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Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Publisher: Penguin
Published: November 13, 2012
Pages: 384
Source: From Penguin Canada
Rating: 2 Stars

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.

In short: Black City by Elizabeth Richards may cause a serious eyeroll sprain.
This is one of those situation where the book just wasn't for me and thus my criticisms will be very subjective and specific to my personal tastes and not necessarily reflective of the general opinion. So let's start with the positive: Black City has an interesting premise that, while not completely original, at least presented something intriguing to draw you into the story right away. I won't deny that Black City definitely had that addictive, easy quality to it that kept me reading right to the end. Also, that cover? Gorge.

And now for the not so positive. Black City was terribly cliched. Eyeroll inducingly cliched. In fact, I was kind of sort of impressed by how many of the overused teen book stereotypes that Elizabeth Richards was able to fit into one book. Let's see, we have not only one, but TWO instances of insta-love... within the SAME love triangle!! Ugh - I can't even. And it's not even that I've never enjoyed a love triangle before - because I have (as rare as it is) - but this one was so weak and both relationships were so underdeveloped and fast. And they were utterly lacking in any good romance squees and swoons. I had no interest in either.

And I can't say I particularly cared for any of the characters. Natalie especially - Ugh. At one point she actually uses the dreaded line - and I'm paraphrasing here - "if Day can't support my relationship with Ash then we can't be friends" and then she proceeds to dump her only friend for a boy she met and fell in love with in under a week. Natalie and Ash don't even have a good relationship - they were hot and cold with each other pretty much the entire book! I just have no tolerance for these incredibly juvenile and petty teen relationships. Can we please put an end to them?

I also wasn't impressed with the rather hamfisted allegory present in Black City - it was too literal and blunt. As for the writing, I feel like Elizabeth Richards has room for growth and I hope that she continues to improve. I would probably give her writing another try sometime, but not any sequels to this series. I want to stress that a lot of people have loved Black City and I would recommend it to hardcore paranormal romance lovers. But for those of us who have gotten tired of the same old cliches, Black City will leave you with a serious eyeroll sprain.

Other Reviews:
Alluring Reads
Avery's Book Nook
Icey Books

Authors Links:


  1. Haha! I felt the same way. And yet...I'm still curious to see what happens in book two. But yeah, I rolled my eyes a fair bit while reading. :P

  2. she proceeds to dump her only friend for a boy she met and fell in love with in under a week.

    Ugh, insta-love drives me crazy, and NOT in a good way! I wish authors would expand on it more! I get that there isn't a lot of room within 300 pages or so to develop a good situation for romance, but at least make a believable. Not, OH HE'S SO DAMN HOT AND YUMMY I LOVE HIM 5EVER.

    Cliches are OK SOMETIMES. But if the whole book is full of cliches then... meh. I was actually planning to read this because I saw good reviews, but I trust you and Jenni more.

  3. Too bad. Although your description of the love triangle makes me think of something that actually happened. A guy I know dated a girl for months. They broke up and he started dating another girl. They were engaged within a week and planned to be married in only 3 months! She called it off a month before the wedding. Two weeks later, he was calling me up and asking me out.
    Not the same situation, but made me think of the craziness.

  4. Wow, it sounds like this book was all over the place, the book lost me a little with Love-Triangle alone. I don't mind the cliches when they are well done - I mean, they are cliches for a reason, right? they work for a lot of people - but it doesn't sound like it's the case.

    I'm sorry! I hope you next read is all kinds of awesome.

  5. huh.. this book sounds like it was a complete mess! Im not sure about the love triangle, and i dont think ill be picking this one up soon anytime. Thanks for the great review dear!!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  6. I just reviewed this on my blog too. And guess what? Same thoughts :D Just didn't work for me.

  7. YES! I completely agree with you, Aylee. I love how you point out that you were sort of impressed by how many cliches she managed to pack into this mess of a novel. It was bad! Just bad, though it did have that addictive feel to it and I zoomed through it pretty fast. But maybe that was because I couldn't wait to see just how bad the trainwreck would get? LOL Love the honest review!

  8. Uh oh Aylee. I have very little patience for petty and juvenile teen relationships as well, especially ones that blow hot and cold throughout. Either you like one another and want to be together, or you don't. Please make a decision and stick with it:) I was so excited for this book, but now I'm thinking it's definitely not for me as the love triangle and insta-love would drive me absolutely crazy.

  9. Dang it Aylee! I was really looking forward to this one, but based on your review and a few others I've read that agree with you, I think I'll take a pass. I'm sick of instalove and love triangles. Give me something new!

    Great review. Sometimes it can be tough to write reviews for the ones we didn't love.

  10. Well, I consider myself, as you call it, a hardcore PNR fan so I don't think I'll mind much of the cliche-ness of this too much, though it is disappointing. =/ Sorry you didn't like it.

  11. All righty then....well the cover was beautiful and unique at least! I don't think I can overcome the flaws you speak of in your review: especially insta love and a crummy mc. No thanks I'll pass. Thanks for your honest review.

  12. So far I have read about four blog reviews of this book and they have all mentioned the cliche heaviness. Also, the insta-love love triangle. Each review makes me not want to read the book. However, it is so hard to walk past this book in the bookstore because it is just so pretty.

  13. Auuugh I have this checked out from the library but I've read SO many mixed reviews. I don't know, I guess I'll see when I read it. I hate that it's cliched though, ugh. Thanks for your honest review!

  14. I have mixed feelings about this book. I remember when a lot of people were waiting for this book: I kept seeing it as WoW picks. I also started to get excited, but I guess the expectations were too high.. Instant-love AND a love-triangle (to make it even worse) combined with cliches and a not-so-interesting character.. Ugh, don't like the sound of it.


  15. Too bad this one didn't work for you! And after all the hype, too. Maybe it was too much hype. I've read a few poor reviews about the book. I probably won't pick it up.

    Great review, Aylee!

  16. I actually liked this book...a lot! Yes, you are absolutely right that the story has many cliches and insta-love, but I liked the world-building and the themes in the novel. I'm looking forward to Phoenix and seeing where the story takes the characters. It's an interesting concept. I did find vampires in a creepy dystopian world very interesting and compelling.

  17. I am so overwhelmed by this book; I honestly don't know where to begin. However, I believe I can sum up my review in one word - Unputdownable!

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