Review: Black City

Black City


BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards was released in the U.S. on November 13, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats and will be releasing in paperback format on May 7, 2013.

It is currently available to order online in hardcover and eBook formats and is available to pre-order in paperback format at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Putnam Juvenile, the print edition is 384 pages.

BLACK CITY is the first book in a series of the same name by author Elizabeth Richards. The second book in the series, PHOENIX, is slated for release on May 28, 2013 and the third book in the series, currently untitled, is due out in 2014.


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 dark and intriguing post-apocalyptic story set in a chilling future where fear gives one man absolute power to rule with cruelty and violence and to oppress an entire race of beings. It is also a love story of two people forbidden to be together because of who they are, but who are willing to risk everything for love, including their lives.

Ash Fisher is a twin-blood. Part-human, part-Darkling he doesn’t quite fit in with either race. Forced to live with his father on the human side of the Boundary Wall where he is looked upon by many with fear and repulsion, he is left to wonder if life in the Darkling ghetto, the Legion, would be better.

Natalie Buchanan is the daughter of the Sentry Emissary. As part of the ruling class, she could have everything. But after what happened with her father and sister, moving to Black City and following her mother’s orders is the last thing she wants to do. Even though there’s nothing left for her in Centrum, she wishes she could return, because being back in Black City is so much worse.

But everything changes when Ash and Natalie’s worlds collide.

Instantly fearful of, distrusting and hateful toward one another, they hope their paths will never cross again. Even though their touch set off sparks. And even though they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another.

Because being together is forbidden and being branded a race traitor is a death sentence in the United Sentry States.

Elizabeth Richards has created an imaginative and richly detailed world in BLACK CITY. A dark and gritty backdrop, a fascinating new race of beings – the Darklings – and a terrifying leader who is willing to exterminate an entire race to further his agenda, make for an immensely entertaining read.

And with a star-crossed love story, told from both characters’ perspectives, this story is exciting, suspenseful and absolutely heartbreaking.

In BLACK CITY, the author builds the foundation for what is to come in future books in the series. The world-building is elaborate, with much of it presented at the outset, which initially slows the pace and impedes the story’s flow. But once the information is laid out about the world and its characters, the pace picks up and has a nice cadence as it switches back and forth between the two main characters’ perspectives.

Even with its paranormal element and futuristic setting, the story has a realistic feel, which gives it depth. The  world mirrors a real life dictatorship where people are governed by fear, driven to decisions that cause them to turn a blind-eye to oppression and are willing to turn their back on their loved ones if it means avoiding the wrath of those in power.

BLACK CITY is a fantastic and incredibly engaging start to this series. With moments that are breathtaking in both their beauty and their cruelty and a build-up to an ending that can only be called riveting, this story will appeal to readers who like their stories a bit dark, who enjoy putting their emotions on a roller coaster and who want to be transported to a future that doesn’t in the least bit resemble a utopia.

Reviewer gives this book…

Rate04On a personal note…

It took me a dozen or so pages to get into BLACK CITY. While I was instantly intrigued by Ash, the world-building at the outset was a bit overwhelming. Especially as I was reading with a review in mind.

I ended up having to stop and take notes every couple of sentences, which kept me from engaging with the story right from the start. As much of the information didn’t end up being necessary to an understanding of the story, and a lot of what was presented didn’t factor into this first book in the series, I would have preferred to have it introduced in smaller doses a bit further into the story rather than right at the beginning.

That being said, I loved this world. It was dark and chilling and all sorts of horrible for most of its citizens. Its leader was the epitome of evil. Even his name, Purian Rose, gave me the heebie-jeebies. And yet I can’t wait to learn more about him and the rest of those in power in the United Sentry States in subsequent books in this series.

I am also completely fascinated by the Darklings. While I still don’t fully grasp what they are – vampire/faerie hybrids perhaps or something altogether new? – they are so very interesting. And I’m just so curious what powers they would have if they weren’t so severely oppressed.

I also loved that the story switched between Ash and Natalie’s perspectives. Which was a bit of a surprise because I’m usually a single POV kind of reader. While I would have loved to have more time discovering the world from Ash’s point-of-view, as Natalie was sometimes a bit clueless, I loved getting to see more of the world because of the dual perspectives.

And while I don’t want to reveal too much, I just have to talk about the love story. It’s the reason why I picked up this book in the first place. The second I saw the description which called this “a dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story,” I knew it would be a book I just had to read.

The love story had the right amounts of angst to make me feel all twisted up inside. Even though things sometimes felt rushed, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Ash and Natalie’s love story. It was the forbidden, star-crossed, Romeo and Juliet kind of love story. And it totally made me melt.

And oh my gosh that ending! I just have to talk about that too. Well… that thing that happened right before the end. My heart broke. I totally knew what was going to happen – I accidentally read the first line of the description for the sequel – but the knowing actually made it that much more torturous to read. I kept waiting for the moment “it” would happen, wondering just how it was going to happen, which made me anxious long before I might have been had I not known.

BLACK CITY was not at all what I expected it to be. I anticipated a typical dystopian setting with some kind of dictatorship. I expected a forbidden love story. I expected dark. But the story and setting were so much more interesting and elaborate than I thought they would be.

The world the author created was much darker, more detailed and far more complex than I could have imagined. The dual perspectives allowed for a stronger connection to the two main characters and a longer look at their very disparate worlds. And its characters, the Darklings especially, were absolutely fascinating. Though Ash Fisher was totally in line with my expectations and just as swoon-worthy as I’d hoped he would be.

This story was so very different from what I’d thought it would be, but its differences are what made it so incredibly appealing. And it took everything I had not to immediately start reading PHOENIX to continue the story and stay in this world.

Favorite passage…

I had a few favorite passages. Two that were a bit too long to include… and then there was this one…. It gives me chill bumps, too.

His gaze is like a thrilling darkness sliding over my body, cold like winter’s frost, leaving a trail of goose pimples where his eyes have touched me.

Book trailer…

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