Review: Black City

Author: Elizabeth Richards
Date of Publication: November 13 2012
Pages: 374
Source: Library

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-old 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.

I'm supposed to be reviewing this book, and how do I begin? I'll get Dean Winchester to help me so this doesn't end up being too awful.

It was disappointing. You know the stereotypical paranormal? With minimal development and a plot that revolves completely around a strange romance? In the mold of Twilight and Fallen, this was it.

Black City was an extremely disappointing read. I'm always up for more vampires because I still consider them and their symbolism to be interesting. I think Black City had an interesting take on them because it wasn't a paranormal in the uh, normal sense. The vampires, known as Darklings, had different variations from different parts of the world and lived in a dystopia-ish society with a big wall right in the middle separating the Darklings from the humans. 

Darklings were second class citizens that were impoverished and continuously being taken advantage of. Darklings' struggles brought to mind several classes of genocide that I've read about, and the politics of the racism were fascinating. This was a pretty great foundation from a story, and I can't say I'm too happy about where the book went from there. 

I know not everyone is as into politics as I am, but I don't see why everything always has to be so black and white: this person is evil, this person is not. I don't get it. In Black City, a lot of the conflict comes from characters making stupid decisions that they just know won't work out in the end. The characters seemed so shallow and I couldn't like any of them. I mean, I know you're allowed to make mistakes but they didn't feel like people to me. The characters weren't complex, and the dialogue was unnatural. 

There were some parts of Black City that reminded me of other stories too much. There was one interaction that was straight out of Harry Potter (you know, Malfoy's right type of people speech?) and I was so shocked to see it there. Maybe the author was paying homage to one of the best books ever? I don't know. I also found it very Twilight-like how the author would keep mentioning Ash's sparkling eyes. Every time Natalie would look at him, or think about him, it was always mentioned. 

The romance did not work for me in the slightest. It was instalove, shameless instalove, and oh wow did I hate it. The characters fell for each other from pretty much first sight. They start thinking about getting together, and it all happens so fast, and I didn't see the development. It was too fast for me because pretty soon they start making those "I need to protect her!" or "I choose him!" vows, and I'm like, "Seriously?". And this time, there was even a reason given, and I hated it. I thought it was a copout because instead of having characters deal with the shit they do, they can justify it. It was a copout because the author didn't have to develop the romance. She could just point to that, and it was supposed to be it. 

I think she did try to address that, but not convincingly enough. There was even a bit of a subplot with the romance that threatened to turn the story into a love triangle, and it was like, "NOOO stop stop stop" and happily, the story didn't go there, but not before Ash and Natalie made more stupid decisions. They do know about this magical thing called communicating, right? 

And I can't say how much I despised the ending. I was almost impressed until I read the next chapter and I realized Black City wasn't establishing itself as a worthwhile read for me. I mean, of course the ending happened like that. It's like in the bad paranormal playlist. I thought it was another copout. 

So in the interests of not sounding like a complete jerk, I'll mention why I kept reading Black City when it obviously wasn't a book I thought very highly of. 

  1. - Hope. I mean, it has to get better? 
  2. - The plot wasn't that bad. It even started out sort of interesting before the boring romance began. 
  3. - The political subplot could have been SO GOOD.
  4. - Family actually did play a role in the story, as did friendship.
  5. - I head some good things about the story. 
People have enjoyed Black City, and it's one of those things where I wonder if we read the same book. I'm a huge fan of paranormal and Black City was the type of paranormal I try to avoid at all costs: light, without much substance. I don't think someone new to the genre might pick up on all the ways it's so similar to every other paranormal and maybe they'll look at the story with new eyes. I couldn't fall for the romance, the characters, or the soap-opera like plot. I wish I did thought because the cover is pretty. :)

1 star. 



  1. I'm so sorry I have to agree! Yes, I was so excited about this book but it was so disappointing!!!
    I loved the worldbuilding and the general idea, but I hated the main characters!
    I'm so sad it was the same for you!

    Lis @ The reader lines

    1. Ugh I feel like I should have known better, but I went in it expecting to like it & didn't. The characters were not good at all. For, not even the world building worked. I just thought the general idea was interesting.

      Glad to see we're not alone.



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