Author: Elizabeth Richards
Series: First book in the Black City Chronicles Trilogy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (imprint of Penguin Young Readers)
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Source: I met the director of the School and Library Marketing department at the Penguin booth at ALA, and she sent me this after the conference. Thank you SO much!
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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.
Black City is a very dark romance that takes place under harsh conditions and during very harsh times. It's gory and bloody and actually rather upsetting, which is why I'm having such a hard time reviewing it! I wanted to love it, and while I loved aspects of it, parts of it upset me so much that I'm afraid my thoughts about the book are a bit tainted. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. The idea is awesome. I've always been a fan of forbidden love, but a love that makes a dormant heart beat after so many years? That's powerful. And I've always enjoyed post-apocalyptic stories. I love watching an author's creativity run wild with all the possibilities of a new beginning.
2. I really liked Ash and Natalie. Ash is this bad boy, who softens and becomes a force for good once he has a reason to fight. Natalie is his reason, and I loved the devotion he felt for her, even when he was confused and trying to figure his life out. Natalie developed throughout the story into a really strong, exciting character. She went from a ball of nerves to a spitfire, crusading for what's right. She took so many risks and cleared so many hurdles, and I really enjoyed reading of her strength.
3. I also really liked the supporting characters: Day and Beetle. I loved the friendships and love that circled around these four people.
4. This story is gory, and I had a really hard time with that. There's SO much blood, death by crucifixion, torture, a rape attempt, drug overdose, numerous attacks, sacrifices, and murder. And it was all described in depth.
5. The worst part of this book, though was a very upsetting scene with the murder of a cat. Many of you know, I can not handle cat killings. I just can't, especially when they are overly gruesome and detailed. They are unnecessary, and I slaughter books with scenes like these. I refuse to read anything else by an author who does this, because I think it's terrible and I think it promotes animal violence among young people. I boycotted Origin when I found out about a similar scene in that book, and I vowed to never read another book by Elizabeth Chandler after reading her Kissed by an Angel trilogy and coming across another scene like this as well. I honestly had to talk myself out of quitting this book. I set it aside for hours, and finally went back because by accepting this ARC, I promised a review. I had to try and give the book a fair chance. I'm glad I finished it, because I was very curious about how things would go down. I was either intrigued enough or horrified enough, that I had to see if these people could pull out of the evil world they were living in and make a better life for themselves. Honestly, though, I did not recover from the heartbreak of that one scene. Luckily Black City did not end in enough of a cliffhanger that I'm dying for the next book. I can just quit here and be satisfied enough with the ending I've been given.
All in all, this book was dark. I can handle dark, but not this dark. I was super intrigued, and really enjoyed aspects of the story. The characters were great, and I loved the romance and the creativity of the idea. But the violence was just too much for me to handle, and the animal violence has me so sad that I don't even want to continue with the series. I can definitely see why people are raving about the story, but I also wish I had known about this one scene before I chose to read it. I know there are many readers who feel the way I do, so this is the warning I wish I had received. I'm extremely disappointed that I did not love this book as much as many of my fellow readers did.