Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Book:  Black City
Author:  Elizabeth Richards
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Date:  November 9, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  A

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. (Cover and description from

Initial Reaction
Dystopian vampires??  Yes, please!!!!

Cover story
This cover is absolutely stunning!  I love it!  And the title is great also.  But just look at that cover!  I can’t stop staring at it!!

What’s the Story?
I really thought that I was done with vampire books.  Seriously.  I’ve read some pretty bad ones since Twilight came out.  Then, I picked up Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules and realized that people could still write phenomenal vampire novels.  So if Julie restored my faith, Elizabeth Richards has just made me a born-again vampire lover.  I will never doubt the greatness of a fabulous vampire story again!

This one is very unusual.  There are different types of vampires and the vampires actually breed.  So this means that they can also breed with humans and that leads us to Ash, the half human, half Darkling hero of this book.  Ash is such a tortured hero and I love him for that.  In fact, he feels like the quintessential Byronic hero in many respects.  He is a cynical loner who holds both the human society and the Darkling society in contempt, yet he is loyal to a fault to those he loves.  He is intelligent and cunning and can be prone to some criminal activity, yet the reader is drawn to his goodness.  He is such a contradiction in terms and that makes him a wonderful protagonist to read about.

I really liked Natalie as well.  Even though I didn’t find her character quite as compelling as Ash, I really enjoyed watching her transform from a protected, naïve rich girl into someone who cared about the world she was living in.  The supporting cast of characters was also very well done.  They were fairly multi-faceted for secondary characters and I’m interested to see what will happen with all of them in future installments.

This novel has a little bit for everyone.  It is part romance, part mystery and part social statement on the ills of racism in society.  It is obvious that the author has drawn on racial slurs in existence as well as the Nazi treatment of the Jews to show how the vampires are discriminated against in this novel.  I was really glad that I had some knowledge of the history of Nazi Germany because I think it was helpful in reading the book.

This plot was wonderful.  It kept me on my toes the whole time, trying to figure out who was doing what and where it would all lead.  In many parts of the book, I was literally holding my breath, wondering what would happen next.  I felt totally immersed in the world that Elizabeth Richards created in this book.

The Soundtrack

Half of My Heart by John Mayer and Taylor Swift
Once you read the book, you’ll understand why this song is so appropriate.

In This Heart by Sinead O’Connor
This song is very haunting and reminds of some of the songs that the Darklings sing in the novel.

Vampire Heart by H.I.M.

Invincible by Muse

Forbidden Love by Madonna (from Bedtime Stories)

Forbidden Love by Madonna (from Confessions on a Dance Floor)

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is an A.  I was completely enthralled with the dystopian vampire world created in Black City.  I loved the story and I loved the characters and I am anxiously waiting the next book in Ash and Natalie’s story.  If you think that you don’t want to read about vampires, just give this one a try.  It’s not your typical vampire book.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I love post apocalyptic novels and this sounds like a good read. Ash seems like a very likable character. Will definitely pick up a copy.