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Innocent Darkness (Aether Chronicles Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Start of a Stellar New Series
    A hoverboard appeared

    Start of a Stellar New Series

    <blockquote>A hoverboard appeared in her rearview mirror. &quot;This is the Los Angeles Air Patrol,&quot; a voice boomed. &quot;I command you to land your vehicle in the name of the law.&quot;

    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?</blockquote>



    An exhilarating romp with an intriguing cast, set in an era crafted from a jumbled collection of various periods of time, combined with a dash fantasy, and all blended together to create an exceptionally unique era, this book is clearly the beginning of an fantastic journey through an uninhibited world of wild imagination. The year is 1901, but it certainly doesn't match the 1901 of our history. Women are still subjugated, with proper ladies working on their cross stitching, serving tea, and never read anything more mentally stimulating than <strong>Harpers</strong>
    or <strong>Godey's</strong>
    . Much of their time is spent discussing the latest fashions and other inane prattle, especially those in the upper class. Classism still runs rampant, women still wear corsets, and yet they also have technology such as hoverboards and flying cars. Though of course women aren't allowed to pilot them.

    In this social mess, where vapid women are prized, young Miss Magnolia Braddock is considered to be something of a hoyden. Magnolia's upperclass family has fallen upon hard times since her father and his entire structural engineering team disappeared following the great quake in San Francisco. Known as Noli to her mother, older brother Jeff, and best friend/next door neighbor V, she is a young lady who refuses to follow societal conventions. Her Spark that makes her so unique is also what helps get her into her current troubles, unbeknownst to her.  

    Noli is the opposite of what a young woman should be, as she thinks for herself, is as educated as she can get away with, and is more than willing to roll up her sleeves and get dirty doing what she loves best. Her dream is to someday go to university and study botany, but in the meantime she also tinkers with machines. One such project is to restore the Pixy, an old flying automobile her father had planned to fix up, prior to his disappearance. A project that taught her a lot about how mechanical things worked. Had she never restored the Pixy she and V most likely would never have landed in the mess they were currently in.

    The two friends she has are also unconventional. V is her next door neighbor and partner in crime, always taking the blame for whatever scrapes they got into, as well as admiring her from afar. For though he may spend as much time as possible with her he never confesses to his true feelings for her. Charlotte is Noli's lifeline, another labeled young woman who is unashamedly a triangle in a society full of square pegs. She refuses to submit and be remade to fit everyone's expectations of a proper young lady.

    When Noli ends up in Faery, or the Otherworld as they call it, her guide just happens to be Kevighn Silver. The very Fae whose job it is to locate a mortal young woman not only on the cusp of full-blown womanhood, but more importantly one who possesses the Spark. The Spark, that undefinable something which will appease the land for the next seven years. Something went awry at the last offering and now all of Faery is suffering, and even the mundane humans are suffering, though they've yet to notice the changes yet. 

    But things in the Otherworld are not always as they seem. Even the people, or Fae, are not always as they seem. Each character has their own troubles to attend to, and there are many, many surprises along the way. Will V and Noli be able to escape, or is she fated to become the next sacrifice? Noli struggles with the idea that she could yield her life to save hundreds, if not thousands of lives, or she could be selfish and want to escape regardless of the cost to all those depending upon the magic for their very lives. Several of those lives that hang in the balance have become her friends, even in the relatively short amount of time she's been there. Can V figure out a way to rescue Noli? Can Kevighn get to Noli in time? So many questions that demand answers, both internal and external. Thankfully this is part of a series, given all the cliffhangers at the end!

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  • Posted June 30, 2014

    This book starts out amazing. The middle part is a little less k

    This book starts out amazing. The middle part is a little less kick-ass awesome, but it picks up again toward the end. Faeries are awesome, and I loved reading about the Otherworld civilization. Great worldbuilding and writing too. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted June 11, 2013

    Innocent Darkness was an excellent start to my summer reading. S

    Innocent Darkness was an excellent start to my summer reading. Sometimes I will read a book, and think, wow, this is exactly what I have been looking for. This is one of those cases. I devoured Innocent Darkness, and I am very excited to see more of this series in the near future.

    The way that the novel is set-up, the plot is told in three different parts, all of which are connected and referenced. The first part involves the majority of the steampunk, a genre that I recently discovered and fell in love with, and it is done well. A steampunk Los Angeles and San Francisco with hoverboards, flying automobiles and something called air pilots? You had me at steampunk. A great beginning to the story. The second part is more of a Victorian asylum-style finishing school. The positive aspects of this change involve the absolutely brilliant writing of this portion, the darker style that I could not get enough of, and the fact that it is more of a Victorian asylum-style finishing school. How awesome is that? (Not that waterboarding and torturing is awesome, but when you are reading about it...) The third plot portion brings in the faerie world, which also assured excellent writing, steamy romance, and constant page-turning events. The three separate styled plot parts worked well in the way that all three are some of my favorite styles, and the writing was excellent in all of them. The only thing that I did not enjoy as much as that certain aspects that I loved of the book were forgotten. I would have liked to see more steampunk throughout the novel, or even more of the air pilots, since I quite like that idea. Although beautiful, I think the cover can be a bit misleading in this case.

    Still, I can't complain too much, since aside from that, I absolutely loved Innocent Darkness. Noli is a great protagonist, you can really see the spark in her, and that makes her all the more connectable. Kevighn is actually a great character, and Lazear does a good job in making the reader like him even when feeling they shouldn't. I did enjoy V in the beginning, and toward the end I still do, although I feel that some of the decisions that he made did not really match how he is described and shown in the start.

    I was a little disappointed at the ending, as I felt that it led to one of those of-course moments, but I was still satisfied, and I feel that upon continuing the series, good can be made out of those plot decisions. All in all, I feel that Innocent Darkness had a lot of potential from the start, and is a very enjoyable read. The novel kept my interest the entire way through, and I will definitely continue with the series. Would recommend to those who like fantasy, romance, and some steampunk.

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  • Posted June 11, 2013

    I have had this book sitting on my shelf since last autumn and

    I have had this book sitting on my shelf since last autumn and have been letting it loiter around collecting dust for months. I confess that the reason was greatly due to another steampunk I read and didn’t enjoy very much. I don’t have a lot of experience with the genre (this is the second one I’ve tried), so I wasn’t sure if it was just that book or not. Turns out, it was just that book. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one and I plan to pre-order the sequel!

    The plot:

    I thought this was an interesting, fascinating story and it may just be my affinity for faeries, but I had so, so much fun reading this! I did not see most of the twists coming and the suspense was more than adequate to keep me on the edge of my seating dying to know what would happen next!

    The characters:

    Noli is an intelligent, curious girl who is strong without being rebellious or snotty. While she has a brilliant mind and an active imagination, her curiosity can still get her into trouble. She is a loving daughter and a loyal sister in spite of everything and I found her to be both relatable and engaging as an MC.

    There is a love triangle in this story. Normally, that would be a turn-off point for me, but Ms. Lazear has achieved the impossible—she has written a good love triangle. That is to say it was neither cheesy nor cliché and I am highly impressed. This is perhaps the fourth love triangle I have read which I consider to be done well (two were by the same author in the same series and neither ever got past a kiss, so do they still count?).

    V was one corner of the love triangle. Young, dutiful, a good son, a loyal friend, an honest worker, wants only what’s best for Noli and his people—unfortunately, those two things may be exact opposites. I cared very deeply for V and liked how he understood and loved Noli for who she was. He was smart, kind-hearted, and everything a girl should want.

    Kevighn Silver is the other corner of the love triangle. The High Queen’s huntsman, he is a smooth talker who lies as easily as breathing and has a proclivity for opium and scarlet women. He has as many vices as anyone and the attention span of a rabbit when it comes to the opposite sex. But under it all, he has a tragic past and the remnants of a conscience.

    Now would you like to know which team I am on? Well, I’m ashamed to say I’m on Team Kevighn. Why? Good question. An excellent question in fact. I’m not really sure. It’s not as if I’m a fan of the “bad boy” archetype. I think it’s something to do with the way he talks about his sister and the way he tried to protect her and the way he seems to be hiding a lot of pain behind that chevalier exterior. That is not to say that I think Noli should have chosen him in this book—far from it. I am just hoping that the bloke gets his act together and works through his plethora of “issues” so that he and Noli can be together in three books or so.

    This is a wonderful story and I recommend it to 14+ YA readers and lovers of steampunk and fantasy. Suzanne Lazear has created a wonderful world and I can’t wait to return to it in Charmed Vengeance coming in August!

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read that I found myself thi

    I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read that I found myself thinking a
    lot about while not reading. I liked Noli's character and V was not your
    typical hot guy but still very likeable. The only reason I didn't give
    it a 5 was because the ending didn't quite meet my expectations but over
    all, I'd recommend it. It's a fun read. :)

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  • Posted August 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Go read INNOCENT DARKNESS!

    Recently I went to a writer's conference where everyone was debating what the "next big thing" in YA literature was going to be. Some people argued that contemporary is on the rise and it was also suggested that steam punk has yet to see it's day. But what everyone seemed to think was the most probable was a mash-up of some of our perennial favorite genres--a blending of some of our best loved reads. The first thing that came to mind when I heard this was INNOCENT DARKNESS--a steam punk faerie tale. Now, I have to admit that this was my first foray into steam punk and I found it to be very interesting, but what I loved the most was how creative Lazear got with this story. It was very clear that she has her finger on the pulse of this new type hybrid. It is also obvious that INNOCENT DARKNESS is a mix of topics that Lazear really loves and feels passionately about. Steam punk meets the fae is just fun. I can't wait for the next installment to see what happens next. Oh--and Dollymop is my new favorite word!

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