Title: Black City
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Black City (Book 1)
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
ISBN-10: 0399159436 (Putnam / Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0399159435 (Putnam/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Michelle
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.
Quick & Dirty: A dark toned paranormal dystopian with elitism, corruption, and a Romeo and Juliet romance.
Opening Sentence: An air raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights.
Elizabeth Richard’s Black City is a paranormal dystopian. I am always keeping an eye out on new dystopian stories, so I was pleasantly surprised at this paranormal take on one. Corruption, segregation, elitism are all elements in a Romeo and Juliet type of love story. I don’t want to say it’s exactly like one, but there are definitely similarities as well as differences. Richards writes an enthralling tale, layered with symbolism and messages that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Within the protective walls of Black City, we are quickly introduced to the ruins and ash covered landscape. Darklings are not openly accepted in this community. On the brink of war between humans and Darklings, the tension between both races are higher than ever. Some seek peace, while others continue to hold an elitist attitude. Black City is told through the story of Ash, a half-darkling walking a fine line between humans and Darklings. He doesn’t belong anywhere and is often misjudged. One night, he meets Natalie, and the course of his life is altered forever. Natalie is the daughter of an Emissary official. Her upbringing has programmed her to think a certain way, but action will always speak louder than words.
Ash is the dark and dangerous main character that is often misjudged and sometimes misguided. Having a human father within the Black City walls protects him to a certain extent, but not from the ridicule and prejudices of other humans outside his home. Ash is sometimes brash, but often unwavering in his beliefs. He yearns to know his Darkling side outside of the city walls, and he might just do anything to obtain that wish.
Natalie is someone that I slowly warmed up to. From the beginning, she seemed conflicted of her feelings towards Darklings. Natalie’s father was killed by one, yet her father was an adversary for Darklings in the end. Natalie is different, not because of her altering beliefs, but because of who she is. She has nightmares that are so close to reality that it alters the tone of the story. Then there are the real life nightmares, bringing the story into an even darker mood.
Told through an alternating point-of-view, Black City has a mild love story. And while I originally said Black City has a Romeo and Juliet vibe, Black City transcends this. Richards talks about levels of relationships mostly negative, but complex and engaging. Black City has a very dark tone throughout the story which was refreshing. Richards didn’t pull back from the detailed descriptions of this world, and I loved every minute.
There are a lot of great elements that come together in Black City. For me, I would say that this is a character-driven story, consisting of many integral key players. There were a few things that I didn’t connect with, and it could just be that I didn’t relate to them. For example, I didn’t connect to the politics of the different races. I didn’t think there was enough information to keep me engaged. But Black City is a really good read. I enjoyed the initial story and the introduction of characters. I cannot wait to read the second book.
Ash slams his pen against the desk. It rolls off the side and both of us lean down to retrieve it at the same time. Our heads bump. Sharp pain shoots through my head and, bizarrely, my chest as well. Ash gasps and flinches, almost falling off his seat as he clamps a hand over his chest, which rises and falls rapidly like he’s struggling to breathe. He staggers to his feet and rushes out of the fire exit.
“What’s up with him? He’s being more of a freak than normal,” Day says.
“Heartburn,” Beetle mutters, getting up to go check on him.
I rub the bump on my forehead and stare at the empty space where Ash had just been. It didn’t look like heartburn to me.
Black City Series:
1. Black City
2. Phoenix (June 4, 2013)
FTC Advisory: Putnam/Penguin provided me with a copy of Black City. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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