Random Jordan's Reviews > Innocent Darkness

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
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's review
Jul 24, 2012

liked it

I pulled out my awesome goggles for this one, because well, I’ve always had an unusual fascination for all things steampunk. The fashions alone are just my absolute favorite, especially the more Victorian touches. So when I came across one book which literally was described as a ‘Steampunk Faerie Tale’ I was on that thing like well… I always hated those clichés, like white on rice. So let’s just move on. The book is called Innocent Darkness and once again it is apparently going to be the first of a series.

Faerie tales alone tend to catch my eye, but when I can come across something with an alternate history steampunk variety it just gets even more fun, like putting steampunk in my Castle or Firefly. Out of the gate with this book, I rushed the first couple of chapters because I was just so excited to be reading a steampunk faerie tale! Looking back I can hardly remember the beginning other than the main character, Noli, a rather rambunctious sixteen year old girl, finished building a freaking car with wings and decided to fly it, which resulted in her crashing it and getting arrested. Oh, and I just about died that the car was called a ‘pixie’ because of its wings. Since I could totally see that being the name of a car brand if we had flying cars. Now coming in 2013! The Ford Pixie!

Anyway, the further I got in the more the simple child-like excitement of reading a Steampunk Faerie Tale started to fade. It quickly became apparent that the author took a literal approach to ‘Faerie Tale’, in which the story is actually about Fae and the Faerie World. Through a series of silly events the main character ends up in the Fae world but for a rather interesting and unusual task that the main character isn’t aware she is supposed to do at first. You see in this particular Faerie World, the world feeds itself off of the life force of a girl just on the verge of womanhood, killing her but granting seven more years of life to the entire Faerie World, including all the Fae that live in it.

This was a bizarre and different concept I hadn’t seen before with Faerie stories that I found rather exciting and it managed to revive my interest in the series as I read further. I did rather skip over most of the ‘romance’ parts in the book, but that was mostly because they were all rather obvious to me. These days I like my romance to be confusing and crazy, with multiple possible outcomes that you really don’t know which one the main character will end up with in the end. It’s how I always write my romance and it’s the only romance I truly enjoy because it makes it more like a detective novel. This one was obvious from the beginning that she was going to end up with the handsome but lovable best friend that really was a Fae Prince all along. And trust me, I am not ruining anything for you by mentioning that. The author kind of just throws it in your face out of nowhere that her best friend had really been a Fae all along, when she could have very easily dropped such fun hints along the way first to give people a chance to guess and then feel smart.

No matter what though, the story itself brought some brilliant ideas to the table and ones I never would have thought of, which leaves me to believe this was certainly a story to be written. And I say that because I’ve always held the firm belief that every story is worth reading, but not every story is worth being written. There are always good and bad things to every story crafted. Guaranteed I can gush about how well something was done with a Stephen King novel but then also mention how I didn’t like this and that about it, simply because no one is perfect with their story-writing. Well, except me of course, right?

Although a lot of the story was obvious to me, even with not always knowing the terminology that was used in the story, I still enjoyed the read and I particularly took amusement with the High Queen of the Faerie Court whom was quite literally a Steampunk version of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. In fact I’m almost sure that was where the inspiration for that Queen came from for the author. The ending lacked a little power, but mostly because it was all rather obvious by the time it got to the ending that I just didn’t even need to read it to know what would happen, except for one rather large twist that I won’t spoil.

If it hadn’t been for the fact that the Faerie Land was a Queendom, then I largely would have been annoyed more than anything with the very male-centric, misogynistic mentality that the novel took, even with what was supposed to be a strong female protagonist. I do still in some way feel that the ending was silly, as it felt like the author was saying to all the teenagers reading this, no matter what you do, eventually you will conform to society’s standards so that you can live in it, even if you don’t mean to. And I’m always ticked off by those kinds of hidden messages in books (Hint Hint TWILIGHT). But the story itself was interesting, added to the particular landscape and world that the author had crafted giving some stellar design that amused me, but maybe that was because I was simply getting distracted by the pretty things, much like the main character did, every time she met a Fae.

I’m still kind of up in the air with this one. I enjoyed it in the in-the-moment reading of it, but the more and more I reflect on it, the more I grow frustrated with what I discover in it. I would definitely relegate this novel to just a read and forget type to pick out the more revolutionary ideas that are swimming in it, but not to dig deep into the actual story. Either way Suzanne Lazear managed to amuse me and stun me with steampunk faeries and that is definitely not something I will forget anytime soon. Check out Innocent Darkness if you at all have a love of Faeries or Steampunk, you’ll definitely enjoy it, even if it is a Young Adult novel. Though it isn’t scheduled to hit stores for another month and a half unfortunately.

Oh, and don’t forget your goggles, it will definitely be a wild and bumpy ride.

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