When I first heard about this book I was instantly intrigued because, as I will admit, I am a little bit addicted to anything Fae. Add a gorgeous cover and synopsis and hey presto! you have a recipe for greatness. Or do you? Well in the case of INNOCENT DARKNESS, it so happens you do!
Sixteen year old Magnolia Braddock, or Noli, lives at home with her mother. She enjoys tinkering with her brother Jeff's old flying car and has a handsome best friend by the name of Steven Darrow, or 'V' as she calls him. Only thing is, much as Noli enjoys fixing things up and trying to help her mother round the house, it doesn't stop her getting into trouble - and taking out Jeff's old Pixy without a licence, failing to stop for the police and then crashing it into the garden is the last straw. Noli's hoyden ways have landed her well and truly in it this time. Her mother can no longer cope and so Noli is sent to reform school at Findlay House to straighten herself out.
Her mother may never have sent her there if only she had realised just what awaited Noli behind closed doors. Whether it was the leers from the doctor, the stints she did in the Sensory Deprivation Tank or the times the horrid woman in charge nearly drowned Noli - her mother clearly wouldn't have been happy knowing these things were happening to her daughter. But of course, she'd never find out because the girls weren't allowed outside contact. No phone calls. No letters. No visits. Nothing.
Noli managed to make one friend within the walls of Findlay, her name was Charlotte. She was in there because her awful Uncle abused her and her mother found out, so she thought that Charlotte would be better where he couldn't get to her.
One day, the girls are in the little secluded fairy garden when a man looks through the fence and introduces himself. His name is Kevighn Silver. Little do the girls know, Kevighn is the High Queen's Huntsman and
every 7 years she needs him to find a Sacrifice- this is a young girl who possesses the Spark. He goes out and finds them, seduces them and then the magic binds them and they die in order to replenish the land. This, is what Kevighn has in mind when he sees the girls that day. He knows they both possess the Spark, but will either of them go with him?
After a particularly bad day at Findlay, Noli finds herself hiding in the tree in the fairy garden. She makes a wish that she was anywhere but there and that is exactly what happens. The tree transports her to the land of the Fae. She hadn't really thought that the tree could transport her anywhere, she was just thinking out loud. She certainly didn't think that she'd end up somewhere she didn't recognise and with Kevighn Silver, of all people. That's what comes with her having made a wish on the Solstice, her wish was granted, just not in any way she could imagine.
Kevighn convinces her to come back to his home with him. He says he can help her. So she goes with him, but she still doesn't really realise where she is or what's going on. All she knows is she isn't at Findlay any more and she doesn't know how to get home from wherever she is. She has hopes that Kevighn has the knowledge of how to get her home.
Noli asks Kevighn to help her get home and he does little to try to actually help. He just side-steps her questions and distracts her with trinkets and stories and such. He's hoping that the longer she is there, the magic will come and bind her. But he doesn't tell her the real truth about the Sacrifice, he doesn't want to scare her off. He wants to seduce her with his good looks and charm, then she will be what is needed and the land will be replenished before they all fade away and die..
But Kevighn didn't know what he was letting himself in for. Noli is not the kind of girl to take things lying down. She's feisty and she wants nothing more than to get home. There are times when he manages to distract her, but she's a girl with her own mind and she knows what she wants.
Kevighn didn't expect her to be so unlike the other girls. They were easy to distract and came willingly to his bed, thus meaning they give themselves to him and without knowing it, they give themselves to the land and become the much needed sacrifice.
This is a truly remarkable story that I was head over heels for from the first page. It's fast-paced and well timed. It has fun, it has action and it has two lovely boys who are very hard to choose between. I think I may just be a bit more of an advocate for Kevighn though, but that's in line with my bad-boy addiction.
I can't, or don't want to believe places like Findlay House would have existed. It struck me right in my heart and my gut when the Doctor puts her through "treatments" - whether she's in the sensory deprivation tank or almost being drowned, it hurts to see and feel Noli in such a dire situation.
I love all the characters and feel that they are developing at a decent rate, they aren't overly rushed. I think Suzanne Lazear knows exactly what she wants from the characters and how to get them there. Yet I think that somehow, they also play out at their own rate and take Suzanne where they want to go too. It's a delicate balance between the two and I feel she has it just right.
I enjoyed the story very much, though there were times when Noli had a really rough ride and I was getting upset and frustrated on her behalf because she couldn't see what was coming. I look very much forward to the next book and to seeing where Noli ends up.
Suzanne has you on the edge all the time. There's moments where you can laugh out loud, moments where you want to strangle someone, moments where you want to cry for Noli and a lot of other things that happen in between. There's stolen moments of intimacy that just add another dimension to the story. Should she just give up on going home and stay with Kevighn? Should she give in to her urges and not care that it means she's a hoyden after all? Should she give up on V or should she wait?? You are kept guessing and questioning things along the way. My heart wanted her to go with Kevighn, my head told me she shouldn't. After all, he is the Huntsman for the High Queen. All that he did for her was out of duty... Wasn't it? Whereas V, he's her best friend, he wouldn't hurt her... would he?
Suzanne has fast become an author that I really rate and will look forward to reading books from in future. she isn't someone whom you can easily forget because her book packs a mean punch. She's a clever and tricky woman. In fact, I think she's a fairy because you get trapped in her land and can't seem to find an escape. Do I really want to escape is the question I should be asking myself. The answer is, no, I don't think I do!
As you can probably tell, I loved this story and I am having a hard time shutting up about it. But I'll stop here and just tell you, you need to read this book. If there is any "must-buy" book this year, Innocent Darkness is it!show more
by Keren Kiesslinger