Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected Publication: November 13th, 2012 by G.P. Putnam Sons BYR
Source: Borrowed
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!

Disclosure: I borrowed an ARC of the book from a friend.  The final edition may have some changes to it.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

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  1. I saw this book on the WOW meme for sometime but then the buzz went away so I wasn’t sure if that meant reviewers didn’t like or what. I’m a bit curious about how vamps are handled but after not being blown away by “Immortals” which has a similar feel to it (at least from the description and review), I think I’m going to wait on this one. Love the cover though!

  2. Yay! I’m glad you liked this one, Candace! I haven’t seen a lot of buzz around it, so I wasn’t sure if it was worth looking into. Dystopian vampires sound like a really cool combination, and it’s a set-up that I’ve read and enjoyed before.

  3. I am a sucker for a forbidden love story so I am so glad this one did pick up in the second half and you liked the characters a little more.

    Great review Candace!

  4. OOh nice! I have been excited for this one for awhile now! I tried requesting an ARC but never heard back, so I just plan to wait to buy the book now I suppose! Great review!

  5. I am always looking for something new and different so I will definitely keep this in mind. I like that it has something new to offer on vamps and I love the cover!

  6. I’m so glad to know this one picks up after a slightly confusing beginning, I have really high hopes for it! Paranormal dystopian + forbidden romance = I NEED IT NOW! Super excited to get my hands on this book, thanks for the awesome review Candace!

  7. Another gorgeous cover! Actually, I think I picked it up because of the cover, not even looking at the blurb. I’m a cover whore. What can I say. Good to hear that it’s awesome.

  8. Oh yay! I have this one coming up for review soon and I found it weird that I hadn’t seen any reviews on it yet, but it sounds so unique with great character development! I’m also super curious about the ending I love when they leave an impression! Great review, Candace!

  9. Wow…I was so sure you were leading up to a 3 star rating as I read your review! That second half must have really blown you away. I like the idea of a unique vampire tale…Vampires feel so “old” to me now. I’ll keep an eye out for this one.

  10. I’ve been on the fence about this one, simply because I read so many mixed reviews, but I think I’ll be adding this one back to my TBR-Shelf now. I love that the second-half blew you away and although I hate that you had to wait so long, it seems worth it. Plus, the cover is just GORGEOUS! Yet another amazing review, Candace! 😀

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