Suzanne Lazear at RWA last summer and instantly preordered Innocent Darkness for my Kindle. When it arrived, I dove right in.
As the title implies, this YA is pretty dark. Since it's steampunk the story takes place during the Victorian era when many freaky things happened, most people don't talk about.
Noli, the heroine, is sent to a reform school in San Fransisco after being caught flying a car illegally (illegal because she's a girl and she doesn't have a license.) There's some pretty scary things that happen there, like water-boarding and other "treatments" that are considered barbaric this day and age.
However she escapes the hellish prison into the faerie world through a portal where she is trapped by Kevighn, the high faerie queen's huntsman. There's a little love triangle that's formed between Kevighn and Steven, her neighbor from back home in LA. Noli is thrown into all sorts of challenging situations and adventures.
So what did I think?
For being my first steampunk, it wasn't too bad. I think this book is a great intro to the genre for people who have never read before and would like to try it out. The faerie element is much stronger than the steampunk. The old lore is beautifully woven throughout. Reminded me a lot of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, but with a steampunk spin. Yes, the story is dark, but there is a sweet innocent undertone which lightens the book a bit.
The romantic elements are very strong and though the book is PG, there is a scene that is a bit steamy and not the in punk kind of way.
Though I found some of the twists predictable, I enjoyed fun ride. The imagery was stunning and I felt like I took a trip through the Otherworld. Looking forward to reading book two. Hello, I need to know what happens to Noli, Steven, & Kevighn!!!
You can purchase your own copy here.