Title: Black City
Author: 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.
First off, thank you for the ARC Razorbill~
Secondly, I’d just like to mention the cover of this book ’cause it’s absolutely beautiful and every time I see it I stare at it in wonder for a good five minutes.
On to the actual contents of the book (’cause I’m sure you’d like to know something about it).
Black City lives up to its name. The buildings are charred, the school left in partial ruins, and everything seems just a little bit darker in this place. Not only that, but the city’s split by a looming wall. There’s the charred and burnt side of the city for humans (sounds great, no?), and then there’s the polluted, diseased ghetto, for the Darklings (The humans don’t have it so bad now, eh?). Within the ghetto, the Wrath, a disease among the Darkling race, is spreading, slowly contaminating every Darkling trapped behind the wall.
Epically creepy dystopian city? Check.
Enter Natalie Buchanan. She’s one of the Emissary’s daughters. She’s spoiled, and rude at the beginning of the book, seemingly looking down upon the ‘work boots’ (those who do not work within the government, but do other tasks around the city) and rebelling against going to school with them. However, as irritating as her character was at the beginning, I really grew to love her as the book went on. She went from spoiled brat to a kick ass heroine. Although she does turn to Ash throughout the book, she’s confident enough to tackle her own problems, no matter how insane they are. By the end of the book, I had some mad respect for her.
Now there’s Ash Fisher. He’s a twin-blood Darkling, the only vague species of Darkling still allowed on the city side of the wall (i.e. he’s half human, half Darkling). Ash is a Haze dealer, a drug that can be extracted or released from Darklings only. As much as he hates it, it’s one of the only thing he can do to survive. He comes off as a total bad-ass, but he’s a pretty good guy, and I loved his character from the start.
There are three things that I want to point out specifically:
1. The insta-love. Yes, yes, the stupid instant love moment where the character look at each other and their worlds blow up. Well, it’s something like that, but the author provided a very good reason as to why there is insta-love in the books, so don’t rage quit in the first few infuriating moments of electric shock.
2. There is some history to the book. Although some other people reviewing the book said the novel was missing the history lesson, they didn’t totally. Richards provided a fair amount of information and I feel that as the series moves forward, more about the original war will be revealed.
3. Richards takes the Twilight Vamps and makes them into something new, interesting. Darklings aren’t exactly vampires. They won’t set fire in the sun (or sparkle), they can’t change you into a Darkling (you’re either born as one, or half of one…), and they’re not all mighty. They have strength and agility, but they’re different from vampires in a number of ways. They also can contract disease (i.e. the Wrath), reproduce, and there’s even different types of Darklings. So for the ignorant who keep calling it a vampire novel, it isn’t. Yes, they’re alike to vampires in the sense that they do drink blood, but honestly, that’s about where the similarities end.
This book does show racial tension (humans v.s. Darklings (they’re people too!)), there are scenes of drug use (and abuse), torture, deaths (crucifixion), etc. Although these scenes are necessary to move the story forward, I’m just throwing that out there for people who can’t stomach it.
I really enjoyed this book, in all honesty. I know I say that a lot (I mean, it’s not my fault so many awesome books exist), but this one took some real life insanity and applied it to the story: government schemes, concentration camps, protests (both peaceful and violent), racial tension (albeit we don’t have Darklings versus humans in our world, but even in today’s society, racism is still a very real concept that continues to effect our daily lives), religious bias, and poverty. I really enjoyed the ideas presented in this books and hope that the rest of the series is just as great ~
World Building: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.79/5