Series: Black City #1
Published by: Putnam Juvenile on November 13, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Paranormal, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Science Fiction, Vampires
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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.
Wow, wow, wow, wow!!! I feel like I still need time to process Black City’s awesomeness. I feel like my review will barely do it justice, but here it goes..
Guys, I am a sucker for forbidden love stories, and this is definitely one of them! I absolutely loved the story in Black City. It’s heartbreaking, intriguing, and a fresh take on vampires. I’m always wary of vampire stories. I don’t know why, I just am. But I adored Black City! And furthermore, Black City isn’t just a romance story, and it isn’t just a vampire story. Ultimately, this book is about freedom and simple human rights that have been lost. This book is really about the politics, society, and oppression that the “Darklings” face. It’s about segregation and power, and the lengths people will go through to obtain that power.
One thing that surprised me about this book was how much mature content was in it. The protagonist, Natalie, is only 16, but we still read a lot about drugs, and even a bit about sex. There aren’t any explicitly sexual scenes, but they talk about 16-year-olds having sex and doing drugs. Usually this seems to be non-existent in stories with younger protagonists, but it does happen in real life, so it was refreshing to read about it.. even though this isn’t exactly a contemporary book. 😛 And oh my gosh, the sexual tension! Guys, it’s awesome. It’s delicious. And the romance in this book is so powerful, touching, and moving, and all those other amazing words! This book ripped a hole in my chest and took out my heart because it made me feel a desperate need to be with my own boyfriend, but I couldn’t, because we were over 5,000 miles apart. Seeing Natalie with Ash and the lengths they would go to for each other had me getting so teary and happy and..I don’t even know.
I was ripping through the pages of Black City like you wouldn’t believe. The last quarter of the book in particular is… kind of amazing. It’s so intense and every time I thought I had reached the “climax” of the book, another crazy, intense, page-turning event would happen. I literally felt like this book was real. I could feel the emotion dripping from the pages and in my head, I treated the characters as if they were real. I was thinking things like, “I can’t believe he had to endure that!” when obviously the character doesn’t really exist. But these characters feel real and they endure terrifyingly real hardships.
My one problem with this book was the world-building. Don’t get me wrong, the world that Elizabeth Richards has created is incredible and believable. I loved all the details about the government and the society, but I had a hard time understanding some of the historical elements. I felt like there were a few details lacking that would have better helped explain the whole situation. I mostly had a hard time figuring out if this was a futuristic paranormal story about Darklings evolving from humans (or existing because of some kind of virus), or if this was a totally fantastical story about a world where Darklings have always existed. Was Black City supposed to be read as a realistic glimpse into our future, or something totally fictional?
But other than that small thing, this book was incredible. It was so emotional and the romance was slow building and passionate. It did have a “soul mate” vibe, but it wasn’t insta-love, which is kind of unique and.. awesome. Black City is powerfully heart wrenching, and yet also inspiring. The fantasy elements are woven in so beautifully that I easily believed they could totally be real! This book has an ending that’s both incredibly satisfying and threatening at the same time. I feel like I’m in physical pain, knowing that I’ll have to wait like a year to read the second book!