Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected Publication: November 13th, 2012 by G.P. Putnam Sons BYR
A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
Black City has such a unique take on vampires that it pretty much blew me away. It worked very well, but it took me a little while to feel like I really grasped it and understood how the vampires worked. I felt like I was thrown in the deep end of the pool at first. So I can assure you that there's no info dumps and by the halfway mark I was finally feeling like I understood how the Darkling's work. How they are different races, etc. And I loved it! But I didn't love feeling confused for so much of the first half in regards to the Darklings.
I really enjoyed the dystopian element to the book as well and the dark dreary world presented. I liked it, I could imagine it all very well, but somehow it didn't quite blow me away. I'm not sure why that is though.
Ash and Natalie are good characters and I liked them both a lot. But I can't say they really wow'ed me until the last bit of the book. They start out with this intense hatred for each other, which always annoys me. But when things change it happened so fast, they went from hatred to kissing. I didn't really grasp the whole bit when the tide was changing. And honestly I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I guess I'm happy that it avoided a whole ton of drama. At least at that point because some drama does occur that I would normally say was unnecessary and just a plot device to add tension, but in that bit of drama was a big revelation that actually was really good. So I can forgive the bit I would normally say I hate. I'm curious to see what others think of that bit though.
One thing I really liked is the growth of the characters. Natalie is never afraid to defy her mom and think for herself but she still has a lot to learn. Her eyes finally start to open and she sees the horrible segregation and inequality going on around her. The atrocity's the government is committing. And she never has hesitation in doing what she knows is the right thing. And Ash starts out just wanting to protect his own hide but learns that protecting others and standing up for what is right is more important. He sees that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and that there's more inside him than he ever thought.
The end of the book was done very very well. While I didn't have any trouble setting the book down in the first half, the second half I read straight through. And the way that the conclusion came about set afire all the crazy emotions I want in a book. Especially a paranormal dystopian that features a forbidden romance. It definitely delivered. And there wasn't a major cliffhanger, thank goodness!
So the book wasn't perfect, but I still really enjoyed it and definitely recommend it!