Being brutally honest about books

Monday, 11 August 2014

Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Lazear

Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles, #1)
Date finished: 10 August 2014

Steampunk and faeries - two things that interest me and the two things that made me read this book. These elements wouldn't normally go together, but in this novel they do. And they complement each other. The concept is a fantastic one, literally.

I liked Noli as the heroine, since she is the average "strong female character" that is found in most YA books, but she wasn't a walking cliché, like so many are. She's just a really cool girl, the type you want to hug and be friends with. And I appreciated that. From the cover, I was worried that the book might be a bit crap, with an intriguing concept and a boring protagonist, but that was not the case. As well as Noli, I also liked V and Charlotte (although her character was a little clichéd) and sympathised with Kevign. With characters I liked, I thought I was going to enjoy this novel very much.

The plot was also quite good. It was unpredictable and made me want to read more. However, it could have done with more hints and twists to make the book really stand out. I think that would have been an improvement. The book was a little long and not too much happened, as there was so much description and analysis of emotions of the characters. I think there should have been less of that and more foreshadowing and giving hints about who certain characters are, for example, Queen Tiana. It would have been much more exciting for the reader to put the pieces together and realise that she is V's mother, instead of being told.

The writing itself was pretty average, and there were a few editing mistakes or typos. I wasn't wowed by the author, which would have been okay, except that she did too much telling and not enough showing. I know that that is difficult to do, but it doesn't hurt to try. As I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of description, which is fair enough for a book with a fantasy setting, but I felt like there was too much. I'm more of a dialogue and action person, myself. And the inner monologues - I don't mind them in general, but I felt, especially towards the end of the book, that they got repetitive. We don't need to know everything about the characters. They are allowed to keep their secrets and remain mysterious even to the reader! Oh, and sometimes the language was too modern - I saw "guys" and "okay" used between more authentic terms, when the book is set in 1901, albeit an alternate 1901. I think the author was too worried about the plot and setting to put more effort into her style and accuracy, which is a shame, because this book could have been worth four stars, if the writing were better quality.

All in all, Innocent Darkness is a good book, but not a great book. It's interesting enough, but doesn't have the wow factor to get a higher rating from me. If you like steampunk and/or faeries, as I do, and want to read something that follows the girl-accidentally-wakes-up-in-another-world trope without being clichéd, you should read it. Just don't blame me if you don't love it.
I'm Alexandria, a 19-year-old reader/writer/blogger from New Zealand. I love language, history, and sci-fi. Hi! I'm always around if you want to talk, which you can do via comments, the contact form, or Facebook.

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