Book Review: Black City

As mentioned in my last post, here is my book review that was intended for Saturday but got delayed because of my brother’s graduation party.  Better late than never!  I apologize again. Anyway, Saturday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!


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.-Goodreads summary

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • The book is a beautiful cover; however, it took me awhile to discern what exactly was on the cover-an exploding rose.  Gorgeous, but not explicitly in the story so it allows for artistic interpretation.  I like it!

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • The original parts of the plot are very good.  I enjoyed when Richards “broke from the mold.”  I found these parts of the novel to be the most exciting and most believable.  Honestly, I wish the author would have structured more of the story around her own ideas because they are great!
  • I’m a sucker for imagery that foreshadows future events, and Richards uses plenty of it.  Some YA authors can over emphasize these images, which detracts from the subtle hinting.  However, she implements these signs in such a nonchalant way that it made me excited to discover one.  While Richards’s foreshadowing indicated certain upcoming events, it never made the book predictable.
  • Great unsuspecting plot twists!  I can’t go into too much detail here because I don’t want to give away the book.
  • I enjoyed the depiction of the corrupt elements in the story.  Every character has a story which led to some very interesting and unsuspecting character development.
  • The latter half of the book is captivating.  I did not want to put down the book!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • I found the beginning of the book to be very confusing.  Richards overly implements the writers’ adage “show don’t tell” in her story, which leads to an inablilty to connect with characters and the plot in the first hundred pages.  Some of the confusion eventually gets resolved, but a lot of information is left to the discretion of the reader.  For example, I know a Darkling is a vampire, but what are these other “races” of vampires and how do they correlate with the ones in this specific city?  From where do they come?  etc.  My confusion and continuous questioning leads me to believe that the world-building is sub-par.  It is not horrible but definitely not comparable to other books.
  • The definition of insta-love can be found between this book’s pages.  Romance in YA books is wonderful when it is done well.  However, Richards makes these characters fall in love within the first fifty pages.  It is ridiculous and horribly unbelievable.  The romance is literally forced.  Moreover, the “origin” of their love is so outrageous and does not give sufficient grounds for a serious relationship.  I mean really!?  Throughout the novel Natalie commented to her lover Ash that they really did not know each other.  Very true, Natalie, but why do you continually profess your love to him?  I would have enjoyed watching their relationship progress as they familiarize themselves with each other and believe this would have made the romance elements more realistic and less of a joke.
  • Too, too, too many elements from top YA books.  I really should have tallied how many references I found to The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter.  I understand that authors can be inspired by other works, but it is important to make his or her own work as original as it can be.  This book heavily relies on these other books’ plots to constitute its own.  I am seriously in awe that this book has not received any trouble for its infringements on copyright laws.  Overall, the times when the author does steer away from these plots are the best.  Seriously, Richards you should have pursued your own story!

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!


I’d recommend this book to those who like young adult fiction, dystopia, paranormal (vampire), and romance novels.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Black City

  1. Insta-love is a huge turn off for me as well, fortunately it usually only occurs in younger YA books (but obviously not in this case). I think it’s a sign of poor writing more than anything else which is sad.

    • Same here! Overall, the writing style of this book was a little lackluster since I felt like many scenes were duplicates of popular YA novels. The insta-love aspect is just another example of the poor writing style. Overall, it’s not a bad book but definitely not one of the best books I have ever read.

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