Author: Elizabeth Richards
Series: Black City #1
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Reading Level: Young Adult (14+)
Pages: 384 (ARC)
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.
I really... have no idea how to describe what is going on in my mind right now. This book has so much potential and it is such a huge shame that it falls flat. The enormous amount of cliches littered throughout this tale hinders it from its true potential.
I'm going to start off by saying that I thought I was reading some type of a vampire romance story that I grew tired of many years ago. Darklings, in my opinion, are too similar to vampires in the sense that they have fangs, they survive off blood, they mate, they normally don't have heartbeats, and they can't be near the sun. Then they have further oddities like wings or orange eyes or white hair and webbed feet depending on the type of Darkling they are. To put it simply, this creature got old fast. So the potential awesomeness of Darklings was quickly lost on me as I read because I just couldn't handle with the absurd similarities. This is a poorly disguised vampire story that is not being marketed as one because we all know that they are no longer looked upon favorably.
Then there was the romance. This book pretty much follows Romeo and Juliet's story, though there are some differences. In either sense, I'm totally down for the star-crossed lovers take, but that's only if it is done well. This one was not done well. There was insta-love to the extreme. The characters went from truly despising each other to lovingeach other. And to think, all it took was a hard smack to both of their heads...literally. If the realization and declaration of love was held off and paced more realistically, I think this book could have been a lot better.
The dystopian world was interesting. It had remnants of the Berlin Wall to me. It was there to keep the people in just as much as it was there to keep the baddies out. So, yes, I did find the dystopian concept of this novel to be intriguing, but I wish it was explored more. This novel was more or less overshadowed by the romance, so I didn't get as firm of a grasp for the world as I wish I did. There's an evil ruler who is ruling the government as well as the church, I got that, and that's about it. The oppressive government in this one had a lot of potential with the usage of Emissaries to watch certain parts. I wish the politics was explored more.
Lastly, the characterization. I really liked Ash, and that's about it. He was complex, odd, intruiging and slightly scary all at once. He was truly one of a kind, ostracized because of it, fighting on both sides of the war because he is both human and Darkling. Since the book is told in a dual narrative, I really only enjoyed his. And I enjoyed his a lot more before he realized that he and Natalie were a thing because his judgment was actually logical and entertaining at times. I didn't like Natalie because, in all honesty, she reminded me of a spoiled rich kid who complained a lot. She cared about her sister, yes, and did her best to fit in with the poor people around her, but she had no common sense. At one point she had to be reminded that it's nice to actually offer to help out your friend by carrying a textbook instead of making her do all the work because she is not a servant. I wish she was written differently.
All in all, I'm curious to see what book two holds. I'm not in any rush for it, but I truly am curious. The cover of this one is gorgeous, the premise enticing, but the story itself just didn't live up to the hype around this one. The more hyped up they are, the harder their fall from grace.