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.
In some ways, I thought that BLACK CITY was a totally predictable YA dystopian, but in others ways I thought it was a fierce kick-ass vampire young love/coming of age story. What? you ask. How can that be? Yeah, I'm not sure either, but there you go. I really struggled with writing this review because my bullet points were basically:
- Typical post-apoc esque YA
- Somewhat dystopian world with us and them dynamic
- Vampires, really? (Even at the height of the vampire craze, I've always always preferred shapeshifters/werewolves)
My notes in my head sounded vaguely critical, but when I would actually try to translate them into thoughts via typing, mostly praise and accolades would spill out. Wait? I would say, what just HAPPENED here? And so I would start over, but the truth is, I DID like BLACK CITY. I think that Elizabeth Richards did a fine job crafting a NOT typical post-apoc, dystopian, vampires versus humans, ruthless YA world. Spinning everything on its head, the vamps were not at the top of the food chain at all.
In fact, I found the most interesting part of the plot line to be the vampire (or Darkling situation). Living in a ghetto, reminiscent of the Jews in Poland (and other places) during WWII, the vamps are starved, treated poorly, and dangerously isolated. One of my bullet points about the post-apoc world makes this a typical set-up, but it is usually the humans who suffer from this type of treatment, by a government or group that is evolutionarily or anatomically superior. There were scenes that I could predict were coming and situations that I earmarked as set-up for a future event, but predictable or typical is only negative when the book becomes boring as a result of this. And BLACK CITY was anything but boring.
The social commentary and resultant actions that come about because of the Darkling situation, is skillfully handled by Richards in a way that echoes the wave of rebellion that sweeps the Districts throughout THE HUNGER GAMES series. In the end, what I thought might sound like a critical review is not. Richards kept me on my toes, even when I thought I had the upper hand. This is a world that I will definitely return to, and relish the thought of continuing adventures. Brava.
I acquired this book at Book Expo America 2012, with no other compensation but the hope for an honest review