Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1)
Publication: 8th August 2012
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
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.
This book has been on my wishlist for quite a while now, and I remember when I first saw the copy, I instantly fell in love with it and it only made me want to read it more.
I love the world that Lazear has created with this story, the mix of steampunk and fantasy created a great balance that made Noli's story intensely intriguing.
Whatever happened, she could not allow them to catch her, nor could a single drop of her blood spill upon the groundI loved Noli, she's a strong female character who helped look after her mother after her father disappeared and her brother is away working, but being set in 1901 females aren't expected to work and so Noli's mother is frowned upon for owning and working in her dress shop to support them both.
Noli likes to fix mechanical things and gardening, and with the help of her best friend Steven 'V' manages to get them both into a lot of trouble, none more so than when she fixes up her dad's old car and takes it out flying, Noli doesn't have a license and since she's already been in trouble with the police before when she get's stopped by the police this time they show no leniency and sentence Noli to a reform school 'Finlay House.
But not all is what it seems there, the facade that Miss Gregory presents when Noli is brought to the school by her mother and their local policeman hides a lot of abuse and torture plus a male doctor who shows a bit too much attention to the girls, 'good girls' get treated better but to be them you almost become mindless drones.
Noli makes friends with Charlotte and together they help each other through their time in Finlay House, Noli gets to spend her time gardening where she finds a faery garden hidden away unbeknown to her what it is, it isn't until Charlotte is taken away by her abusive uncle and Noli is tortured again that she finds solace in the 'faery tree' where she wishes to be anywhere but there that she ends up in the Otherworld.
Keveighn the Huntsmen who has been hunting for a mortal girl with the 'spark' (someone who has a lot of creativity) finds her in the Otherworld and takes her back to his cabin, where he falls in love with her.
The land relied on the blood sacrifice every seven mortal years to nourish her and keep the magic aliveNoli starts to develop feelings too until she finds out the truth of why she's really there and what Keveighn's job really is, V comes to rescue Noli and it seems that Keveighn isn't the only one keeping secrets, V has been hiding something big from her.
Through it all the only thing that Noli wants is to go home to her mother.
"For reasons unbeknownst to me, I could easily fall for you, if I let myself-even though I know better."I loved the ending, it was a bit of a shock and I really can't wait to find out what occurs next in Noli's life.
I give this 4/5.
A Big Thanks To Flux And NetGalley.