Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
Release: August 8, 2012
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
The only evidence of modern/futuristic technology, in Innocent Darkness, is when Noli (the main character) drives a flying car.
This illegal driving is on of many "marks" on Noli's record. Eventually, she's forced to go to an "institution" that is supposed to stomp out impulsive and improper behavior. This doesn't suit Noli at all, and when she makes a wish...she's lured/transported to another land quite different from her own: the Otherworld. At this point, Innocent Darkness becomes far less steampunk and more...fantasy. There are Faeries, Magic, and an evil Queen Tiana that needs Noli as a sacrifice to keep Otherworld's magic alive.
This is where I lost interest, because Noli's journey to Otherworld also introduces readers to a character named Kevighn. He is a sort of "hunter" for Queen Tiana. He is responsible for finding a girl with "spark" and bringing her to Otherworld as a sacrifice. Noli is "special". She has that "spark". So, Kevighn decides to lure Noli through a portal into Otherworld.
And what follows is a poor excuse for a love triangle.
Noli is happy, at first, to be in this new world. But the excitement soon wears off, and Kevighn does all he can to convince her to stay just a little longer. After what seems like mere days, Kevighn comes to the realization that he no longer wishes to make Noli's presence in Otherworld known. He "loves" Noli and doesn't wish to see her become the sacrifice. I don't see what makes Noli any more special than the other "soft women" and girls who had "spark".
Noli, however, is conflicted. She thinks of her childhood friend, V (aka Steven), wondering if her feelings for him go past friendship. But somehow, Noli keeps falling for Kevighn's "charm". The man she ends up with is quite obvious, but I really hated Noli's indecisiveness. What ever happened to the opinionated, strong-willed girl in the beginning?
I also see that this is the first book in a series. Is that necessary? Innocent Darkness actually ends on a very happy note, with all the loose ends tied together--a little too conveniently, if you ask me.
So, no. I cannot recommend this book. I think I would have enjoyed this book far more if I had been warned about the more fantastical elements. I went in expecting lots of Steampunk elements and wound up sorely disappointed. Readers, don't make that mistake. If you plan to read this book, know what you will be getting into.
e-ARC was provided by netgalley and Flux Books. Thank you.
RATING: 1 SLICE