Monday, November 12, 2012
ARC Review: "Black City" by Elizabeth Richards
Release Date: November 13, 2012
From Goodreads: "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."
When I first received this book to read and review I was beyond excitement because I think that this book is one of few books being released this fall/ winter that has had a ton of hype surrounding it- everywhere I turned person after person was raving about how amazing this book was and how it would grace their "Top Tens of 2012" lists, but after reading it myself I honestly cannot think of why. This book has been one of the more disappointing ones I have read in quite some time.
While there were many disappointing elements of this book the most would, by far, be the melodramatics of it. There were countless instances where all I could do was shake my head or roll my eyes at what came out of the characters mouths- from declarations of insta-love (not unlike 'Twilight's" "I'd rather die than live without you") to talking about the "seriousness" of their relationships at age 14 and 15 (something along the lines of "When we were fourteen we were so in love"), to just general angst-iness (not the good kind of angst- I mean, Jace Wayland is my favourite character so you know that I love angst- this was "grates on your nerves", "sets your teeth on edge" angst).
As I found the book overall to be quite melodramatic I obviously found the characters to be as well. Being melodramatic and, frankly, immature (think of the most immature high school student you know, amplify them, and you have these characters) I had an extremely difficult time relating to them. In fact, if I were asked right now to describe the characters, mere hours after finishing it, I don't think that I could as they made so little of an impact upon me. Additionally, I found that there were a lot of characters and many of them had similar names- Beetle, Roach, etc.- that made it difficult to differentiate between them, especially in action-packed scenes where all of them were congregated in one place.
That being said, I think that the concept of the novel was extremely inventive and quite unlike anything I have ever seen in YA before. Furthermore I think that the twist was quite well done- I thought that I had it all figured out and it turned out that I was (partially) wrong. Finally, obviously the book does have a readability factor as I did finish it, rather than DNFing it- it's the sort of book that you can't not finish as you do need to know how it all ends.
All in all, admittedly I am on the fence about whether or not I will read the last two books in this series which is quite surprising as I am the sort of person who must finish a series no matter how much, in that moment, I may hate myself for doing so (ie. with the "House of Night" series and "Morganville Vampires"). I think that this book had a ton of potential but that it didn't live up to it in the slightest. That being said, I think that those occupying the younger end of the YA spectrum (13-16 years old) would really enjoy this book- especially fans of the aforementioned "Twilight" or "Romeo and Juliette" retellings.
I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.