{Review} Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Black City
by Elizabeth Richards
Series: Black City #1
Pages: 374
Release Date: November 13, 2012
by G.P Putnam and Sons (an imprint of Penguin)

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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.

I kind of had medium expectations for this book.  I’d heard mostly good reviews, so I wanted to give it a go.  Some aspects of the book were good, others…not so much.  I DID really enjoy the romance, the world, and the writing. However, I didn’t like the story line, the description scenes, the world building, or the ending.  I loved how Richards got into the story really quickly and explained the society and the world.  However, I really would have appreciated an explanation on how people turned into vampires and the society turned into what it was (or I might have skipped over that part because it was boring.  If so, my bad).  I will admit that I DID enjoy the romance and how it was so unique, and the conflicts and the back and forth.  It was very cool learning why Natalie and Ash were reacting to each other the way they were.  [SPOILER: However, I didn’t like how Richards decided to add some random mythology out of the blue to explain how Ash and Natalie are Blood Mates.  It didn’t really make sense, and it was totally out of place.  ]  However, I didn’t like how Richards added random characters in to make the plot more exciting or to get an event to happen.  [SPOILER: For instance, how she introduced Sigor, the vampire absadador or something like that, to get Ash into the vampire part of the city and so he could meet a random person, Evangeline, who complicated the romance. ]  Richards did a really great job of staging things though.  The twists were literally jaw-dropping crazy!  I guessed some of them but others were just out of the blue amazing crazy.  Also she did a really great job of explaining Natalie’s past to support her staging and twists.[SPOILER: I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS SAW THE TWIST ABOUT HOW NATALIE’S HEART WAS REPLACED WITH EVANGELINE’S AND THAT WAS WHY ASH WAS ATTRACTED TO NATALIE, BUT ALSO TO EVANGELINE!  OMG!  That was amazing by Richards to think of that twist, and I literally sat in my chair for like 5 minutes going “WTF just happened!?”  OMG!  Richards did such good staging on that one too because she mentioned Natalie getting a heart transplant earlier in the book but I didn’t think it would be a huge thing in the book, but wow was I wrong.  But I did guess that the stuff in the Golden Haze that was killing people and creating the virus was Basset venom and I totally guessed that it was coming from Natalie’s mom.  BUT I DIDN’T GUESS WHY!  Haha.  Also I was totally blindsided by Polly being Purian Rose’s daughter!  Wow Richards completely threw me for a loop with this book! ]
However, the story line was not my favorite.  I mean, it was a good story, it was interesting, just very poorly put together.  Like I said, the staging for the twists was good, but the story didn’t flow.  It was disjointed and kind of random.  Also the ending was really bad in my opinion.  It was so freaking cheesy! [SPOILER: Ash and Sebastian standing off in the square with their armies behind them, Natalie hanging onto Ash asking him not to fight, and Ash and Sebastian are like staring each other down.  The way I imagine this in movie form is they’re standing all manly and there are close-ups of their faces and Natalie’s hair is like blowing in the wind or something.  And then, AS IT STARTS TO RAIN, they charge.  HOW FREAKING CHEESY IS THAT!?  Ugh. ]  But I also kind of enjoyed it for a different reason than I discussed in the spoiler part because the very ending, which perfectly sets up the second book, was very interesting and honestly made perfect sense. [SPOILER: What I mean is when Ash dies but Natalie brings him back because of the oxygen in his system because his heart doesn’t work and then Natalie brought him back by kissing him and there was that charge between them because they’re blood mates.  That was very well done. ]

Also, two things that I feel like I have to mention that don’t really have anything to do with the story so aren’t really spoilery but I’ll white them out anyway are:
[SPOILER: First, the fact that the characters don’t swear.  Oh wait, correction, they don’t say “fuck”.  But they have no problem saying “bitch”.  Richards replaced “fuck” with “fragg” so she would have the characters say like “fragg you” or “fragg it” or “did you fragg her?!” UGH SO FRAGGING ANNOYING!  ;P
Second, Ashe’s hair.  Apparently Ash’s hair moves on its own.  It senses blood.  And if Natalie rubs it it can turn him on.  Enjoy below:

“Maybe…you…should…stop,” he says between rapid breaths.  “I’m…losing…it..”
I carry on massaging his hair, knowing what it’s doing to him, knowing how sensitive his hair is to stimulation and loving the fact that I have this effect on someone as beautiful as him”.

Excuse me while I go vomit. ]

Even with all I said above, I still really liked these characters.  I should be so freaking annoyed with them after all the drama and back and forth but I’m not.  I don’t know why.  I liked how the romance was set up, first off, because I liked how Ash and Natalie hated each other and then started to love each other.  They were really great characters.  Ash was a nice guy, but also dark and damaged and flawed and vulnerable.  He has personality, he has strength.  Natalie was also a very strong character, and I loved how she was defiant, strong under pressure, and brave.  I loved how Richards delved deeper into Natalie and Ash’s characters and explained their individual histories.

Even though this book had a lot of good things going for it, the ending and story line, not to mention some other VERY creepy things, kind of off-set the good.  I loved the staging, twists, writing, world, and characters, but the ending was just so cheesy and the story line was so choppy.  But I still, in a weird way, enjoyed this book.

2 pink flowers

What did you guys think of this book?  Leave your thoughts in a comment and we'll have a discussion! :)


  1. I'm afraid I may have the similar reaction as you had. Everything you said would irritate me a little. I have the book, but I'm hesitating on reading it because the plot sounds a little corny. And you pretty much said that part is disappointing. *sigh* Maybe I'll try it out when I'm feeling in the mood for vamps :)

  2. I've just picked up this book finally. I still hold some hopes for it although they are dimmed a little now. Still, thanks for the honest review :)

  3. With a unique world with humans and Darklings, a super sweet romance, and multiple horrible villains all make Black City a wonderfully exciting read. As I found out, the story is just equally as beautiful as the cover. I also get to meet Elizabeth in February, so that's beyond awesome!
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