Into Aether by L.M. Fry

Sometimes, YA books can really hit a low by smacking every cliche on the cliche tree. With Into Aether, unfortunately, we have a really unpleasant book. Insta luv, bratty and unlikable main character, super perfect boy who inexplicably thinks poor behavior is attractive, ill defined world, and logic holes you could pilot a blimp through. This isn’t even steampunk!

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Story: Theo is your average every day raging hormone obnoxious teen – a little speshul princess who spends all day on the cellphone gossiping with her bestie and who thinks the world owes her everything. When her mother doesn’t return from a business trip overseas, she decides to take a mysterious and unknown person’s offer to fly across the world to ‘get’ her mother. She brings along her clueless Aunt, who is also raging with hormones and hitting on a hot chauffeur. But lo and behold, they are taken to a mysterious island with Irish fae trappings. Because Theo is speshul – fortunately, there is a hot emerald eyed Irish ‘prince’ to gawk at and be rude to while expecting to be fawned upon.

Early in the book, when Theo is flying to a foreign country and should be worried about her mother, she is instead wandering what it would be like to kiss the hot guy who randomly showed up at her door. That pretty much was the rest of the book – a middle grade level ‘adventure’ that makes no sense and demonstrates really poor character building. Granted, we all expect teens to be contrary. But we should also be able to respect their decisions and at least see creative writing to explain speshulness or attraction. None of that was to be found here – it was like reading a story glorifying the most obnoxious, annoying, and mean popular girls in high school. Because hey, let’s make them unique snowflakes by giving them a random history in generic Irish mythology.

The ‘aether’ in the title and the blimp cover are misleading. This really isn’t steampunk and I don’t believe the author has a grasp of the concept or the milieu. Setting a ‘hidden’ steampunkish island in modern trapping is egregious and makes little sense. The allure of steampunk is its historical basis and that the modern world never developed as it did with gas engines and electricity. So I was left wholly unimpressed with the randomness of the world building.

About half way through, I began to skim just to get to the end. I disliked all the characters, the smarmy plot, and unimaginative writing. The characters were so two dimensional as to be paper thin. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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