Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards (and an SPN tangent)

Publisher: Penguin
My Copy: e-book purchased for iBooks

Goodreads Synopsis

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.


To say I had high hopes for this book is an understatement.
BLACK CITY by Elizabeth Richards has been on my TBR pile forever. It just resonated with what I’m writing right now- I’m working on a full-length novel with a creepy city too- and I wanted to see how she pulls it off (because I’m having enough trouble making up a city). I wanted to see if the world building could actually be done right, or if the love-triangle could actually be non-cliché and entertaining.
Sadly, Black City just doesn’t work for me.

I’ve read rave reviews for Black City, some praising Richards’ writing. The thing about a book like Black City, which focuses on romance as well as rebellion, beauty as well as callous cruelty, is that it needs to be written…well, a little less like R. L. Stine. I love R.L. Stine and his writing suits the plots he creates, but in Black City the writing was just too clean and simple and non-lyrical. I’m not the kind of reader that gets swept off simply by a great plot. To me, writing matters. If it’s choppy that will suit your book, go for it. If it’s something like Daughter of Smoke and Bone, go lyrical. This was what I was expecting with Black City, the kind of tugging at hearts writing. I did not get it.

While Ash was interesting enough, not even that exceptionally, I just fell asleep when Natalie was talking. Maybe I’m just getting tired of emo.
This book switches POV’s every chapter, and while I find that absolutely fine- look at This is Shyness or Incarceron, which does this perfectly- again, in Black City I wasn’t…invested.
Yes, that’s the word. Invested. I couldn’t get invested in the plot or the characters, no one ripped my heart out and chewed it up and spat it out in little pieces (boo) and I. Just. Didn’t. Care.
Then there’s instalove. I swear we should petition for some rule to ban this, like, forever. I DID NOT expect instalove in Black City, that was possibly the problem. I WANTED a developing love story. I WANTED two characters from two entirely different backgrounds to meet and understand each other and slowly move into a dance-phase (the do-I-love-him/her, how-do-I-let-him/her-know plot that I adore)

This was okay, and I won’t give much away. At least it held me interested. Although towards the end, the villain was looking more and more like a ghost of President Snow. And Ash was the “Boy Who Rose From the Ashes”, which is uncomfortably similar to “The Girl on Fire”. The near-end scene is just too much like Katniss being threatened by Snow.

THE GOOD STUFF (bullet-pointed, because I’m out of time)
-        Pretty decent world-building
-        CRUCIFIXION. There’s a good, scary image.
-        “And so begins my heart.” I could sing that line.
-        The unbelievable, gorgeous cover.
-        The different types of Darklings.

Black City didn’t work for me. I was put off by Instalove, and by a mediocre plot, plus unspectacular writing in a book where I thought spectacular could do WONDERS. Part of this disappointment was probably due to my own high expectations, so give Black City a try.
You might love it.


Guys, voting for People’s Choice Awards is now open. I will be voting like CRAZY for Supernatural in every category it has been nominated. That is Favorite Sci-fi/Fantasy show, two nominations for Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in Favorite Dramatic Actor (I’ll throw an even amount of votes for both; I can’t choose between the Winchesters!) and Favorite Fan Following, which I hope we win regardless of all the ill sentiments from last year, because we’re a very tight, very wonderfully crazy fandom. (We’re still a little bummed that People’s Choice didn’t put SPN on the Favorite TV Drama list- come on, it WON last year. There should at least be a nomination this year!)
I’m also voting for Castle’s Stana Katic (Kate Beckett) in Favorite Dramatic Actress, and Revolution in Favorite New Show.
Plus, Potter fans, do vote for Potterheads in the Favorite Film Franchise Fan Following J
Go to to vote, and if you’re a die-hard SPNFamily member, what the hell are you still reading this for? Go Vote!    


  1. Oh no! I've been wanting to read this book. I hate when you have high expectations for a book and then it fails you! I was doing some blog hopping and found yours. I am now your newest follower! :) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

    Leigh Ann
    MaMa's Book Corner

  2. Ehh, yeah... I mean, what more is there to say about this one? I think we covered it pretty well between our reviews :) I was really looking for more from the author with respect to the writing, characters, and romance, too. Disappointing, indeed.

  3. Oh, I was so hoping this book would live up to all the hype....I mean, I've seen it in several giveaways and all...and that cover is simply to die for!! Well, now that I've read your very entertaining review, I might very well pass on this one. I dunno. Maybe. I could give it my usual test read -- that's when I go to B&N, find a book that looks interesting, and then sit in the café and read the first chapter. If I'm not thrilled by the end of the chapter, the book goes right back on the shelf. On the other hand, I might do a standing test read -- in which I grab a book off a shelf, and read a couple of paragraphs right then and there. If the book manages to pull me in, I'll head for the café. If not, back it goes on the shelf. Sigh....I'll try it and see... Thanks for the review!! :)


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