Black City (Black City Chronicles Series #1)

Black City (Black City Chronicles Series #1)

by Elizabeth Richards


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142427224
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Series: Black City Chronicles Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 277,931
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.12(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Elizabeth Richards lives in Buckinghamshire, England.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Detailed postapocalyptic world building makes Richards' series debut intriguing."--Booklist

"Provides a balanced combination of romance, action. and fantasy."--SLJ

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Black City 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
StaceyONeale More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book !!! A must read !!!! I started reading this and couldnt put it down!!!
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
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!!!
DemetriaW More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the book! pretty good twist of today's sci fi of vampires with original concept. cant wait for 2nd book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
     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. 
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this cover. Really, take a closer look at it -can you really resist it? It's unlike anything else I've seen out there on the shelf, and completely compelling. If it wasn't for this cover, I probably wouldn't have been interested in picking up Black City in the first place. It was the cover the convinced me to try it -just try it -despite the strong romantic implications in the blurb. (I don't know about you, but I'm sick of all the romance-heavy dystpoian novels out there in the YA space. Romantic subplots are fine -just try to do something more original with the main plot!)The world of Black City is a dark one -a terrible future where the humans are the Darklings are separated by walls and years of racial strife. Young Natalie has a promising future as the daughter of the Emissary and a member of the high Sentry class -that is, until she moves to Black City, away from her friends and the future she had planned for herself. Natalie finds herself caught in a web of government lies and conspiracies, along with the many issues facing the races. Then she meets Ash, a half-darkling treated as a second-class citizen who may be more than he seems.If the pair are lucky, they might survive the cruelty of Black City. Maybe.Man, where do I start with this book? There is so much going on and so much to talk about -with such a lush and engaging world, it was nearly impossible for me to put down. Debut author Elizabeth Richards weaves a unique dystopian world under the thumb of a horrible dictator who rules with fear under the guise of religion and racial purity. A rigid class system works to keep the Darklings segregated completely from humans, complete with a police-style force called Trackers whose job is to keep the Darklings under control in their ghettos. With such an incredible world, how could you go wrong? Well, there were a few small things that just bugged me about this book, as I felt like they impeded on the the originality of this book. (But of course, this is mostly personal preference and wasn't so prominent that it destroyed my enjoyment of the book.) First: the Darklings. They are essentially vampires -not of the sparkly type, thank goodness -but still blood-suckers, though with drug-like venom, the ability to walk in the sunlight, and strange genetics that really don't mix well with humans. What really saved this for me was the fact that the vampires are not too vampire-like, but just enough that they are obviously inspired by the popular monsters.Then, there's the ending. (I won't give it all away here, I promise -but I know it's going to very polarizing for readers.) I was truly surprised at the strong use of religious symbolism in this book -it was fairly light for most of the novel, but it became heavier near the end. Did this offend me? No, but it may bother some readers. Then, why did I have an issue with it? Well, I really would have preferred if the religious parallels weren't so darn literal (plus, it made the end feel just too perfect, it was rather jarring and almost too "fairy tale like" for such a dark novel).But I'll keep reading, because I just can't help it. The world, the overarching plot and the characters -there are so much complex conflicts going on here -that I have got to read more. Black City was an enthralling read that completely captured me.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
First thoughts: I really really wanted to like this one. But I just didn't. The character voices were indistinct and the romance felt forced despite the promising and evocative atmosphere. Full Review: Although the war is over, things are far from peaceful in Black City. The city's cinder block buildings still burn. Tensions are high between the Sentry rulers and the workboot commoners. The boundary wall still stands, separating the humans from the Legion ghetto where the Darklings live. Ash Fisher is the only twin-blood Darkling left in Black City--a dubious honor when his survival hinges on blending in. Unfortunately blending in is hard when you're a foot taller than everyone with the addition of fangs and the lack of a beating heart. Not to mention the necessity of dealing Haze to stay afloat. Natalie Buchanan would much prefer to be in the metropolitan capital city of Centrum where she could forget about her father's murder and the rest of her family's troubles. Unfortunately her mother had other plans and now Natalie is struggling to fit into a city she isn't even sure she likes. When Ash and Natalie meet it's intense dislike at first sight. But then why does Natalie keep thinking about Ash? And why does Ash feel so strange when Natalie is near him? Black City is dangerous at the best of times. With rising political unrest and threats of arrest at every turn, things are only getting worse. There couldn't be a worse time to take a stand, let alone fall in love in Black City (2012) by Elizabeth Richards. Black City is Richards' first novel as well as the first book in The Black City Chronicles. Richards dives right into the action leaving little room for explanations or background information. The opening pages are somewhat confusing with a lot of new terms thrown around and many characters introduced. While some explanations are offered as the story progresses, the pacing of the story remains uneven. In an effort to build suspense, Richards plays some plot elements close to the vest. Unfortunately instead of raising curiosity most of these secrets only led to anti-climactic reveals or underwhelming or predictable elements. Black City alternates between Ash and Natalie's first person narrations. While the change in viewpoint is effective in terms of plot development, the two voices are impossible to distinguish save to for Ash's use of swear words and Natalie's sheltered view of Black City politics. Black City itself was evocative enough to be a character in the story. It felt like a supernatural version of Gotham City come to life and was marvelously described. Sadly the characters populating it were not as compelling. Having noticed the similarities, it's impossible to think of this book as anything but a mash-up of Twilight and The Hunger Games. That said, readers who are fans of both titles are sure to find Black City immensely entertaining. Possible Pairings: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Legend by Marie Lu, Twiligth by Stephenie Meyer, Misfit by Jon Skovron, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White *This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*
Readergirl_Revus More than 1 year ago
I had heard such amazing things about this book.  Everywhere I turned, bloggers were giving it glowing reviews, so I really anticipated that I would love this book and probably add another glowing review to the hoard.  Strangely though, I wasn't as knocked out by this book as other bloggers apparently are.  Don't get me wrong! I did like it, but it just didn't live up to the hype I'd seen.  That's the only problem with pre-conceived tends to ruin your own experience. I liked the characters... I thought Natalie was a little reckless though.  Her mother is like the big dog of their society... so I wasn't sure I bought the idea that she could sneak out so well and not be seen.  In a world where everyone is watched so carefully, and her mother being who she is, I just figured Natalie would be watched a lot more closely and never allowed to sneak out the way she did.  I also thought she took some pretty unnecessary risks throughout the story that weren't just risky but stupid.  I did, however, like that she didn't allow her mother's prejudices to be her own.  She made up her own mind. Ash was your typical tall, dark, handsome Darkling character.  I liked him too, but I also had somewhat of a problem with him.  I didn't like how quickly he started to waver when he met another Darkling girl like himself.  I wanted to say, you either love Natalie or you don't.  If you love her, you shouldn't even be entertaining this thought.  But I overlooked it and went with it. The story was definitely unique and the best thing about the book.  This was definitely one of the most interesting takes on vampires that I've read.  And the fact that it was placed into a dystopian setting made it even more interesting to me. Bottom line, I did enjoy the book and I probably will read the sequel, but I want to see some deeper characterization next time.  I also want to see Natalie's choices become a little bit more thoughtful.  The writing, however, was very good.  The author painted a good picture and there were some really great moments of suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
kcody03 More than 1 year ago
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"!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book 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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Apocolyptic all inspiring love story with so much more, love this and Elizabeth Richards writing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! A different take on vamps and otherworldly things. Awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing read, so many twists that really just kept you excited for more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do I even begin to describe how horrible this book is. The plot seems to be a mash of current popular books and movies with a terrible twist. The characters fall in love and basically discuss marriage within days of meeting each other. Hardly anything is clearly explained which leaves you confused during the beginning. I finished this book, but it was like pulling teeth to do so. The last fifty pars are rushed into a conclusion and leave you thinking "Wow, I just read this garage and wasted my life and money on it!"  I would not even want my worst enemy to read this. I have read Harry Pottet, Hunger Games, and several other notable books, but this book doesn't deserve to be such or even given anything above one star. I will warn you to not read this to spare you the frustration of reading a complete waste of book. Worse thing I have ever read in my entire life!!!!!