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Dark Metropolis #1

Dark Metropolis

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Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder hears the rumors, but she can barely make ends meet, let alone worry about strangers who've gone missing. Her mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.

Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club, attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, who agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets - even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they discover a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. Soon, Thea and Freddy begin to realize nightmarish truths about the city's dark underbelly, and that time is running out for Nan. And if they're not careful, the masterminds behind the disappearances will be after them, too.

Jaclyn Dolamore weaves a chilling tale with a touch of magic in this lyrical thriller, where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.

292 pages, Hardcover

First published June 17, 2014

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About the author

Jaclyn Dolamore

18 books762 followers
Jaclyn Dolamore has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives in western Maryland with her partner and plot strategist, Dade, and three weird cats. To keep abreast of new releases, sales, and extras, please join her mailing list! http://tinyurl.com/JaclynDolamore

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 230 reviews
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
Author 18 books762 followers
March 23, 2014
UPDATE: Some quick and dirty FAQishness:

--Alt-world historical fantasy based on Berlin in 1927. To be really specific.
--Inspired by the film Metropolis (which coincidentally was made in Germany in 1927).
--Yes, this book contains both a straight relationship and a lesbian relationship. And zombies. And maybe even a lesbian zombie relationship.
--Slated to be a 2-book series, with the next book out in 2015.

Anything else?

My original comments:
I'm excited for you all to read it! The original inspiration for this book is the Fritz Lang film Metropolis and came from the what-if: "What if the workers in Metropolis were actually DEAD?" This movie (which you should totally see if you haven't already!) was made in 1927 in Germany, and so the inspiration for the setting of this book is 1927 in Germany as well. HOWEVER, it is a totally fictional world. I wanted to capture the general atmosphere of between-wars rebellion and upheaval that was going on throughout Europe at the time, and I read books and watched film footage of Germany, France, England, and Russia...basically anything about the 1920s and early 1930s Europe I could get my hands on. But then I let the original "what if" steer the plot, the world, and the characters into something new. I hope you will enjoy it.

Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
June 11, 2014
An enjoyable plot with a very unique zombie story, but it was missing... something. Many aspects about this world and its happenings were explained only briefly to make the plot move forward, which made it hard to invest myself fully. But it was fun, nonetheless!

We begin by following Thea, whose mother's strange illness has left her in charge of supporting the family. This is where we begin to see the part that magic has in the story, when we learn of this magical connection between her mother and father that has caused the illness. I found this was really intriguing and a great start that compels you to read more. Especially when combined with the glamorous setting of a Telephone Club we're lured into by its enchanting atmosphere and prestige. When we meet our other leads, Nan and Freddy, is where the dark side of the story starts to show itself - we learn about the zombies, the necromancy; the evil that makes up the disturbing secrets behind this city. While I enjoyed all characters - Thea for her drive to find answers, Freddy for his magical abilities and mysterious past - Nan quickly became my favourite. She finds herself in the thick of the sinister happenings underneath the city, and her feisty, determined personality made her easily likeable. Though, mostly, what I loved about her perspective was the setting she brought us into. This is where we're made privy to the horror and shocking mysteries of how the city is being run. It's gory at times, yet fascinating in a morbid way. Then more questions are brought into play when we realize Nan is an anomaly among anomalies.

What I was mostly disappointed in was the lack of world building. Even though I was kept entertained by the tragic plot and interesting characters, I found myself wanting to know more about the history of this whole ordeal. I wanted to know why everything was how it was. The history we do get is very limited and very narrow, with many details glossed over for the sake of plot progression. Plot progression is also at the essence of the relationship building, where Thea and Freddy begin to trust each other, sharing life stories and secrets, almost immediately. It was not especially believable, but it worked for the story to not lose its quick pacing.

One thing that was bittersweet for me was the romance. I appreciated that it was kept on the down-low, leaving the plot on centre stage, but I also found myself underwhelmed by the romantic spark the ending left us with. I'm pretty sure that was meant to have much more emotional impact than it did. I would have been more satisfied if the relationship was kept platonic the whole way through, though I know some would have been displeased by the complete lack of romance. Either way, it's better to please some than none at all; I very much doubt romantics-at-heart will find much to be delighted by in the romance aspect - or lack thereof - in this novel.

With zombies and horror and an atmospheric writing style, there is much to be enjoyed by Dark Metropolis. It's clearly a more plot-oriented story that is bound to both fascinate and creep out its readers!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
June 10, 2014

Well then... That was interesting and enlightening, I actually really enjoyed this book.

3.5 Stars

I'll be honest and tell you I don't think I would have read Dark Metropolis has someone told me about the book and it's details. For some reason I've been putting this book off, procrastinating about reading until last night I put my big girl panties on and read it.

To start with it was a bit slow and I found the instant connection between Freddy and Thea a bit annoying. It was far fetched, then the aimless banter between characters and the boring inner monologues of Thea got a bit tiresome.

But somewhere along the line I got into the story and invested in the characters. Firstly Dark Metropolis is written in three different POV's. The first being Thea, a sixteen year old girl living with her mother who also happens to be mentally ill. Then there's Freddy who is a silver haired boy with a special power or gift whichever you prefer, he and Thea have a connection because of this power. Then lastly we have Nan, Thea's dare I say best friend. I probably found Nan's POV the most interesting out of all three.

The book has definitely got a twenties era feel to it, but it's also a fantasy/pnr. The subject matter was quite intense and I found it very interesting. In some parts I got some holocaust vibes, the underground prison the revived lived in being a kind of concentration camp and Uncle was a sort of Hitler figure.

Then the author introduced a lesbian relationship, between Nan and Sigi. So kudo's to the author for that because trust me I did not see that coming, although I have to be honest I did feel like Sigi and Nan's characters were stereotypical. They both didn't care for the mainstream and Sigi was stockily built and Nan happened to get her hair shorn off which basically helps them slide into their relationship. But that's neither here nor there.

Again I really enjoyed reading this book. It was different to what I'm used to. I did feel the ending was rushed, I prefer a slow winding down after so many fast paced scenes. So 3.5 Stars, I was in between just liking it and really liking it.

ARC kindly provided by author in return for an honest review
500 reviews2,413 followers
June 12, 2014

You can win a copy during my stop at the blog tour!

If we're being honest, I actually wanted to read this based on pure intrigue. I never actually expected to like this one, but I did. I'll warn you potential readers, though: The synopsis could be very misleading. It gives us the impression that the book is solely Thea's story, when it's actually more of her friend, Nan's. It wsan't a very bad thing, but I would've liked to expect the multiple POVs when going into the book.

"I've always felt fairy tales are as true as anything that really happened."

If you want to read about a fresh new take on zombies--Dark Metropolis is your book. The zombies were creepy--I swear I could feel my skin crawl when I read about their lust for blood. It wasn't your typical I-rose-from-the-dead-give-me-your-blood type of zombie. Well, it was, but there was so much more to how the zombies came to be, and it was a fascinating (and highly disturbing) process.

Dark Metropolis had a cast of interesting characters with different backgrounds. We have Thea, whose mother's going insane from the death of her father, Nan, who was color-blind and couldn't hear music properly, Freddy, who has been living a lie, and Sigi, who is not in the synopsis but plays an important role in the story.

While the individual characters had interesting backgrounds, I felt like their personalities were kind of flat. The characters felt a bit like cardboard cutouts. The constant change in POV also made it a bit hard for me to connect to the characters, since I felt like their stories were always cut short.

I couldn't care less for the romance. We had two major romances: one between a boy and a girl, and another one between two girls. Neither made me root for them--I didn't really care whether or not either couple would end up together. The romance was just kind of there. I didn't get any feels from it. Okay, well, I support them, but it didn't matter if they got together or not. Am I making any sense?

What did give me feels was the awesome mother/father/daughter relationship between Thea and her parents. She cared for them both and she did everything she could to show that. Her parents loved each other so much and scenes between them made me shed a tear or two.

Dark Metropolis was a dark and gritty book with a diverse set of characters and a snooze-worthy romance for anyone looking for a decent, new zombie book.
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
814 reviews205 followers
December 29, 2015

3-1/2 stars, rounded up.
Thea's mother suffers from "bound-sickness," the result of a spell gone wrong when Thea's father died at war, but his body was never returned home. To support them, Thea works nights as a waitress at the Telephone Club. There, she's befriended Nan, another girl who must support herself alone. And she meets Freddy, a young man with silver hair and a magic touch. The three of them are drawn into -- and connected by -- a mystery taking place underneath their city.
This book combines a dystopian feel, zombies, and magic in a fast-paced story. I found the worldbuilding satisfactory, if not especially vibrant or filled out. The characters are all sympathetic and relatable, although not explored very deeply. (In particular, Nan has a very interesting development which I would have liked to see more closely examined, but this just isn't that kind of book.) I liked the setting, too, which is a bit like 1930's Berlin.

I really enjoyed this. It's a quick, exciting read which addressed all my questions and tied up all the threads at the end with a bittersweetness that kept it all from feeling too pat. There is a sequel, but this stands alone just fine.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
November 11, 2015
I was recommended this initially because there’s some LGBT content and an asexual character. Well, just to deal with that upfront: there’s a character who is, at least, not straight, and there’s a character who isn’t interested in sex. However, she’s not interested in sex because she’s not human, so that’s kind of… not asexuality. If you interpret her as ace, though, she’s also arguably aromantic.

Still, it’s an interesting story/world. It’s got a reasonably unique take on zombies, and an interesting historical background — there’s history and economics driving the plot, which makes it feel that much more fully realised. The main characters are all pretty young, and they mostly seem to react to things in a normal way for their age. Pacing and writing are reasonably good, too.

I think the only reason this is standing out, though, is because of the LGBT/ace characters; it has potential, but it didn’t sparkle for me. It was easy to read, but not unputdownable. I know there’s a second book, and I’m not in any hurry to get hold of it. It lacks a compelling spark of life, I think.

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
August 9, 2014
5 Words: Dark, dead, magic, life, love.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I read this, but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I was in for something light and fluffy, something I wouldn't enjoy much but would pass the time. But instead what I read was dark and deep and thought provoking. It was fascinating. And I couldn't put it down.

I liked the character of Thea. And I loved Nan.

I was absolutely not expecting Zombies. That was one heck of a surprise.

I loved the exploration of love and relationships and the bonds that tie people.

One thing that could have improved this story a lot would have been world building. I wasn't sure what to picture or how to picture it. I ended up with a post-WW2 UK/USA mess in my head. I also would have liked less banter between Thea and Freddy. It just didn't seem to fit so well with the rest of the characterisation.
Profile Image for Brandi.
329 reviews798 followers
September 7, 2016

It's been six days since I set this down in annoyance, and I haven't missed it at all. It's safe to say at this point that I will not be forcing myself to finish it so DNF it is. The things that turned me off: the girl's mother was treated like a toddler- she had a "sickness" but still, it was too much. Then there was the boy who wasn't even able to fend off a frontal attack by even attempting to shove the person off him. They had an immediate connection and thought about the other bunches already, couple that with the outrageous mother situation and you have one uninterested Brandi.

June 26, 2014
**2.5 stars**

Yeah well, the characters definitely weren't the smartest in the room. With all that is going on in this book, I just didn't feel a connection to the characters. There wasn't enough to substantiate a real romance between the characters. Nope. Nothing.
The story was interesting, but the many viewpoints of the characters left something to be desired. It was a bit all over the place to me. I didn't know where this book was heading, and I don't mean that in a good way.

I kind of just went along with the book's direction and pace.

-Okay writing
-Interesting concept

-No real connection with characters
-Story didn't grab my attention
-Would have liked more descriptive details about everything lol

All in all, it was an okay read. It wasn't for me though.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
July 31, 2014
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Book One of the Dark Metropolis series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.

Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.

What I Liked:

Quite an intriguing novel we have here. I was super thrilled to have the chance to read this book, because it's marketed as a historical fiction novel with a heavy dose of magic - what a cool combination! "Chilling thriller", I suppose, I'm not convinced on the thriller part, but I could see how the "chilling" part might be chilling. Unfortunately, I just read a book with aspects similar to those that are "chilling" in this book, but that's okay. Anyway.

Thea's mother has been taken away from her, because her mother is going crazy, missing her husband (it's a little more complicated than that). Then Thea's friend Nan disappears, and Thea is alone. Around the same time, she meets Freddy, and Gerik. Unbeknownst to Thea, Freddy is basically a necromancer (although the word necromancer is never used) - a sorcerer? Freddy has been resurrecting dead people for quite some time now, for his uncle Gerik, but Freddy has no idea that Gerik has been taking these people to wipe their memories, and make them work in factories. What a mess!

It took a bit for me to get into this book, but once it was going, I was interested in what was going on. Where were the people going? What was happening to Nan? What was that serum? I didn't know what was going on, and I wanted to know. Dolamore has an interesting writing style, and the structure of this book is different. I'm not sure how to describe it - it's all in the present, but not everything is revealed all at once. Mysteries are cool!

This book is told from several points-of-view. We have Thea's, Freddy's, and Nan's. Each character is equally important, because each off them play a significant role in the plot of the story. Well, honestly, Thea is probably the "least" important of the three, though I like her the most. I couldn't quite figure out her role in this book, so maybe she has a bigger role in the series in general.

The romance is very minimal in this book - I'm not sure if that's a Dolamore thing, or if that's something for this particular series. It *seems* like Freddy and Thea's relationship is really important and instant from the beginning, but as the book goes on, you see that things are developing between the two of them. I can't even say they're "in love" by the end of this book. I like where they are though. Progression is good. There is also another romance in this book, which was interesting. I'm a bit confused as to what happened to Sigi in the end of the book, but I think that's just a ME thing - I need to re-read that part.

Overall, I liked this book! I didn't love it, but I definitely enjoyed it, and I'll be waiting for the sequel. And it doesn't hurt that the cover of this book is gorgeous!

What I Did Not Like:

I wanted more from the historical fiction aspect of this novel. It is set in the 1930s - post-World-War-I era (except the physical setting of the novel isn't specified), during the Great Depression, and so on. However, the actual place isn't specified, or I didn't pick up on it. I think it might be in a country like the United States, during the 1930s? But I'm not sure. I guess that's another "negative" - I'm not sure of the place. Perhaps it's straight-up fantasy, with no relation to the "real world". I'm curious now.

I'm still confused on the magic aspect, to be honest. I don't completely understand Nan's relation to magic, or how that works, or how Thea has magic. I'm not entirely sure what the extent of Freddy's powers is. Perhaps these things will be explained throughout the books in the series.

Would I Recommend It:

I definitely think fans of magical-realism-type novels will enjoy this novel! There is a very cool paranormal aspect to this book, and the romance is pretty light. I wanted a little more from the historical side of things, but eh, the whole novel was pretty great. If you have his one for review, definitely give it a chance!


3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. An interesting start to a new series! I've never read anything by this author before this book, but I'm definitely intrigued by her work. I hope to catch the sequel next year!
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,725 reviews1,277 followers
April 25, 2014
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Disney Book Group and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Thea works at a telephone club, trying to make enough money to pay the bills after her veteran father’s supposed death, and her mother’s illness because of it.
When her best friend Nan goes missing and Thea is told that she committed suicide, she knows that something is not right.
Is Thea’s Father dead? Did Nan commit suicide? And can Thea help her mother?

This was an okay story, but it was a little strange in places.

Thea and Nan were both interesting characters. It was a little odd when the story went from following Thea to Nan and then back again, but I got used to it. I didn’t quite understand why Nan was so special, and didn’t really get it until quite late in the book. It was admiral the way that Thea believed in her mother and Nan, even when she was told not to, and was intent on helping them both.

The storyline in this was okay, but it wasn’t really what I was expecting. What this book boiled down to was necromancy, and although it was an interesting topic, it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. I did like this book in places, but I also found that the story dragged in places as well, and it was a bit up and down for me.
There was the idea of romance, but nothing really happened between the two people involved.
The ending was okay, but I had lost interest a bit by that point. I was glad that things worked out for Thea’s mother though, even if the outcome wasn’t exactly what she was hoping for.
Overall; okay story, but a little strange,
6.5 out of 10.
Profile Image for Daphne.
989 reviews48 followers
June 30, 2018
This book was very different than I expected. Not in a bad way, I did enjoy it, but I feel like the synopsis is a little misleading. Thea hardly feels like the main character at the end, and I feel like she could have been largely omitted from the story without it changing too much.

What I liked about Dark Metropolis especially at the start, was the pacing. It was a quick read that didn't waste much time with subplots or overly drawn-out descriptions. But after a while I did feel like it was missing some body because of the fast pace, like everything fell into place a little too fast and a little too neatly. I liked the setting and I liked the characters, but nothing really managed to feel real to me.

I did really like the concept , just not always the execution. While I enjoyed parts of this book, I don't really have an urge to read more in this universe.
Profile Image for Nay Denise.
1,529 reviews81 followers
October 17, 2018
There isn't much for me to say because I just didn't click with the story whatsoever. However, the characters were all so phenomenal to me. I loved Thea and how trouble seemed to find her. She had to deal with a lot of struggles due to her parents situations and she handled them pretty well. Freddy was a sweet guy that was raised to believe lies of the people he trusted. Nan didn't seem strange, but learning about what she was blew my mind. Gerick and Rory were some assholes!

I loved the romance that brewed between Thea and Freddy. Their interactions and banter made me laugh a lot. I loved lesbian romance between Sigi and Nan -- that was unexpected but sweet.

For me, the story's plot just wasn't developed enough, felt rushed and just didn't vibe with me so well. It's a good historical fiction mixed with dystopian and paranormal aspects to it. Enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Gwenda Bond.
Author 55 books1,020 followers
August 13, 2016
Fabulous, inventive dark fantasy. (I enjoyed it so much I blurbed it.)
Profile Image for Tammy.
834 reviews138 followers
June 14, 2014
3 1/2 Stars

The nitty-gritty: An unsettling story full of subtle magic, dark deeds, and the living dead, beautifully written, but confusing in some parts.

But how horrid to be glad, even for a moment, that her mother was gone, just so she had time to try on new hats. Mother’s words kept haunting her. I know he is alive! Suppose she was right all along. Suppose Father had lived through the battle, and the vision was a sign? If there was any chance at all, she had to find out. She owed it to Mother, who was now trapped behind the asylum walls, losing her precious memories.

If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be “atmospheric.” There is a dark and brooding quality to this story, and it’s made even more dark and brooding by Dolamore’s beautiful prose. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started reading, as I had heard all sorts of words bandied about from “zombies” to “magic” to “LGBT characters.” Dark Metropolis has all of these things—sort of—but I certainly wouldn’t classify this as your standard zombie story, nor did the LGBT aspects stand out as such. (Which disappointed me a bit. I would have liked to see a more developed relationship between Sigi (the gay character) and Nan, the girl she falls for.) Although parts of the story were confusing and not nearly developed enough for my taste, what I did love about this book were the emotional situations the characters find themselves in as they try to cope during a very dark and depressing time.

Dark Metropolis is based on the 1927 movie, Metropolis, a movie I haven’t seen, yet felt compelled to research. There are definite similarities in the story lines, but why the author chose such a depressing subject to write about is anybody’s guess. The story takes place in an alternate history 1930s Germany, where the war has caused many people to fall on hard times and magic has been outlawed. Thea is a young girl who works as a hostess at the Telephone Club, an upscale venue where the rich enjoy extravagant stage productions and are served by beauties like Thea. But Thea’s real life is anything but exciting. Her mother is suffering from “bound-sickness” since her husband died in the war, but she insists that he isn’t dead at all because she can still “feel” him.

One evening Thea meets a young man with silver hair named Freddy, and when she accidentally touches his hand, she has a disturbing vision of her father, rising from the dead. Shortly after, her best friend Nan stops coming into work, and Thea knows something is terribly wrong. With Freddy’s help, she is about to discover a world she never knew existed, a dangerous world where the dead are forced into hard labor and will never see their loved ones again.

From the outside, this doesn’t really seem like a story about magic. So when the first offhand mention of it came up, I was caught off guard. It turns out that since the war, magic has become illegal, and we discover early on that Freddy has a very rare gift: he can bring the dead back to life with only a touch, although whether these people he brings back are actually alive or not, well, you’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself. (I did love Freddy’s magic because it reminded me of Torchwood and the resurrection glove—anyone?) But Freddy isn’t the only one with magical abilities. Thea’s friend Nan also has some magic in her, but here is where things fell apart a little for me. Nan’s magic is hinted at but never really explained. We also learn about a spell called “marriage-binding” which magically links two people together so that they can always find each other. It seems like a good idea but it has terrible consequences. I guess my feeling about the author’s use of magic is that it just didn’t feel as if all these types of magic belonged together in the same story.

The pacing felt slow to me in the beginning, as we’re introduced to all the characters and trying to uncover the mystery of why so many people are disappearing, but it picks up in the last third of the book, and I was racing to turn the pages (of my Kindle) to see what would happen. Dolamore gives us lots of emotional and melancholy moments, like Thea’s mother going crazy from the bound-sickness because she wants to find her husband, and the consequences of Freddy’s reviving magic and how he comes to terms with accepting that his “magic” isn’t natural and is only causing pain. Many of the characters are downright sad, lonely, and simply trying to get by in a harsh city, and it was sometimes hard to read page after page of misery with very little happiness to break up the sadness.

Dark Metropolis is the first in a series, although honestly I can’t figure out where the author will go next, since this book wrapped up quite nicely (and no cliffhanger in sight, thank god!). If you love your stories dark, your characters tragic, and your magic subtle, then this book may be just what you need.

Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
Profile Image for Grace.
434 reviews15 followers
March 6, 2014
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore is a young adult novel set in an alternate Germany in the 1920s/30s. In this world, magic exists, but is strictly controlled by the government. Thea’s mother has had a magical sickness ever since her father was lost in the war. To make ends meet, Thea works in the glamorous Telephone Club, where she regularly interacts with the rich and famous. When her friend Nan vanishes, Thea resolves to find her. Thea’s search for Nan is further complicated by her relationship with Freddy, a wealthy and attractive patron of the club. Freddy is more than he seems and is the key to finding out what happened to both Nan and Thea’s father.

Dark Metropolis is the kind of young adult novel that I can totally get behind. It has so much to love–zombies, the 20s/30s, romance, and magic. Dolamore does an excellent job describing universal issues that many teenagers can identify with. In addition to the relationship between Thea and Freddy, Dark Metropolis features a lesbian romance between Nan and a girl named Sigi. I loved that the relationship was treated as completely normal. The big issue in their relationship had nothing to do with their gender, but rather with the fact that one of them happened to be a zombie.

Then there’s the relationship between Sigi and her mother. Sigi’s mother views Sigi as an embodiment of her younger self and doesn’t really understand or accept her for who she is. This led to a good deal of argument and rebellion. How many people can say they felt exactly the same way as teenagers?

And then there’s the fact that Thea is the family’s primary breadwinner and is the one taking care of things while her mother is ill and her father is gone. A lot of people assume that teenagers’ lives are perfect or carefree, and it’s refreshing to see young adult novels break the mold and show teens who are forced into a position where they have to worry more about working and putting food on the table than about education, because let’s face it, there are a lot of teens going through exactly that.

And the cover is just gorgeous! It was what originally drew me to the book when I saw it at ALA. I’m usually not a huge fan of book covers created with photography, but this one was just perfect and encapsulates the atmosphere of the story incredibly well.

Dark Metropolis comes out in June, and I highly recommend it. It’s everything I’d ask for in a YA novel and more.
Profile Image for Michelle .
2,016 reviews230 followers
June 24, 2014
**See this full review and more at http://bookbriefs.net**

In a sea of similar books, Dark Metropolis felt different. In a great way. Part dystopian, part thriller, part magic, part zombie/vampire(?), Dark Metropolis really had it all. The world did have a glitzy 1930's esque feel like the summary said, but it also had a dark futuristic feel to it. I am not sure that I ever caught a date while reading, so I can't be quite sure when this book actually takes place. Told in multiple point of views, the story shifts between characters frequently.

I felt like Thea, Nan and Freddie were all main characters. Even though there were multiple main characters, the plot and story were very easy to follow. I didn't get confused and it never felt jarring shifting from person to person. Jaclyn Dolamore did an excellent job with her characters. I feel like I got to know Freddy and Nan very well. I want to see more on Thea and Sigi in the next book. At first, I thought Thea was going to be the main character, but somewhere along the line, her chapters became less frequent as Nan's part of the story took center stage.

I look forward to seeing more about Thea and Freddy in the next book. There is a hint at a possible romance between them, but then the "situation: in the city took over, and there wasn't much time for anything else except action. Lots and lots of action. I was surprised how fast paced Dark Metropolis was. So much happened in the story. So much in fact that when the book ended, I wasn't sure if it was a standalone or a series. It wrapped up nicely for the first book. There are still unanswered questions about Nan, about the revolutionaries, and we have no idea what is going to happen with the fallout. I can't wait to see. Jaclyn Dolamore has a real gem with Dark Metropolis.
Profile Image for Bethabellie.
6 reviews
February 7, 2015
the book:
a very enjoyable book. it was well paced with just enough twists and surprising connections to keep you wanting the next page. it has the right amount of glit and gore to please a fairly wide verity of people without being overly graphic. Dolamore's writing style was easy to ingest and follow, with an attention to detail that wasn't overly stuffy and only very occasionally left me wanting just s bit more.
just a well rounded book.

the characters:
i did like the characters, they were all distinct(ish).but, they weren't the strongest i have ever read. (For example, a certain character did a compleat one-eighty in the corse of one chapter) There wasn't a lot of building on their morels or anything like that throughout the story. nevertheless, these are solid characters.(ish)

the point:
i like a book that really drives a point and leaves me thinking. this did have some interesting views but nothing new that just lays you flat. things like abusing power, taking responsibility for past actions and forgiveness are prevalent. There are some moving seance, but no tear jerkers.

Plot twists:
There are some surprises, and this book was never dole, but I have to say that some of this was just pure random. Of corse I quite enjoyed these and they didn't effect the story except to make it more interesting. But for some people this could be a turn off. As for the non random twists, I will call them well paced. Not out of the blue but not lay it on the table four chapters prier.

So, if you are looking for a book edging on spooky, with good characters, great settings and an interesting story, put this one down with a star!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,890 followers
September 1, 2014
For a series opener, Dark Metropolis had plenty of potential, but unfortunately, a lot of it was left unfulfilled. While there were certainly advantages to this story (its very unique take on zombies just one of the many examples), the final result is unfocused and just a tiny bit immature.

The world, for one, was neither clear nor developed as it should have been. The story has a distinct historical feel, but we’re given neither the time nor the place, which leaves us feeling untethered and lost. It’s a grim post-war world with very limited resources and very high demands and the government is determined to keep things up to their usual standard, regardless of the cost.

We meet three pretty equal protagonists – Thea, Nan and Freddy. Quite frankly, Nan was the only one who seemed to know what she was doing. She approached all her problems with determination and strength, while Thea and Freddy blundered about, coming up with ridiculously childish plans and generally making a mess of things.

I believe Dark Metropolis might be better suited for a younger audience. I myself found this story entertaining, but it lacked in both structure and emotional depth, and at least some of it can be blamed on the characters. If it looks good, perhaps read a sample first just to make sure that this type of story works for you.

Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,225 reviews391 followers
June 28, 2016
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via NetGalley.

Dark Metropolis has a solid enough premise that makes you want to learn more about this strange world once you start reading, but the characters and plot lacked that special something to make them worth investing time and emotions in. While reading, all I felt was apathy toward Thea and Freddy and Nan (whose names I had to look up because I forgot them so easily). Perhaps if we concentrated more on one character instead of jumping around to someone else every time a different character’s situation gets more interesting, it would be easier to get and stay invested. Books like these make me think books are literally magic because something’s missing here and there’s no good explanation of what, which makes me think it’s the magic that is missing.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
56 reviews63 followers
January 23, 2015
Dystopian YA novels. Had enough of them yet? I thought I did, until I got more and more into "Dark Metropolis". Yes, it's dystopian. More of an alt-history (I learned it takes place in an alternate Berlin!) However, this dystopia has a Gatsby-era feel to it, which intrigued me. Not only that, but there are magical elements as well, and revival of the dead. Dystopian, yes, but different. I enjoyed that the book wasn't told from the perspective of one character- it follows several characters around, each of them are important to the way the story plays out, and that the author pushed the boundaries with having relationships that may cause a stir (at the very least, a raised eyebrow!).

My only gripe is that I'm going to be waiting so long for the next book to come out!
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,650 followers
June 30, 2014
2.5 stars

Well, Dark Metropolis was okay. My expectations were definitely too high, having enjoyed Dolamore’s Magic Under series. This is one of those times where I’m most definitely whelmed. I don’t really have any strong feelings about this book either way, and I’m probably going to completely forget it in no time. Dark Metropolis is a decent read with a cool concept, okay characters, and a meh execution.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.
Profile Image for Emeebee.
141 reviews14 followers
December 29, 2015
This was not the most eloquent book I've ever read nor was it the most profound. But it touched me. It had a plot that I found fascinating and loved, it had beautiful characters, a possible asexual character... I just found it an incredibly refreshing and honest book. If that makes any sense at all. I loved it. I bought it.
It's like 1920s fantasy and magic meet dystopia. But not the gritty, dark dystopia I have come to be so frustrated with. Somehow this distanced itself from the oppressive, controlling government. It was more secrets less blatant human rights violations.
February 27, 2014
This book was a mystery at first but it had romance and action in it. This has been a amazing book Thea and Nan are like superheros.
Profile Image for Biena (The Library Mistress).
167 reviews55 followers
September 12, 2016
Crossposted @ The Library Mistress

This is one of those books I love and also hate so to celebrate my bipolar tendencies brought upon by Dark Metropolis, I will split this review into two: 'read-it-read-it-NOW' and 'you've-been-warned'.

[GO AHEAD. read it read it now.]

1. It is fresh and new. Maybe it's just me because I don't read much Young Adult titles but I find this book really fresh and new.

2. Zombies. It has a new take on zombies. Maybe, this is again because I don't have a penchant for zombie books, have I known this is one, I won't read it, but I'm happy I did. But believe me when I say, the last zombie book I've read is Frankenstein and the last zombie movie I've watched is Resident Evil. (I've seen parts of World War Z, though) So, Walking Dead? Uhm, no. But if you like zombies then go ahead, take a chance on this one.

3. Interesting Characters. There's Freddy, the 'magic' guy. He has silver hair and all the while I was reading the book I picture him as Jack Gleeson. Not that he is as bratty as Joffrey Baratheon, but I don't know, I just think that he would fit. Then there's Nan, another magic person, she doesn't hear music and couldn't distinguish colors (The Giver, much?). And another interesting character is Arabella von Kaspar. I picture her as the Cruela de Vil in this book. She is sophisticated and strong-willed but ---.

4. Good Writing. If there's something I really can commend in this book, it's the writing. Jaclyn Dolamore really is a good writer. No doubt.

So, if you've already been convinced, stop here.

[DON'T YOU DARE. you've been warned.]

1. Confusing. Not too many books confuse me. I try to digest each and every metaphor and/or symbolism but this one confused me because of its too many characters. Yes, I've stated above that this book has interesting characters BUT not everyone had been given enough limelight, or in book parlance - no character development.

2. It's all about Nan. This is one of those stories with too many people to root for because it doesn't have one central character. That's fine, we aren't in the classical period anyway where people just expect you to have just one main character but why does it have to be all about NAN? Why is Nan so important that the author dedicated almost a third, half of it even to a character we cannot understand. Where is she from?
"Who is Frederick?" Nan asked.

I even asked myself, who Frederick is as well. Well, it somehow piqued my interest because that's the name of my bestfriend but I'm seriously wondering who he is all the more. Only to realize it's Freddy. And yes, that's Nan speaking. I told you guys, this book is all about her.

3. Blurb. I don't have a problem with blurbs (I actually do. Haha. They are great spoilers! But not on this one), as they say, sometimes blurbs lie anyway. But this one tricked us into thinking that this book is all about Thea when Thea is one of those characters you won't remember had it not for Freddy.

4. No Parents, yay! This book fell into the no-parents-let's-do-anything trap most books for youngsters have. And I call that lazy. Why escape the burden of having parents around? No, let's just kill them. No, let's just leave them dead or sick or whatever to eliminate them. Ugh. NOT!

WARNING: some spoilers ahead.

If you are reading this now, I know you'll be confused as I am before I finish this book. I've been wondering why book bloggers and readers alike have glowing reviews for this book saying it's new, it's fun and it actually is a page-turner you'd lose sleep for but they only rate it with three stars as I did. I understood them right after my Kindle's reading progress bar showed 100%.
She was the opposite of trouble, but that was what made the job fun -- the nightly illusion that this was her real world.

It was at first a fun book. Freddy and Thea flirting with one another and making us root for them as an OTP.
Marriage-binding was already considered a backwater custom when Thea's parents had married. They had chosen binding so each would always know where the other was so her mother could find her father if he ever got lost.

And although I can't understand Thea's mother's craziness, I let it go and just thought, yeah, she's boundsick, whatever that is. And yeah, it's caused by marriage-binding, whatever that is too.
She could envision him reading prayers by the weak light, trying to hold on to his humanity even while he hungered for blood.

This book is all about how to LIVE and love, the core of humanity.
Death was ugly. She had never met it like this before. Maybe it was better, in the end, to see it, to know, and not to be left wondering.

What is death and why we have to face it.
You can't defy death, my boy. You don't bring back the dead. No one can.

That all things shall go and no one can defy it.
But I think that even when things seem to be at their worst, someone is looking out for you. The people you love are never far away.

And that we must let go even if it hurts.
I don't want to lose them, but you have to make things right. And right doesn't always mean happy.

Because not everything is perfect.
No one was supposed to live beyond death.

And then this happens.
And gently Sigi's fingers touched Nan's face, questing in the dark, and kissed her.

Nope. I'm not against G2G action people but when it was suddenly suggested that the bad girl Arabella von Kaspar should/must/could give up her life to make up for being a bad mother to Sigi then all hell broke loose within me.
But none of this was bad.

What ever happened to no one can live beyond death? That girl made a choice. It's not as if she fell into an accident or whatever, she ended her life and only because Arabella is a despicable character, we can just make a bargain and have her daughter live her life for her? NO. What the hell? NO! And to make it worse, Sigi didn't even show any concern about her mother's remains. Not even remorse, none at all.

And then a war broke and I can't understand when, where, how, why it started.

Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.

Then, it sweetly ended with Thea thinking:
Life is short, and sometimes awful, but we've made it through what we must today, and we'll do it again tomorrow - together

Na-ah. Life can be and will be long for you Thea, because your little Freddy can just suck the life out of a living person and give it to you in case you die. Ugh.
Profile Image for Brooke's Epic Emporium.
880 reviews189 followers
June 13, 2014
I'd like to thank Disney Hyperion and Net Galley for supplying me with an early ecopy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my review or opinion.

Blurb from Goodreads:
Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.
Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.
Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.
Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.

I have to say that my initial draw to this book was the core. It is supremely gorgeous. Dark and mysterious and the font, I love it! So it's no surprise when I saw there would be a blog tour I rushed to sign up for it. I was excited to get picked!

I usually start with the characters of a book, but in this case I really have to start with the setting. The blurb describes it as 1930s-esque world and it certainly has that tone to it. However, I also got the feeling that it's set in the future, in a world riddled by war. And I can tell you that I read the blurb but had forgotten that magic was actually included as part of the book. So it was kind of a surprise to me when it came up. But it really worked quite well. I think the most interesting thing is the book is told in third person. Often I am annoyed by this, but it really worked with this book. It definitely reminded me of Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices in that way.

Thea is a sixteen year old girl who has been forced to quit school so she can work to support herself and her mother. Her mother is sick, and just continues to get sicker, since her father disappeared. So Thea has really had to grow up fast since her father has been missing for eight years of her life. I can say that I would have liked a little more in depth perusal of Thea's character. I feel we really only just scratched the surface of who she is. She obviously loves her mother and father and would do anything for them, but what would she do for herself? I did love that her character was not whiney and full of angst. She was actually quite mature.

Freddie is also very mature for his age. Having had to grow up rather quickly when he's taken from his family because of the power he holds. I didn't find him particularly swoon worthy. For me, he was just an ok romantic interest for Thea. I am guessing this is because the romance is not really at the forefront of the story. We certainly see his attraction to Thea in the fact that he refuses to do what he is tasked to do.

Nan, Thea's best friend, is a really strong character. At first, I thought she was in her twenties. But later on we find out she, like Thea, is sixteen. Nan is different, though I won't tell you how or why, as it's revealed a bit later in the book.

The pacing of this book varied. At times it was full of action and interesting things that happened to keep it moving. At other times the pace was a bit slower, leading to a build up of what would happen next. Over all I read through it fairly quickly and it held my interest. I really wanted to know what the secrets were that the different characters held. I also found the concept intriguing, it's always fun to see what an author will do with magic in a book.

If you're thinking Harry Potter than think again. The magic is more dark and mysterious in this book. I will say that they story line was much darker than I had originally anticipated, and I liked that it was. I didn't find myself particularly attached to any one character. They were all done fairly well, but I did feel like they could have been developed just a bit more. I needed to feel empathy for them in some way and I found that hard to do with this book.

My favorite part of this story was that it did not revolve around the romance. Oh, there is romance in there, but it's very subtle. And there's more than one, which was nice. I liked that the book could stand up all on it's own merit with it's interesting magical plot line and dark undertones.

The ending is rather neat and tidy. I know there is a second book planned so I'm curious as to where the author might go with it, seeing as these characters had their arc compete. I would have liked to see a bit more world building, historical background, to this book. I was a little confused as to where it was taking place and if the time period was actually in the 30s or in the futures. Overall I really enjoyed this read and would recommended it to anyone who likes a dark mystery with magical undertones. Definitely for fans of Clare.
Profile Image for Megan Houde.
779 reviews5 followers
October 5, 2019
This book was a bit odd and slow to get into! The characters lacked a little for me. This book has been sitting on my shelf for a while and figured finally time. It has magical powers and zombies so why not. I just really couldn’t stand the main character Thea and it was a bit lackluster.
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