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Publication Date: November 13th 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR
Where did I get this book?: A friend lent it to me!
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-old 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.
My Rating: ☆☆☆
At this time, I have already finished both Black City and its sequel, Phoenix, and am a few pages into the third and final installment, Wings. This series was quite fast-paced because I practically tore right through them. I lent This Savage Song to a friend, who lent me Black City, which I finished over a weekend. It’s been a few weeks and I have yet to see This Savage Song back in my possession…
it’s enough to make me all anxious and jittery, but we won’t talk about that.
Anyway, on to the review!
Firstly, what did I enjoy about Black City? I very much liked the Natalie’s character arc throughout the book. She definitely became more aware and empathetic while still struggling through her grief and anger. Ash is quite the jerk for nearly the entirety of the book (mainly to disguise how conflicted he is – typical “bad boy” style), but besides that quality, he’s a fairly endearing individual. The supporting characters were also pretty great – I only wish we could have seen more of them!
The overall feel of the novel reminded me of The Hunger Games for three main reasons: one, the leader is named Purian Rose (he and President Snow would be greatly pleased to make each other’s acquaintance, don’t you think?), two, the cold dystopian “coal miner-ish” setting, and three, the ending. No spoilers, but it really, really reminded me of the beginning of Catching Fire. Also, Ash? The girl on fire? Hmm…I’m beginning to see some parallels here.
Also, I’d like to have a moment of cover love. Just a moment though because I do believe the cover art just keeps getting better throughout the trilogy. And in all honesty, it took me a couple looks to realize that’s a rose on the cover. But once I figured it out, I liked the SFF effect of it.
So, now for the cons. (This is where things get messy.) The first is the super fast plot. Everything seemed to go from good to bad to okay to bad again in the quickest way possible (and spoiler, everything happens even quicker in the first half of the sequel). I barely had time to recover from one crazy moment before something else happened. And not in a “fast-paced thriller” sort of way. Rather, “headache-inducing moment after the other.” Either something bad messed up the rare moments of peace and quiet, or right after a tragedy, the main characters went from feeling heartbroken to instant happiness and making out. I’m sorry, what? Xyz just happened and you just gloss over it by kissing?
I also wasn’t very happy with the author’s world-building. This story is clearly a dystopia, but how did it become one? What was the world like before that? There was barely any “so this is how it was before everything went bad.” I was left wanting more of that backstory. Why were the darklings the oppressed ones? What’s the story behind the different types of vampires? What all happened in the old war? How did the vampires become so compliant? It was like staying home sick for a week and coming back to school only to realize you’ve missed a great deal of History class, and everyone gives you a few bits and pieces of information but not enough to provide a full picture of what you missed. I need to know!
And finally, the one particular aspect of the book that I really, really didn’t like, even more so than the head-splittingly fast plot and lack of world-building, was the insta love. It was predictable and unrealistic, and yet there it was plain as day in the story. Is love at first sight real? I’d like to believe so. But not here. It felt too rushed, too “I hate him, but he’s hot and mysterious, but he’s the bad guy, but he’s handsome…” Can this trope go on vacation for a while? Please?
Honestly though, this book wasn’t unforgivable nor was it completely boring. In fact, I really enjoyed it (despite the insta love trope…and the lack of world-building…cough). The characters were mostly believable, and the plot was interesting. And I liked that it was a fast read, especially for the fact that I could show off to my friend by returning the book to him after a day or two. No joke, I felt like I was 7 again, when I used to borrow books from my non-reader bestie every weekend and read through them in a matter of hours. Good times.
(but seriously, if my friend is reading this, I’d like my book back. I miss it. 😂)
Got any tropes that get on your nerves (insta love, bad boy/nerdy girl, love triangle, etc)? Got some you just can’t live without? Tell me in the comments below!