlay House, where things start getting real.

Findlay House is a reform school with secrets, not least of which is a water room, a place to basically torture girls who “misbehave” by acting like humans. But what really matters here is the Otherworld, where we spend most of our time. At this point in my notes, I have “The Iron King” written, because honestly, this novel is starting to remind me of Julie Kagawa’s series (one of the few fairy books I didn’t like). Though Noli and Meghan are decades apart, their fairy worlds (and love interests) are similar. I found myself feeling very removed from the romance aspect; I wasn’t rooting for V or Kevighn, because I didn’t have strong feelings either way. I feel Kevighn is a somewhat inappropriate choice, but that didn’t really endear me to V either. Throughout this book I found myself feeling removed from the plot and characters, not having any strong emotions about what I was reading at all. In fact, if anything, I found myself repulsed by the “romance” between Kevighn and Noli.

This one wasn’t for me, though I did like the alternate US history and the way Lazear laid our the fairy realm. I liked that Noli had interests other than just reading, but we didn’t see much of them, honestly. People kept telling us Noli is clever and inventive, but I didn’t see that at all. She certainly wasn’t clever when she crashed the hovercar in the beginning. I skimmed through most of the second half, to be honest, and I won’t be reading the next in the series. If you like fairies and just the tiniest hint of steampunk, this one could be for you!