Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear is a beautiful blending of Steampunk originality, faerie lore, and historical fiction with a heavy dose of action and romance.
When spirited sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock and her best friend Steven “V” Darrow take a flying car out for a joyride, neither expects Noli to be sent to reform school to mend her hoyden ways. While at the dreadful school, Noli’s innocent mid-summer’s eve wish summons Kevighn, a mysterious man who takes Noli with him to the Realm of Faerie. At first Noli believes she has been rescued. But the sinister reason behind the handsome huntsman’s appearance quickly become clear–he wants to use Noli as a blood sacrifice to restore his dying world. V, who has secrets of his own, shows up to help Noli escape and return to the mortal realm–but first, they must navigate the dangerous intrigues of the Otherworld.
If they are successful, Noli will live. But if Noli lives, the entire Otherworld civilization will die.
Lazear’s brilliant blending of genres is a winning success. Not normally a fan of faerie stories, I was completely swept away by her original twist on this classic lore. Equally engaging is the creative license she takes with real-life events. The alternate history and Steampunk technology creates a world that is unique all on its own. When Lazear combines this world with her own take on faerie lore, she creates an in-depth, layered universe for her characters to populate.
Innocent Darkness is also chock-full of smoldering romance and intense sexy chemistry between Noli and her two potential paramours, V and Kevighn. Readers, much like Noli, will have a hard time choosing between the two unlikely suitors.
Though slow at times, Innocent Darkness is a complex story with plenty for readers to devour: Noli’s hardships at reform school, her discovery of the faerie realm, V’s quest to save his best friend, and the challenge of saving herself without destroying an entire world.
Fantasy, romance, history, and the oh-so-magical world of Steampunk collide in this delightful debut novel. Innocent Darkness is in stores August 8th.