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Review of “Innocent Darkness” by Suzanne Lazear

innocent_darkness

I read little Fantasy. I don’t read much Steampunk. I read so little Young Adult (hereafter YA) that you could just as easily say I read none.  So why am I reading and reviewing a YA Steampunk Fantasy novel? Funny you should ask, because that’s the most important bit of this blog post. I “met” the author, Suzanne Lazear, when she conducted a Twitter chat a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of her or her books before that night. She was so forthcoming, entertaining, and interesting in the chat that I’d ordered the first book in “The Aether Chronicles” before the chat was finished. Ladies and gentlemen of the pen, this is how you gain fans. You engage them and show them that you know your stuff.

Okay, on to the review. As always, plot points will be mostly ignored. I’m never fond of reviews that give away the plot.

Magnolia “Noli” Braddock and her best friend Steven “V” Darrow live in an alternative world version of  Los Angeles in 1901. After an incident with a flying car she didn’t have permission – or the licence—to fly, Noli is sent away to a hellish boarding school. There she meets Charlotte and – be still, my bad-boy loving heart – Kevighn. a Huntsman sent by the High Queen of the Otherworld to bring back a mortal girl to sacrifice to the magic. Without that sacrifice,  the Otherworld will cease to exist.  And so will human creativity. High stakes indeed.

I have to say my favourite character is Kevighn. He could have been a straight-up villain, but in Ms. Lazear’s hands, he’s not.  He has depth and emotion and some sort of twisty backstory with V’s family that I hope will be explored in the rest of the series. I’ve already ordered the second book, “Charmed Vengeance.”

“Innocent Darkness”  is an exciting, sometimes funny, sometimes shiver-inducing novel. The characters have layers, faults, and strengths. The plot is entertaining. The writing itself (something I tend to notice more than some readers – and less than others, if I’m honest) is quite good. I enjoyed this book immensely.

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