Thursday, September 26, 2013

BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards

Rating: 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.

My thoughts on the book:
I have been wanting to read Black City for awhile, and I just never got around to it. I finally checked it out from the library and was pleasantly surprised. I've read mixed reviews about this novel, so I wasn't sure what I'd think. However, I really enjoyed the tale. I feel that it's an accurate reflection of the direction society is going, with ethnocentric hate and oppression becoming more and more prevalent. Also, the characters are well-developed and easy to relate to. The plot is intriguing, the pacing is perfect, and the world-building is top-notch. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

Natalie is a bit of a weak heroine at first, but she grows as the novel continues. I wasn't her biggest fan in the beginning, with my main thought being, "wow... grow a set, honey." However, after she meets Ash, things start to get interesting. Ash, also is a bit of a weak character in the beginning. He is kind of self-absorbed and only concerned with his own pain and hate. He's not even willing to die for his own rights, but as the novel progresses, he also grows and becomes a strong leading man. The secondary characters aren't fully-developed yet, but they are unique. I would like to know more about them as things continue, and I hope that they remain interesting and don't become simply filler characters.

The plot itself fills the reader with a sense of urgency. The society Richards created is both horrifying and realistic. I could easily see this happening to America, and that scared me. Some of the things the characters do are completely appalling, and how barbaric the society is chilled me to the bone. While I wanted more to happen in terms of a revolution, I still rooted for Natalie and Ash and wanted to know what would happen to them. The world is against them, literally, and I was concerned about whether or not they'd both make it. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but it is more satisfying than a lot of first-in-series endings.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels. You're sure to enjoy it.

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