8 October 2012


Author: Elizabeth Richards
Series: Yes, #1
US Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
US Release date: 13th November 2012
Genre: YA
Kindly lent by Casey at Dark Readers

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.

The world building in Black City was a lot more atmospheric and dystopian than I expected. The city where Ash and Natalie lived was a crumbling, burnt mess after the post-apocalyptic bombing that waged war between the two races: Darklings and humans. For some reason the boundary wall built to separate Darklings and humans reminded of the Berlin wall. In this case, the boundary wall prevented Wraths and Darklings from mixing with humans and killing or infecting them. Despite the fact that Darklings, like vampires, do bite and drink blood there was a lot of prejudice towards them as approved and incited by the government and sentry. This prejudice and violent discrimination gave the plot heaps of tension and also made the budding romance between human Natalie and half-blood Ash completely forbidden and illegal.

I loved the simultaneous hatred and passion that Natalie and Ash felt for each when they first met. Their dialogue exchanges were biting and witty. Coupled with the fact that any feelings they might have felt had to be hidden, this made their developing romance so exciting. I loved the two of them and wanted them to be together. Although Natalie was like the privileged rich kid, she had a real sense of morals and was able to stand up for herself and her beliefs. And although Ash was the dark and dangerous half-human, he was kind and sensitive, and deeply charismatic and attractive.

The plot had plenty of tension, romance excitement, and intertwining stories. Particularly towards the end, the plot took some dramatic and surprising twists. One of the events involving Ash and twin-blood Evangeline did annoy me. I won't say why, but I will say I was disappointed in Ash's decision making and reasoning. He lost a little of my trust in him, and he will have to work hard to earn it back in Phoenix.

My only little peeve with the writing would be the word "fragging", which was regularly used by several of the characters. I know it's more of an American and teenage thing, but I would have preferred the characters to either have sworn or said something completely different instead. This is just my personal preference, so it probably wouldn't bother anyone else.

Black City is a dark, atmospheric romance story set in a dystopian world where humans and Darklings are segregated at every turn.

Rating: 4*

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