Amanda's Reviews > Black City

Black City by Elizabeth  Richards
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May 28, 12

bookshelves: 2012-releases
Read from May 26 to 27, 2012

I love this cover. Really, take a closer look at it -can you really resist it? It's unlike anything else I've seen out there on the shelf, and completely compelling. If it wasn't for this cover, I probably wouldn't have been interested in picking up Black City in the first place. It was the cover the convinced me to try it -just try it -despite the strong romantic implications in the blurb. (I don't know about you, but I'm sick of all the romance-heavy dystopian novels out there in the YA space. Romantic subplots are fine -just try to do something more original with the main plot!)

The world of Black City is a dark one -a terrible future where the humans are the Darklings are separated by walls and years of racial strife. Young Natalie has a promising future as the daughter of the Emissary and a member of the high Sentry class -that is, until she moves to Black City, away from her friends and the future she had planned for herself. Natalie finds herself caught in a web of government lies and conspiracies, along with the many issues facing the races. Then she meets Ash, a half-darkling treated as a second-class citizen who may be more than he seems.If the pair are lucky, they might survive the cruelty of Black City. Maybe.

Man, where do I start with this book? There is so much going on and so much to talk about -with such a lush and engaging world, it was nearly impossible for me to put down. Debut author Elizabeth Richards weaves a unique dystopian world under the thumb of a horrible dictator who rules with fear under the guise of religion and racial purity. A rigid class system works to keep the Darklings segregated completely from humans, complete with a police-style force called Trackers whose job is to keep the Darklings under control in their ghettos.

With such an incredible world, how could you go wrong? Well, there were a few small things that just bugged me about this book, as I felt like they impeded on the the originality of this book. (But of course, this is mostly personal preference and wasn't so prominent that it destroyed my enjoyment of the book.) First: the Darklings. They are essentially vampires -not of the sparkly type, thank goodness -but still blood-suckers, though with drug-like venom, the ability to walk in the sunlight, and strange genetics that really don't mix well with humans. What really saved this for me was the fact that the vampires are not too vampire-like, but just enough that they are obviously inspired by the popular monsters.

Then, there's the ending. (I won't give it all away here, I promise -but I know it's going to very polarizing for readers.) I was truly surprised at the strong use of religious symbolism in this book -it was fairly light for most of the novel, but it became heavier near the end. Did this offend me? No, but it may bother some readers. Then, why did I have an issue with it? Well, I really would have preferred if the religious parallels weren't so darn literal (plus, it made the end feel just too perfect, it was rather jarring and almost too "fairy tale like" for such a dark novel).

But I'll keep reading, because I just can't help it. The world, the overarching plot and the characters -there are so much complex conflicts going on here -that I have got to read more. Black City was an enthralling read that completely captured me.
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05/26/2012 page 130
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