Monday, November 12, 2012

Black City - Book Review

I received another new young adult novel from Putnam Juvenile, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. This one is for a slightly older audience (14 and up) than the last YA book I read, so it's not really appropriate for our middle school book club. But Black City by Elizabeth Richards was still a pretty entertaining read, and, according to the book's press release, Screen Gems preemptively optioned the book for film. I can definitely see Black City as a movie.

Black City, which hits bookstore shelves tomorrow, November 13, is the first book in a new series. It is equal parts Twilight and The Hunger Games with just enough differences to make it stand apart from either series. The book is set in a place called the United Sentry States, specifically a city called Black City that is part of the megastate Black River. There are nine megastates total with some being very rich, some being very poor, and one being a place where people go to die. The United Sentry States is ruled by a man named Purian Rose.

It's not just humans who live in the United Sentry States. There are also Darklings, vampire-like people who need blood to survive and who have claws. There is also a dangerous virus infecting and killing Darklings. The Darklings and humans are separated by a wall in Black City, but some Darklings are allowed to live and attend school on the human side because they are twin-bloods: half human and half Darkling.

Sixteen-year-old Ash Fisher is a twin-blood who only wants to keep out of everyone's way. He hates the way humans treat him, but he's not interested in fighting for the Darkling cause. So he bitterly does nothing.

But then Ash meets Natalie Buchanan, the daughter of Black City's Emissary (like a mayor or governor). Human Natalie and twin-blood Ash strike up a forbidden romance and fight against the government, even though they could be executed for it.

At first, I wasn't really digging this book because I HATE Twilight and I felt like the whole overbearing government thing ala The Hunger Games wasn't that original. Just another case of an author and publishing house trying to capitalize on trends. But once I got into Black City, I did start to like it more. Sure, the vampire-like Darklings have "sparkly" eyes (what is it with vampires and sparkle?), and the whole forbidden romance thing has been done numerous times before. But you can't fault a novel that's all about getting people to see past differences and live in harmony. The book has good action, slimy bad guys, and lots of interesting twists. I'm honestly looking forward to the next installment in the series, Phoenix.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review.
    I love to hear about new books. I may have a look at it...after I have read the long list of books I have on my night stand right now ;)