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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Laezar

Release Date: August 8, 2012
Publisher: Flux
Series: The Aether Chronicles #1
Young Adult
Pages: 408
Genre: Faeries, Fantasy, Romance, Steampunk
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.
*Digital galley provided by the publisher for an honest review*

I was really excited to read this book because that cover is just so stunning, so steampunk, that I just wanted to snuggle with it and whisper sweet, beautiful nothings to it. Okay, I'm not that weird. But this cover is a trap! GASP. Hold the phone, spit out what you were drinking, cower behind a big stranger, run away like it's the plague. For a book that mesmerizes the reader with a cover that looks like heavy steampunk, Innocent Darkness is severely lacking in the department, all except for the beginning where hover cars, air pirates, and air police are mentioned and used more like a gateway to get the ball rolling for the story.

If only I really knew where that ball would be rolling to, because Innocent Darkness was really all over the place when it comes to genres. Steampunk? Victorian Gothic? Paranormal? Faries? Romance? How about a mix of everything and anything in-between, because, really, for the life of me, I could not put my finger on this wheel of genres. 

The book is set in a an alternate reality around 1901, but it really didn't feel like that time period. Yes, it's a alternate reality, but that doesn't justify that the author failed to do thorough research about the time period that she was going to place her world in. Failure in the dialogue, the style of clothing, the lively hood of the characters. It was lacking. And with that, I couldn't connect myself to the world Ms. Laezar was trying to make.

Character wise, Mongolia (Noli) Braddock is like most young adult heroines nowadays. She's special, harboring the Spark, a rare and powerful energy. And that power, of course,  is what will put her in danger, that power will be used to help save the end of the Faery world. All by sacrifice of course. Now the part is different from many published novels, something that really caught my eye. Something unique. But, unfortunately, Noli, I just couldn't handle her or the love triangle filler that made me want to toss my kindle to the wall. The urge to be with the very guy, The Otherworld Queen's Huntsman, who is trying to kill you and the urge to be with your best childhood friend whose secrets really could be predicted because this book really wasn't all that unpredictable. I just knew what would happen with the romance, who they were going to be, from the prologue and the first chapter of the book, and I really didn't like it, neither of the love interest or the love triangle. Or Noli for that matter. They're all bland characters. If I could say who I liked the most, it would be Stephen, "V", her childhood friend. I'm usually a sucker for the old friend. Secrets and all.

I'm really saddened by this book, because I expected it to be much more than what I got. Neither was it fresh or engaging, Innocent Darkness was just a mess when it came down to: What kinda book am I? You don't want to have your reader wonder what kind of book your are, finding a genre and then having it change on you through mostly the whole book. You lose readers. 

Innocent Darkness had such a enticing premise, even the first few chapters were enough to make me want to read more, to know what was going on, and why what happened in the prologue happened. But the way each aspect of the book was executed--dialogue, character development, plot, setting--they were all underdeveloped and everything but what it should have had: clear focus, concise details, and just captivating the reader.

Final Summation: Innocent Darkness had potential, it had something great, but there was too much confusion and mismatching genres that I couldn't take it. Character development was underdeveloped and unbelievable. Setting was under-researched. The beginning was the strongest part of the whole novel. I felt the characters and started seeing who they were, only until Noli was sent to her reform school by her loving mother, another unbelievable aspect in development. If the book focused in on maybe one or two key factors rather than trying to stuff every bit and piece it could find into the story, it would have been a much more satisfying read.

First Line: Whatever happened, she could not allow them to catch her, nor could a single drop of her blood spill upon the ground.
Story: B
Cover: S for overall. C for the trap.