Nov 27, 2012

Review--Black City by Elizabeth Richards

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 actually read Elizabeth Richards' Black City in two days!! Haven't had that happen since I started working in the mornings. It was quite the read too. I have only read a few reviews on this one and they have been pretty mixed. People have either loved or hated this one. And since there was quite a bit of hype around the book, it has left some other readers disappointed. I guess overall, I really did enjoy it. It wasn't as epic as I thought it would be, but it was still a very engaging and fun read! I am definitely sticking to the series.

Black City itself was quite the place. Set in the future at some unknown point, we see the United (Sentry) States divided by walls. Darklings are forced on the outside and are in the worse parts of the states, while inside the walls, the city thrives. People go about their daily lives, with a few other Darklings about, mostly ones who are servants and what not. It's a very segregated time, there are hate groups and their are freedom fighters. At the head of the USS is Purian Rose who dictates all and as we will learn is enemy number one!

Ash and Natalie are quite the pair, one's a Darkling--vampire--yet he's not a full blooded one, he comes from a human father and Darkling mother, making him a two-blood (I believe that's the term! It's amazing how fast my memory goes on the little details). Natalie is human and the daughter of the Emissary, a government official who's all important and whatnot! Her father was murdered a year ago by a Darkling, so she has a fear of them somewhat, yet her father was striving to bring humans and Darklings together in harmony.

When Ash and Natalie first meet, there are sparks. Or more correctly, hearbeats. For some reason, Ash's heart--his still vampire heart--beats when he's near her. So we have sparks at first sight, yet thankfully there is no insta love. When Natalie starts school shortly thereafter she comes across Ash again, first there's the whole shock of seeing one another again and then the taunts begin! I was quite pleased by that! Loved Natalie and Ash's witty bantering with one another. Yet while they fought, they both still acknowledged to themselves that there was definitely something between them.

So naturally they fall in love for real. Sad part was that it still only took them two weeks for this, but it was over 100 pages before that happened. But their love is forbidden, punishable by death, both of them. Yet they do their best to still be together anyway, so a little like Romeo and Juliet again. One would almost tire of this kind of love scenario, yet Elizabeth does a good job at making it her own.

Of course there are other barriers besides the law that threaten to tear Ash and Natalie apart. Such as Sebastian, Natalie's guard and ex-boyfriend. He still wants her and loves her, despite his betrayal to Natalie. I truly did not like his character at all. He was a real p***k. But again, I must say kudos to Elizabeth for that! When an author can truly make you hate someone like that, you know they know their stuff! And there's not just that keeping Ash and Natalie apart, there is someone on Ash's side that threatens their relationship as well, which has an interesting back story to it. Evangeline is a two-blood like Ash, when he thought his particular kind to be dying out, and he feels a connection/spark with her as well. Would we call this a love rectangle or square since there's four ends? Paralleogram?

Regardless, it was still very intriguing, because Evangeline and Sebastian both play pivotal roles in the story besides being the "other" guy/gal.

The pacing was done pretty well too. A nice steady pace, I'd say. Nothing rushed, nothing drawn out. Although the last few chapters were pretty fast paced though, which was necessary! It unfortunately had a Twilight feel at that point, but I wasn't too traumatized by it!

As for characters, I adored Ash. He struggles with his Darkling side and his human side, wanting to be loyal to both, especially when Natalie comes into his life. As for Natalie, she wasn't too bad. I will admit to being royally annoyed by her at a few points. She just suddenly snapped and became this big drama queen. I wouldn't call her Bella, but definitely a drama queen and not in the mopey sense either! Other than that, I did like her character. She definitely grows on you throughout the book as she grows into a stronger character.

The ending, like I said, it had a Twilight feel to it, but it was still pretty awesome! And the second book's title totally makes more sense now! I will definitely be looking into that one as well! Black City--the actual city--has definitely changed over the course of the book and I look forward to seeing what more will happen there and with the people who live there.

Overall rating 4.5/5 stars


  1. This is a great review. I love how you answered my questions right as they popped into my head. Like, "So, this is a Romeo and Juliet story?" and "Was it a love at first sight type of romance?" Thank you!

  2. I got this one this week! I am dying to read it, such great reviews. Glad to hear you read it so fast and it had good pacing I can't wait!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  3. I actually haven't heard of this one. The relationship sounds like Legend. I think I would give this one a go.

  4. Just finished this one a couple of days ago and I really liked it, even though dystopias aren't really my thing.


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