Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
*headdesk* Why oh why do I do this to myself? I knew about halfway through that this was going to be one of those books that I was going to regret reading, but did I stop reading? Nope! That's because I still have this ridiculous need to reach the end of a book in the vain hopes that the story will get better, the characters will be less annoying, that it will stop being so gosh darned feeble and tedious. BUT THEY NEVER DO!!!
To be fair this book started out ok. It was never going to be amazing, or knock my socks off, but it held a certain amount of promise. I was intrigued by the Steampunk/faerie mix, two genres I enjoy and hoped would work well together. And they did for a while. Then all the other stuff started getting in the way.
The plot was nothing special. Headstrong girl unwilling to conform to social standards gets in trouble. She gets sent to an institution full of stereotypes, from the mean girls out to get anyone they see as a threat to the evil teachers deluded into thinking their way is what's best for everyone when in fact they're just plain psychotic. There was even a pervy doctor for crying out loud. This cast of completely unoriginal characters then do their up most to quash all of the things that make the girl 'special'.
Then we have the faery element. A sacrifice of a girl possessing a 'special' quality so that they can lavish her with wonders and trinkets, make her feel like a princess then kill her to restore the balance of the world. Guess who the lucky girl is. The rest of the book is spent twatting about not actually telling a story. Rather it turns into the Kevighn-Noli-Steven show, the plot taking the back seat to the inevitable love-triangle. Oh goody.
That being said, the plot might not have been too bad, if it hadn't kept being so over the top and forced. The author just seemed to be trying too hard to shock, rather than taking the time to build an atmosphere or explore a situation.
And the characters!!! Utterly generic. The main character had promise, but by the end she had turned into one of the simpering ninnies she was trying so desperately to avoid. The last third of the book she spends hurt, upset or crying. Most of the time all three. What happened to the strong girl who liked to fix machines and didn't want to end up a mindless drone? Enter the love interests. As soon as the males vying for her affections had been identified, it all went tits up. There was endless prattling on about out which one was better, which one should she choose, which one was the least dickish. Even when she made her choice, 100% and completely decided which one she wanted, she still faffed about, even though she declared that she had made up her mind. A. Nnoy. ING. I don't give a rats ass who, just PICK ONE GODDAMMIT!!!! The worst part is it's a split narrative, meaning we have to hear from the boys point of view, which included hearing about how amazing she is, how much they want her, how much they want to protect her, blah, blah, blah.
By the end of the book the girl has absolutely no spine left whatsoever and is more than happy to let one of her boys shower her with affection one moment, then push her away to next (most of the time literally). Then she lets him do it, all over again. Now, she says she will ignore him, that after trying to tell him how she felt and getting it thrown back in her face, she won't let him toy with her emotions anymore. Literally two sentences later she's letting him pull her into his lap for a hug. But it's ok, she doesn't help him pull her into his lap, she makes him do all the work. Thatta girl. You stand firm!!! Oh yeah and then she starts crying. What a shock.
Her characters are also all stupid. For the sake of the story, there are things they don't think of or miss, so it can be revealed as a big plot twist later on, but they are so glaringly obvious they just come across as feckless idiots. How many times did they repeat, 'be careful when making deals with the fae'? but they missed out one of the most important terms of their bargain, even though they apparently went over all the points in theirs heads over and over. They still missed it. How stupid can you get? There was also a lot of fobbing off in the narrative. A lot of cliches thrown in, a botch job at covering up the holes in the plot, so the author didn't have to try to explain inconsistencies. Some examples were lines like, 'I was trying to protect you' and, dammit I can't remember any more. That's how quickly my brain wants to be rid of this book.
There is also the fact that the ending just kind of fizzles out. A solution is reached in rather lack lustre fashion, again with more stupidity on the part of the characters, the lead in particular, but it just carries on...and gets really stupid. Plus, for some reason, the author refused to stop writing about a character when his part in the plot was over long before the ending. The only reason he remained was most likely to retain the 'excitement and drama' of the love triangle. As it had already failed to begin with, there was absolutely no need to follow the continued escapades of the man who lost. Especially when he just ended up in a brothel.
Then it turned into a seedy porn fest. Nothing up to 'Fifty Shades' standards, but it was just unnecessary and cringe-worthy. Not all females want or need soft porn in their books to enjoy them. I did NOT need an chapterly update of the goings on in the main characters nether regions.
The overuse of the word 'dollymop' made me want to hit things.
Oh heck, there's more, but that goes against my non spoiler giving principles. Heaven forbid I ruin it for you just in case you still decide to pick this up.
Suffice it to say I shall not be reading the further adventures of Noli the insipid.
Wow, that was harsh.
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