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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

Title: Innocent Darkness
Author: Suzanne Lazear
Series: Aether Chronicles #1
Publisher: Flux
Genre: Steampunk Young Adult
Release Date: 08/08/12
Reviewed by: Sara
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A hoverboard appeared in her rearview mirror. “This is the Los Angeles Air Patrol,” a voice boomed. “I command you to land your vehicle in the name of the law.”

Noli Braddock and her best friend V’s incident with a flying auto have landed them in a heap of trouble. And when Noli is sent to a spirit-squelching reform school in San Francisco, she’s sure that her rebellious adventures are over.

Meanwhile, Kevighn Silver has been ordered by the Faerie Queen to bring a mortal girl back to the Otherworld. The magic requires a blood sacrifice every seven years, and only a mortal girl who shines with the Spark -- a girl like Noli -- will keep the Otherworld from complete destruction.

When an ill-timed wish sends Noli tumbling into the Otherworld, she’s more homesick than ever... until V arrives to save her from an untimely demise. But who exactly is V? And if he helps Noli escape, who will save the realm of Faerie from utter annihilation?

Plot: 4 Stars
I'm really starting to love steampunk novels that also have paranormal elements, and somehow faeries really mix well. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this novel, and it was a really big part of the novel since the author intoduced the reader to two worlds: the steampunk world that Noli knows and the faerie world that she falls into. The author had an attention to detail that really made the worlds come to life without bogging the reader down in tons and tons of description. It was a great balance and I loved learning the ins and outs of each.

Pace: 3 Stars
I think the novel was both helped and hindered by the multiple points of view. There were points in the novel in which the POV jumps were needed for the reader to get the full picture. Then there were times that the POV jumped in the middle of a scene, and by the time the novel got back to that POV to finish the scene, it seemed like more time should have gone by. As much as I loved getting all of the information from the different points of view, there were times that it slowed the novel down a bit for me. There was also a bit of repetition in the middle of the novel, but I'm glad I didn't put it down because the ending was a race to the finish.

Characters: 4 Stars
Noli is a fantastic character. She was strong and independent, yet vulnerable. She was a bit of a troublemaker, but had good intentions. She was riding hoverboards and fixing flying cars while most girls her age were learning how to tend to the home. I really enjoyed Noli and all of her layers, and was definitely invested in what happened to her. V, Noli's best friend, was another interesting character. I liked how he complimented many of her qualities, kept her from getting into too much trouble. Kevighn was a mysterious character, and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about him. As much as he came across as the bad guy, there were some moments in which he was sweet and caring towards Noli.

Cover: 3 Stars
There are so many things about this cover that I love. The font choice and the details around it immediately drew my eye. And the zepplin in the background told me immediately that this was a steampunk title and sealed the deal. The buildings in the background and the cover model's outfit just added to the steampunk goodness. The colors worked really well with all of the images and the overall feel. But I just can't get over the cover model's expression. She looks bored as she plays with her hair, and I cannot reconcile this cover model with the lively girl I met while reading this novel. Noli was full of life and spunk and mischief, and I just wish I could've seen a little of that in the cover model's gaze.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an eARC of this novel for review from Netgalley.

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