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!

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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!

Recommendations:

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

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Friday Reads

Happy Friday!  Woohoo you successfully got through another week!  Friday Reads enables me to share what I plan on reading this weekend.  As I do not post on Sundays, it allows you to be updated and know what I hope to accomplish in my reading endeavors.  Additionally, Friday Reads is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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“Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder-something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn’t do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.” –Goodreads summary

I picked this up from the library a week ago because the summary was extremely compelling.  First, I definitely like how the author implements a “recent” historical event into the story.  I see this as an opportunity for some major character development.  Additionally, I believe it will be thought-provoking to readers as it deals with an extremely difficult tragedy; I slightly am hoping that this will be one of those books that may “change my life!”  Lastly, I am pleased that this author has included some romance in the book.  Having the protagonist dealing with the effects of the tsunami will probably be difficult to read; therefore,the romance will be a nice relief-at least, I hope!

As of now, I have only read the prologue.  I cannot give much of an opinion about the book as I feel it has not had sufficient time to receive any sort of judgments.  However, I look forward to reading this book!  Look for a review in the future!

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“In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world”-Goodreads summary

l probably won’t finish The Unnaturalists this weekend, but I’m hoping to attempt it.  Again, I got this book from the library and was very intrigued by its summary.  I love historical fiction books, and I love that there will be some Steampunk elements in this novel-I mean look at that cover; it looks so Steampunky!  

Other than the excitement of the plot and cover, I really do not have many expectations for this book.  I just hope its an enjoyable read!  I plan on reviewing this book in the future as well.

*What books do you plan on reading this weekend?  Comment below, and you may be featured in the next Friday Reads!*