When I picked up this book, I had no idea that it was about vampires. Although I am not usually a fan of this genre, I found myself completely drawn to this particular spin on the vampire story. Yes, there are vampires (called Darklings) but this story was also a brutal, post-apocalyptic tale of a society that is fractured by racism, fear and evil leadership. The book focuses on Ash, a half Darkling teen, and Natalie, the human daughter of the local emissary. Through a series of events, Ash and Natalie are drawn together and discover that they have a bond. It would have been very easy to do a love at first sight storyline here, but despite that bond, there is no instalove, which made the eventual romance much more satisfying to read. As with any forbidden romance, there were terrible choices to be made on either side and Elizabeth Richards did a really good job of making me, as a reader, feel very conflicted about what might happen.
The world building in this book was excellent. Through the characters and setting I really got a feel for the stark differences between the lives of the humans in power, the Darklings in exile, and the half-bloods that are forced to live in secret. The leadership was truly evil and the way that Natalie slowly realizes exactly what is happening and how change will be extremely difficult added to her appeal as a heroine in this story. The book flowed very well and there didn’t seem to be any part of the story that dragged. Black City used deeply romantic scenes and contrasted them quite effectively with a violent society in a way that gave me a sense of the love between Ash and Natalie, as well as the imminent danger they faced. Combine all of that with a cliffhanger ending and it was a book that I could not put down. I think Black City will appeal to both teens and adults, as well as people who might not be immediately drawn to vampire story lines. I am certainly adding book two to my watch list because don’t want to miss out on the next installment!