Wednesday, 27 November 2013

[REVIEW] Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Published: November 2012
Age Group: YA
Series: Black City #1
I'll admit completely that the only reason I wanted to read this book was the cover. It's absolutely gorgeous! Definitely cover drool worthy. I'm also sure that I had read the blurb of this way back when I first added it to my TBR shelf but clearly I didn't remember it when I started reading it yesterday and so when I realized what the plot line was about, well, I was taken aback. Guess I didn't see that one coming so kudos to you Elizabeth Richards for catching me by surprise.

Black City is a dystopia-lit story about this world split up in to 9 different districts (thing Hunger Games) and the main setting happens to be Black City, a portion of the mining state of Black River. Why it seems to be a trend to have the main setting be in the "mining" portion of the world is beyond me but clearly it was picked for a reason that I don't understand because I'm not an author, merely a curious reader.  The story follows two completely different protagonists, and I don't mean just in terms of gender. Ash, is one of the only twin-blood Darklings in the city and Natalie is the daughter of the leader of the city. In terms of dramatic romances go I'm sure readers have already predicted that they fall in love (or if you've read the blurb then yes you would have already known that). I will say that Elizabeth Richards spent very little time introducing the romantic relationship between the two and I commend her for that. I don't like things being dragged out and would rather prefer authors get straight into it. I also think Elizabeth Richards did a lovely job introducing it. The idea of a heart starting to beat after finding their true love is endearing and romantic in nature.

To explain the paranormal portion of this story, the Darklings in this story can be seen as vampires. They live off blood and can't be in the sun. Their fangs releases a poison that acts like an opiate to humans. They only thing that sort of threw me off was the idea of a Darkling finding their true mate. There's some werewolf aspect to that but it's interesting concept, and I find it completely new which is good since a lot of stories recycle the same type of characters when it comes to paranormal fiction.

Black City does follow the standard story line for dystopia lit. You have the first book, Black City, introducing the dystopia world and how corrupt it is. You get introduced to the hero/es and a rebellion breaks out at the end with the heroes playing their part saving everyone. So if it follows this we can expect the sequel to be an information dump and last novel to be a great battle.

Although the story was an interesting read, although I think I may be bias since I rarely turn down a dystopia lit book, there were some parts that I found to be very "out of the blue" shall we say. This mate claiming business was sort disconnected from the rest of the story line. Well ok so readers were given lots of foreshadow and hints but I guess the execution of the discovery was off. The dialogue sort of felt like this to me:
"Hey, didn't you have something you wanted to tell me"
"Uh, yea"
"Uh, You're my blood mate"
It was just so awkward and strange. There was no basis for either character to accept it but they did blindly. I guess that's what they mean when they say love makes you blind. "The heart wants what the heart wants" 
The ending was also downplayed in my opinion. This miracle happens, and then when the characters were explaining it so nonchalantly in the epilogue that it made the climactic event seem mundane as opposed to being the most dramatic scene in the book.
Overall, I thought this was a very strong dystopia lit. You have classic elements of government oppression. for instance the slogan of the main leader, Purian Rose, "His majesty sees all sinners" sort of puts him in a position like God so that whatever he does shouldn't be questioned. There are many poetic lines in this story too that I felt myself very moved by them.  
Some of my favourite lines:
"The snow on the crosses had turned pink as it soaks up the dried blood stained into the wood. It's chilling watching students play beside the crosses, but that's life in Black City. Everywhere you turn you're reminded of death, but you have to block it out, otherwise you couldn't carry on living"

"A strong breeze stirs the ash on the charred buildings surrounding us, scattering black flakes into the air. I feel like I'm inside a giant snow globe. It's really quite beautiful; why had I never noticed it before?"
In fact , I feel like the entire story is done in a very symbolic way, to the title of Black City - a  city covered in ash, to the characters name being Ash and the cover of the rose slowly falling apart.
I enjoyed reading this and will definitely be reading the sequel.

If you like this check these other tea loving books out:

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