Black City (Black City Chronicles Series #1)

( 43 )

Overview

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 ...

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Black City (Black City Chronicles Series #1)

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vampires, genetics, dystopia, racism, and star-crossed romance vie for space in Richards’s overstuffed debut, first in a trilogy. In Black City, one of nine megastates in the theocratic United Sentry States, vampiric Darklings live in walled ghettos, segregated from the human population. As a “twin blood”—half Darkling, half human—16-year-old Ash Fisher is an outcast among both peoples, but is drawn to Natalie Buchanan, daughter of the Emissary who heads up Black City. Readers won’t have to try hard to spot the many parallels between the injustices of Ash and Natalie’s world and their own, including forced relocations, crucifixions, and torture, along with allusions to Nazi Germany and the use of the epithet “nipper” for Darklings. Despite initial mutual hostility between Natalie and Ash, their romance is inevitable. However, it gets buried by unwieldy pseudoscience (including plague strains, genetic superpowers, and creatures with too many or too few heartbeats), Darkling lore, religious dogma, and questionable world-building, starting with the atmospheric but inexplicable decision to build a city out of materials that smolder in perpetuity once ignited. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Ayesha Pande Literary. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
The setting takes the reader to an unfamiliar city, one that does not exist in our reality. The plot includes multiple twists and turns, creating an unpredictable ending. The main characters, who live in a rough neighborhood, portray a typical love triangle. These young people find themselves in a war torn civilization where the good guys could be the bad guys and self-destruction is on the agenda. Our young hero must decide if he should love the one who is supposed to be "his other half," or if he should go with the one who should have been his other half. This off the wall drama demonstrates how, regardless of the circumstances, teenagers make bad decisions, but in the end they can do the right thing. I applaud Elizabeth Richards for the originality of the plot and setting, but the characters felt flat and did not ring true to life. Teen drama happens, but too much can negatively affect the story. Reviewer: Julia Beiker
VOYA - Sean Rapacki
It would be easy to do a hatchet job on this book and dismiss it as a mash-up of two popular young adult genres, supernatural romance and dystopian thriller. Indeed, there is something about this story of the love between a half-vampire yearning for a heartbeat and the daughter of the ruthless ruler of the city whose totalitarian regime threatens vampire (or, as they are called here, darkling) kind, that sounds like it was inspired by a marketing department rather than a muse. Luckily, Richards is a skilled enough writer that her debut, the first book in a series, still comes across as compelling and fresh, rather than a crass attempt to cash in on literary fads. Chapters are either narrated by half-darkling Ash or human Natalie, and both characters are given depth and interesting backstories. One part of the book that does not ring true is when Ash and Natalie hook up almost immediately after watching his mother get murdered. It seems more than a little jarring to transition from a brutal death to a tender love-making scene, trivializing Ash's loss. But, it is probably not a fatal flaw that would stop a reader from picking up the next book in the series. Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Tapping into many popular tropes, Black City tells a story, in alternating narratives, of a pair of star-crossed youths from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum set against a dystopian backdrop. Ash is a twin-blood-part vampiric Darkling and part human-living on the fringe while his Darkling family is forced to live in an enclosed ghetto, segregated from the human population. Natalie is a pampered but compassionate young woman, daughter of a highly positioned government official, with whom Ash feels a baffling but undeniable connection after a random post-curfew encounter. When the two later meet at school, circumstances throw them together and their attraction, though illegal, grows. As they begin to understand each other, their heavily militarized world begins to crumble and their actions reflect a new perspective. While this exploration may enchant some readers, many secondary characters remain one-dimensional, and their actions compulsory. Strong world-building is undermined by verbosity and banal expressions ("Just because your heart doesn't beat doesn't mean you're not alive"). Overall, Black City is a lackluster addition to the oversaturated field, but insatiable fans of saccharine paranormal romances or gritty dystopian novels will devour it greedily as it provides a balanced combination of romance, action, and fantasy.—Nicole Politi, The Ocean County Library, Lavallette, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Eyes will roll. Ash is a scorned twin-blood Darkling--hybrid son of a human and a vampire--who hustles Haze, the drug that occurs naturally in Darkling venom, to the addicted human youth of Black City. Natalie is all human, daughter of Black City's newly returned Emissary, local head of the national government that just won a bitter war against the Darklings and is committed to racial purity. When they meet under a bridge after Natalie slips her security detail, Natalie's heart skips a beat. So does Ash's, which is seriously weird, because twin-bloods' hearts don't beat at all. (Full Darklings have two hearts, one of the book's many arbitrary and wholly unconvincing quirks of biology.) They meet again at school; they engage in pro forma animosity; they realize they love each other. While this narrative arc is entirely predictable, at least it is relatively short--but into the mix are thrown political upheaval, a murder mystery, a contagious wasting disease, brutality against animals, parental infidelity, steamy near-sex scenes, vivisection and public crucifixions, along with grindingly obvious parallels to Nazism and the American skinhead movement. Copious infodumps do not compensate for slipshod worldbuilding. There is as little nuance to the relationships as everything else; in addition to the ludicrous destiny that binds Natalie and Ash, friendships dissolve and come back together with all the subtlety of a preschool playground. Bloated and banal. (Paranormal romance. 14-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142427224
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Series: Black City Chronicles Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 103,748
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Richards lives in Buckinghamshire, England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2012

    My Favorite Debut of 2012 thus far!

    I am so overwhelmed by this book; I honestly don’t know where to begin. However, I believe I can sum up my review in one word – Unputdownable! Elizabeth Richards managed the impossible by writing a unique YA vampire story in a market flooded with Twilight and Vampire Academy knock-offs. And, on top of that, set the story in a dystopian world. I’m going to do my best not to fan-girl as I try to discuss the compelling and layered characters in this series. Natalie is the kind of heroine that makes it easy to cheer for. I love who she becomes by the end of the book. And, oh-my-god, I am in LOVE with Ash. He’s so crushable, I was nearly licking the pages. Their love story flows effortlessly. I blew through the pages, desperate to know what happened next. Simply calling their love forbidden doesn’t do it justice. Even they fight how they feel, but once they succumb, it’s just delicious! Beyond their love is world at its breaking point. I really don’t want to talk too much about it because I don’t want to give any spoilers. I want readers to go into as I did, so you will love it as I did. If you’re sick of vampires and dystopians, read this anyway. This is the book that will remind you why you loved these genres in the first place. I would recommend this book to anyone with eyeballs and the ability to read. Finally, I’d like to appeal directly to Hollywood. Please stop remaking movies from the 80’s and open your eyes to the literary talent right under your nose. This book NEEDS to be made into a movie. Twilight fans will devour this love story. The brutality, fear, racial undertones, and government corruption will appeal to Hunger Games fans.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    This was an amazing book !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Amazing book !!! A must read !!!! I started reading this and couldnt put it down!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you are looking for a book that will whisk you away to a worl

    If you are looking for a book that will whisk you away to a world where you will find yourself completely immersed in, Black City by Elizabeth Richards is the one for you. I devoured this book. DEVOURED I tell you! And trust me on this, once you start, you won’t be able to put it down. I breathed it, lived it, craved it. I would put it down, and peek at it from the corner of my eye…hearing it calling my name to come back and find out what happens next. I had to listen! Seriously, it was calling to me…how could I say no!

    Not only was the writing and world building world class, the characters found in Black City were ones that you won’t forget. From the moment you meet main characters, Natalie and Ash, you know that there is this chemistry that flows between them, and that something amazing is going to happen. And of course, there are those laugh out loud moments, that really solidified the deal for me.

    But of course it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and white puffy clouds during their first encounter. Oh no dear readers. Natalie chances upon Ash, who is a Haze dealer, giving a Haze addict her fix (Haze being an addictive drug made of a Darkling’s venom). This little scene, by the way, ( though very short ) was hot. Like whistle through your teeth and a quick fan of yourself sexy. I think his bad boy demeanour had me already crushing on him. Yes, I crush easily…

    But as we progress through the story, we see not only this tough, brooding, dangerous side of Ash, but we see the endless romantic that I was hoping he would be. We see the soft, sweet, unconditional loving guy that will make any girl swoon. And I’m not talking about lost just for Natalie! I’m also talking about his love that he has for his mother, his father…for his kind. The emotional side that we witness when it comes to Ash and his mother is so touching and heartwarming.

    We get to watch first hand as both Natalie and Ash brings down their boundaries regarding each other and watch this beautiful story unfold. A glimpse into one of the most romantic love stories I’ve been privileged to read. And with the highs, come the lows. And the lows that we come across are emotionally charged, heart breaking, and has you even more addicted.

    Author, Elizabeth Richards, does an amazing job driving home the loneliness that Ash feels being segregated from his own people. To be forced to live among the humans, and face the ridicule and pain that he has to endure every day due to him being a mixed race. She also does an amazing job describing the conflicts that go on in Natalie’s mind between the beliefs she has known from her mother, to the beliefs her father had and what he was fighting for, and the beliefs that come to light during her relationship with Ash.

    Similar to an old tale we know and love, Romeo & Juliet, we have Natalie, whose mother is an all too important Emissary, and then we have Ash, a twin-blood; a half-human half-darkling whose very existence is threatened by Natalie’s mother and her boss, the head of the United Sentry States, Purian Rose. A relationship between them would condemn them to death, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And in this case, Natalie and Ash’s hearts are meant for each other. And there’s a point in the story, where all of this comes to light, and you can’t help but awww and smile and grin and smirk and re-read the lines over and over again. I’m not giving anything away…seriously it’s all there on the inside flap of the book.

    You know how you have those books that you love, and there’s the one line that you will always remember and hold close to your heart? There is such a line in Black City:

    “So begins my heart, so begins our life, everlasting”

    Romantic right? Ash and Natalie hear a Darkling couple sing The Blood Vow to consummate their union, similar to that of wedding vows. When I first read it, I, of course, sighed….went to my husband…gave him the book and pointed him to those very words and made him say them. Yes, I’m odd. It was just so romantic, I needed to hear it out loud. Yes, he read them, and yes he gave me a weird look. But I still walked away smiling.

    Not only are Natalie and Ash unforgettable characters, but the evil in some of the characters are pretty prominent as well. Sebastian, the power hungry body guard/ex-boyfriend who ends up being a big player in Black City. And he is one guy that I loved to hate. And don’t get me started on Gregory! Ooooo he especially grinded my gears. I wanted to wipe his smirk right off his face. Even Natalie’s mother got a few “ugghhs” from me. And let’s not forget the head honcho himself, Purian Rose. The reason why all this animosity between both these races even exists!

    A true sign of a well written book is when the reader can get emotionally involved with the story. And I was totally that and more! When I was talking to one of my Twitter buddies about this book, she said that ending was going to be so intense and even more amazing than it already is. Oh My-lanta was it ever! There were gasps and tears and “noooooo’s” and “yessssss’s”! The ending comes at you at full speed and you better hang on! I was not ready for it to end. Near the end I would read a chapter, put it down, read a chapter, gasp at how quickly the pages were thinning, and finally just ran for the finish line. Intense, powerful, passionate, deep, and any other adjective you can think of!

    Amongst all the darkness, war, and death, a love so pure and genuine blossoms and it takes your breath away. Do not hesitate in reading Black City by Elizabeth Richards. You’ll be so happy that you read it, and you too, will be singing its praises from the rooftops. And fraggin’ yah that it’s going to be a movie!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    I'm always late on the bandwagon when it comes to books like The

    I'm always late on the bandwagon when it comes to books like The Hunger Games Trilogy, City of Bones, and Divergent. I was in the store and came along this and found the cover interesing, vain I know. Glad I did because this book just placed itself in my top 3 favorites. I loved everything about it. The way the author would have both points of view between Ash and Natalie was fantastic. I couldn't put the book down and read in two days. Fast paced, great story, and love'em and hate'em characters. When I came across a chapter ending, thinking I would stop reading, I could not stop myself from seeing what would happen next. Chapter 26 totally threw me for a loop, I was shocked at that little twist. Some people may compare this to Twilight...seriously don't go there. I hope people give this book a chance. The only bad thing is that I have to wait till June to find out what happens next for Ash, Natalie, Polly, Day, and Beetle. Can't wait!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Loved it!!!!

    Make. This. A. Firetrucking. Movie! Love love LOVED IT!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Ehh...

    Ehh....it was OKAY

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Love the book! pretty good twist of today's sci fi of vampires w

    Love the book! pretty good twist of today's sci fi of vampires with original concept. cant wait for 2nd book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Loved it.

    Great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Amazing!

    A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

         Black City enthralled me, it kept me entertained with this

         Black City enthralled me, it kept me entertained with this dark and beautifully crafted world from page one until the end and left me breathless and wanting more.
         I loved the characters. Being in Natalie and Ash's heads was quite the journey from sympathizing with them and wanting to hug them to wanting to give them a Gibbs' clipboard to the back of the head for acting silly and not doing what I want them to.
         As for the plot, it had such depth, I was constantly gasping and being blindsided by what came next. There were a few points where I thought that the characters were just doing things as a plot device, but there constantly was a deeper reason, things that I never would have guessed and never thought up.
         The ending wrapped up the first book well, and gave me a sense of satisfaction while at the same time leaving me craving more and *needing* that next book in my hands now.
         While Black City does have vampires, Elizabeth gave it a take like I haven't read before, and it really seemed like a new paranormal creature rather than your standard vampire. Ash is a halfling, and his sense of disconnect and longing to just be a part of one species, the human or the Darkling is palpable. Ms. Richards gave him life and conflict, and I was wholeheartedly pulling for him, and longing for him to find his place in this dark world.
         Another thing that sold me on this story was watching Natalie grow into her own. I appreciated how she learned to stand up for herself and those that she loved even if she didn't start out that way. 
         The relationship between Natalie and Ash was filled with tension but I loved both their emotional and physical attraction. There were moments where I questioned everything but Elizabeth has the gift of storytelling and of crafting a romance that left me sighing.
         The fighter spirit of Ash and Natalie as well as the light and spark of hope and defiance that they set into this world fraught with politics, segregation, violence and self centeredness.
         I want, no NEED more of Ash and Natalie's love and adventures in Black City. 
         Bottom line: Loved this story! Great characters, fast plot and new take on vampires. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Calling all book lovers!

    I honestly don't know where to start. This book, in one word, was amazing. The dystopian love story is so different from anything you will ever read. This isn't a typical vampire book either. Even though Natalie was admittably a little dry, I wanted to jump in the book and grab Ash for myself-he was just that crushable. Ash was even, crazy as though it sounds, Percy Jackson standard. Overall, a great book that anyone should try, especially if you are sick and tired of the Twighlight rip-off vampire books. This was so complex and believable.

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  • Posted April 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Love is a battlefield and lust is no better. The world build

    Love is a battlefield and lust is no better.




    The world building was nicely done and I liked that I was able to get a real good feel for the city and its inhabitants. This story was fast paced and kept me hooked chapter after chapter. There was a lot of development both character and plot wise, but it never got too overly detailed. There was just enough information to keep me thirsty for more without boring me with mundane details. 




    The romance was not overly done and added to the story without seeming overly fake. It was also nice to see that there was some build up to their romance. When they first meet they are definitely curious of one another, but not love struck by any means. In fact they really couldn't stand each other which made sense given the backgrounds they came from. The characters had a lot of growing up to do within the story from both sides and I enjoyed getting to see the different opinions on how the laws were affecting different people and how. 




    Natalie came off as a bit of a spoiled brat at first, but as time went on I came to understand and see why she acted the way she did. She also went through a lot of growing up in this book and came to better understand the world around her. Once she was able to mingle with others outside of her normal circle she was a lot more open minded about issues that they were dealing with and even stuck up for her friends going against those she once sided with. 




    I loved Ash and not because he was some prince charming or even the moody but sexy stranger. No I loved him because he was so real. He was a real human character with human faults. He made mistakes, but still worked through them and what I loved most about him was his kindness and willingness to do the right thing even when others were (literally) beating him down. He wasn't perfect by any means he made a lot of crappy mistakes, but they only made him more human because of it. 




    This is one story I couldn't put down and I am highly anticipating its sequel "Phoenix"!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2014

    Loved it!

    I couldn't put this book down...no lie. I haven't been so hooked into a book in so long. I read the entire thing in just over 24 hrs. Considering I'm a mom of two young, active kids, I have two jobs and a home to take care of, 24 hrs for a book is amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Elizabeth's debut blew me away. Her words are powerful. You can

    Elizabeth's debut blew me away. Her words are powerful. You can feel how Ash & Natalie feel about one another. I was able to finish in 2 days. Couldn't put it down. It's become one of my favorites. I cannot wait to get Phoenix & Wings. I 'm hooked. This book NEEDS to become a movie. It deserves to be more than words blended on paper. To see the words come alive in my mind is one thing but to see Black City a movie would create a whole new phenomenon. The next Mortal Instruments.   

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    Hands down better than The Hunger Games! Love it !

    Apocolyptic all inspiring love story with so much more, love this and Elizabeth Richards writing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2013

    Heart breaking

    This book will make you laugh, cry, & fall in love with the characters! Not to mention unexpectable twists that will make your mouth drop! I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! Ahhhh!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    What?

    ITS BEING MADE INTO A MOVIE?
    OH MY FREAKING GOSH!!!!
    I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    MUCH
    I'M SMILING INSIDE

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    Great book!

    Loved this book! A different take on vamps and otherworldly things. Awesome!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    These books are the ones that are hard to find. the really good

    These books are the ones that are hard to find. the really good ones that you will just scream for and get all excited about. It has taken so long for me to find a book that for once was enthralling. This is better than Twilight and the Vampire Diaries any day. And. Guess. What? IT'S BEING MADE INTO A FREAKING MOVIE!!!!!!!!!
    I can't wait to see who they are going to pick for the characters. Finally people are getting smart and making movies worth watching. But it won't come out for a while.
    Ugh!
    Well it will surly be worth the waiting because seriously it is an awesome book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    OMG

    I REALLY enjoyed this book.. The story line , the characters , everything. . I am so looking forward to getting my grubby little hands on book two..

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