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jenniarndt

Alluring Reads

I love reviewing books! (And I don't know what to put here yet because I am just trying the site out!)

Black City

Black City - Elizabeth  Richards You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.Actual rating is 2.5I really struggle with how to rate Black City. This is the first instance where I actually want to leave out the rating and just let the review speak for itself. Did I enjoy reading the novel? Yes, it was a quick read and there were many elements of it that kept me turning the pages and longing to find out how it would end. But within those pages there were so many things that bothered me. I actually found myself having to go back and re read sections because I would be thinking about all the things that were bothering me rather than paying attention to the story.I'm going to step back here and talk about the things that I enjoyed in Black City first. In the very first chapter there is a very dark and ominous tone set forth that is maintained quite well throughout the novel. The United Sentry States is not a happy place and there are terrible things happening around the clock. We have citizens hooked on a drug called Haze which comes out of the darklings fangs, we have crucifixions happening in public to criminals and we have a drastic divide between the human and darkling race. All of these elements made for some really interesting, dark and gory scenes that sucked me in and I really enjoyed them. There is also a really unique twist in the overly cliché love story that dropped my jaw which was an awesome play by the author because it made the romance a little less mundane.So I guess this is a good place to jump more in depth into the romance and shift into what I didn't like about the novel. So, we have two instances of insta-love here which in turn creates a really annoying love triangle. It's pretty clear throughout who Ash (the male half-blood darkling in the center of our triangle) is going to pick but there is no denying that the dreaded shape is there. My biggest problem with this was not only the insta-love but also the fact that I was left not believing either of the romances. There was no natural progression, just arms brushing and sparks flying. I'm sorry but that just doesn't work for me. I want to see two people get to know each other and get through some trying situations together before they start throwing around their I Love Yous. If you want me to buy into the romance in your story make me believe it, don't just tell me it is so. When Ash touched Natalie and shivers ran through their bodies I was willing to forgive it but the moment he touched Evangeline and there was a spark I couldn't help but roll my eyes.Now, normally I can buy into an unbelievable romance if I like the characters involved but really I didn't care for many people in this novel. Natalie started off as someone who I was rooting for; she was a girl living as the daughter of the Emissary of Black City and she wasn't a lemming who bought into everything her mother told her. She lived through a terrible ordeal with her father's death which shaped her opinions a bit but even despite that she was open to change. But once she fell in love it's like her hormones took over everything she did and I couldn't help but find her annoying. Her constant shutting out of Ash before even knowing what was going on was rash and if her feelings were what they were supposed to be, her actions were utterly unbelievable. Also, I found many things about her inner dialogue contradictory and that annoyed me. Very early on in the novel she thinks about how happy she is to have Day as a real friend, someone who isn't just hanging around her because of who her mother is. She states that when she was living in Centrum she made a lot of friends, but once she moved back to Black City it was clear that they weren't her real friends because they never called her anymore and she didn't talk to anyone from Centrum. Then at the tail end of the novel when she fights with her mom she packs up her stuff and thinks about how she will go to Centrum with her jewelry to pawn and that she doesn't need much money because she has friends there who will help her out. Small, I know but still it annoyed me. Of all the characters I guess the one that I connected with most was Ash. I felt bad for him. His love for the childhood story The Wooden Boy (aka Pinnochio) made me so sad because all his life all he has wanted was to be a real boy. Also, the situation with his mom was terrible and heartbreaking so I totally felt for him.Okay, speaking of The Wooden Boy and how the story has its own references to real life things. I also found it terribly annoying how the characters were constantly using the word "fragg" rather than the good old f-bomb, but again that was small and something I could look past (even though I wanted to scratch my eyeballs out every time someone said it) What REALLY bothered me in Richard's choices to play on words in the novel was her term for the darklings. Now, the darklings are a segregated race in Black City. They are forced to live on one side of a giant separating wall and the only ones allowed on the human side are the ones who are maids or slaves and the select few who are owned and wear a bracelet stating who they belong to. And finally, in a world of segregated races there is of course going to be forbidden love, and any citizens who get into a human/darkling relationship are referred to as race traitors. I can deal with all of that, what I can't deal with is the fact that humans call darklings "nippers." I'm sorry but with all of the plays on words and references to real life stuff that one just hits a little too close to home and I found the reference completely unnecessary. I get the point that the author was trying to convey with the reference, but I think the point was made just find without the play on a very derogatory term.With that I am finished ranting. I don't know how to throw a rating on this review, I liked reading the novel and I read it really fast as I already stated but there is just so much that I had issue with. Maybe everyone won't have these issues and it's just my own experience, but this is why I review books, to convey my thoughts and reading experience and hope I help someone make a decision in the process.