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Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles)

Innocent Darkness  - Suzanne Lazear Every seven years, the Otherworld requires the sacrifice of a young girl with the Spark, otherwise the fae and their world die. The thing is the Otherworld is connected to the real world in that it's the source of all human creativity. In the real world girls aren't supposed to be too creative, but Noli certainly is. After getting into serious trouble she sent to a reform school where she suffers humiliations and physical punishments—choking, suffocation, whippings…in other words torture—with the goal of turning her into a proper lady. On a midsummer eve Noli finds herself all alone. It's then she makes a wish to be anywhere else but there, and the faery tree grants her wish. All the stories her best friend Steven once told her about faeries suddenly become real. Magnolia 'Noli' Braddock is a smart, creative, and willful young woman, something not at all acceptable for a lady of her times. I loved her attitude, and her love for mechanics and building stuff. Yet this is somehow lost once she steps into the Otherworld. She's still determined to return home back home to her mother no matter all the fey offer her, but she still is the love-struck fool easily distracted by Kevighn or Steven's attention. I liked her friend Charlotte a lot more than Noli. Even after being abused by her uncle (and no doubt the reform school doc) Charlotte can still see the positive side of things. She loves to flirt, but is not that easily swayed by Kevighn, and she tells Noli to get her feelings in order. You tell her Charlotte! Steven Darrow, or as Noli calls him V, is a fae prince in exile. Ever since Noli left for school he's had a bad feeling. Something tells him that the High Queen's huntsman has Noli. So off he goes to rescue Noli, and be all princely and fabulous. Yet, he somehow ends up a bit pervy too. Don't get me wrong, I loved Steven and I'm no prude like Noli, but I honestly felt that scene unnecessary. But that's alright, Kevighn Silver still wins the medal for most perv character ever encountered, and he's supposed to be part of this love triangle. He's most disgustingly known as Kevighn Woman-Maker because of all the many girls he has deflowered. He's a perv, a rake, an opium addict, and did I mention a perv? And after all that I'm supposed to believe he loves Noli? Hell no. Even while he's proclaiming his love for her, he's still saying things like "oh it's too bad she has to be the sacrifice, but at least I can make her final days full of joy and pleasure." Ugh. I really didn't get why his point of view appeared in the story at all, other than to disgust and annoy me. If I hear the words "opium and soft women" one more time, I'll blow something up. I've concentrated this review on the characters because nothing else stood out in the story. I was so excited at the beginning with all the steampunk and aether talk, but then that's the only place where they appear. Steampunk elements were few and not of importance, except for the flying car at the beginning which is the cause of Noli getting sent away. I have to admit I'd never heard of steam-powered flying cars and solar-powered hoverboards, and I wish they'd played a bigger part. But most of the story takes place in the Otherworld where the only steampunk thing is the Queen's dog. Innocent Darkness started out with such a drive that I was immediately hooked with the story and the characters, yet somewhere along the way (probably when Kevighn appeared) my interest evaporated (probably for the lack of steampunk and the overuse of silly love) and the innocent part blew right out the window (probably when Steven turned pervy too).*I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher*