by Suzanne Lazear
Rating: I liked it/Good
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.
Before I got this via Netgalley, I was so psyched! Steampunk? Horrible Boarding School? Mysterious man? Sacrifice? Sounded like a recipe for success in my book. Sadly, no. While reading I was hooked. I kept wanting to go back for more. But after reading I just felt kind of "meh". The plot itself if what hooked me in, but there were many things that bugged me.
I think Innocent Darkness started off good. You've got your rebellious teenage girl who goes against the social norm (Go Noli!). Girl and her geekishly cute best friend get into lots of fun shenanigans. Girl gets sent to crazily strict boarding school. Beating ensues. Enter gorgeous man. And through the portal they go! Sounds fun huh? And it was.
I wasn't in love with Noli but I did like her rebellious nature. She was just trying to make money to help her mom even if fixing objects wasn't what a girl should do. Her determination was admirable. And I felt absolutely awful for her when she went to the boarding school.
I also liked her best friend V initially. A bit cliche, but I like the whole friend turned love interest. It's cute. He was endearing with all his geekiness and a good and caring friend to Noli.
The boarding school was well-written because the author really gave off the feeling of despair. It was a horrible place with a creepy doctor and sadistic teachers.
Not really steampunk: I mean, yeah, it's there at the beginning, but then the rest of the book takes place at the boarding school and in the Otherworld so don't expect much steampunk.
Kevign: He wasn't really awful. He was in some ways alluring. However, I just wish he was more so. I wish he gave off a more mysterious, dark, dangerous and enticing atmosphere. He had some allure to him, but nothing to make me fall for his dark persona. I wish he was more like the Darkling from Shadow and Bone. Now thats seductive done right.
The last half: As I said, I liked the first half well enough. I felt bad for Noli and I liked V and was interested in Kevign. However, after a while, it got very repetitive. If I had to read the sentence "opium and soft women" one more time I was going to punch someone. Not to mention, it got very...risque. It just didn't really fit. It's not to say they were bad or anything (though one part was...interesting?) it's just the tone felt very different from the first half. It was definitely more for older audiences. I don't feel like the transition was well done. If the writing was like that throughout it would've been a different story. The first half was more innocent and then V changes and Bam! To be honest, I don't really know how to describe it without giving things away. Let's just say I didn't like the change in V or the storyline. Also, I saw the ending coming.
It's good. Some will like it more than others. While I saw a great disconnect between the first half and the second half, there are many people who simply fell head over heels for this book. Also, there is no doubt in my mind some will find Kevign intriguing. Sadly, I didn't. I thought I would like V but in the end he changed for the worse in my opinion. Overall, I liked it, but sadly didn't fall in love with it like I was hoping.
All the best ♥