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Black City (Black City Chronicles, Book 1) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Black City Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159435
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

As the Sentry Emissary’s daughter, human Natalie Buchanan fears and mistrusts Darklings, the blood-drinking kind who live outside the walls of the aptly named Black City. Yet when Natalie meets half-Darkling boy Ash Fisher, her heart literally pulls her toward him. Confused by the implications of this attraction and brainwashed by a lifetime of anti-Darkling indoctrination, Natalie flees—at first. For his part, Ash wants nothing to do with a spoiled Sentry brat whose very existence threatens his own tenuous way of life in a ruthless world. When Natalie starts at the same school Ash attends, they slowly acknowledge their inexplicable feelings for each other, aware that interspecies mingling is an offense punishable by excruciating death. Detailed postapocalyptic world building makes Richards’ series debut intriguing; of particular interest are the many types of Darklings, from winged to catlike. Not as successful are the unpolished writing, a story line that leans heavily on breathless melodrama that ultimately flattens the plot, and an overabundance of head-spinning cliff-hangers and events. Barbarous, detailed cruelties, including torture, both human and animal, mark this as fare for older readers. Grades 9-12. --Julie Trevelyan

More About the Author

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist who spent her early career reviewing video games for a living before making the bold (or crazy) move to become a travel writer and editor, specializing in cruise holidays, despite suffering from terrible sea sickness.

In her spare time Elizabeth ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls, where she got to interview many of her favorite bands, go to gigs and basically bag loads of free swag all in the name of "research".

More recently she worked as a website editor before deciding to pursue her dream of becoming an author. She now dedicates her time to writing fantasy books aimed at young adults. BLACK CITY is her debut novel.

Customer Reviews

Richards did an excellent job her development of characters.
The minor characters were very interesting, but I also felt that there wasn't enough development with them in certain ways.
Amazon Customer
I love a good dystopian and I am a paranormal addict, so when Black City combined the two I just fell in love.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have had several people approach me and say that this was one of the best ARCs they had read all year. So this has been high on my radar.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards may seem like an amalgam of familiar territory. We have vampires. We have a dystopian society. We have lovers on two different sides of a war. Sure, we start with the expected, and then Richards completely turns everything on its head. All I will say is that we have alternating perspectives of Natalie, the daughter of an Emissary, who is trying to keep Darklings segregated from Black City, and Ash, a Darkling, who sells Haze, a drug, to keep his family fed. These two unlikely kids seem to have a Romeo and Juliet kind of romance and then everything goes out the window.

You must read this book. That's all I'm going to say. I don't want to give away any of the marvelous twists this book reveals, and I read the book from cover to cover in a day. The characters are terrific, and I love the dark setting of Black City. This isn't a perfect book, but it is an extremely compelling one. I know Richards is only going to get better and better with each installment.

Overall, one of the most intriguing and pulse pounding dystopian books I've read this year.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Ward TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
'Black City' is the first book in a new young adult dystopian series. It follows main characters Ash Fisher, a Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, the Emissary's daughter. It's told from alternating points of view - going between Natalie and Ash. I thought that the book was a really interesting dystopian work - the setting and the history of the story were well described and detailed, which I thought was highly intriguing and I loved learning about everything. It's apparent almost right away that these two characters are going to fall in love - it's a sort of star-crossed lovers theme. They come from completely different worlds - are actually different races - and yet they are drawn together by something much larger than themselves.

Along with the dystopian setting and the problems that it provides for the characters, there is also an exciting twist with the added conspiracy that Ash and Natalie uncover. This adds lots of twists and adventure into the story, which I felt added depth. I liked the characters in the book, especially Natalie and Ash. We get to see things from both of their perspectives, and I enjoyed seeing how each one reacted to various situations and to each other. The writing was superb and fast-paced, which made this a book I couldn't put down. There is a lot of tension and unanswered questions in the novel, which leaves great opening for future installments in the series. Overall, this is a fantastic first book to an imaginative and unique series that will be sure to leave readers demanding more.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Step Into Fiction on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was definitely one of those books at BEA that everyone wanted. I am so glad I was able to get one because this book was just amazing. It made me cry. A book hasn't made me cry for awhile so it was refreshing. Sadly refreshing. If an author is able to make you cry it means they did their job with their characters. You've become attached and you can't imagine the worst happening but it is. Amazing.

Ash Fisher, he's different than every single person inside Black City. He's a twin-blood and you're probably wondering what that is? He's half human and half Darkling. The best way to describe a Darkling is they're kind of a like a vampire. The sun burns their skins, their hearts don't beat (actually, they have two hearts), they're pale, they have fangs (which have venom that gives humans a high), and survive off of blood. There are different breeds of darklings, though. Some have wings which kind of remind me of like a mix of a vampire and fae, which is kind of awesome. He's not liked because he's different and to everyone, he's the enemy. He's broody and has a hard outter layer but you peel that away, and he's certainly not the monster people make him out to be.

Natalie Buchanan is a human and daughter of the Emissary. Though Natalie is the daughter of the Emissary, she is a very damaged, normal teenage girl. Minus the fact that he ex-boyfriend is her personal bodyguard. She witnessed her beautiful sister to get beaten just so the government could get information out of her father. After they got what they wanted, they let a darkling have at him. In front of Natalie. It's forever scarred her and made her afraid of darklings. But something very strange happens when she meets half-blood darkling, Ash...her world is turned upside down.

I absolutely loved this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melanie on March 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover

Sometimes, I really do hate myself for not reading the synopsis from time to time. Black City was one of these disappointments. I went in deeming that this was an action packed thriller/dystopian, while there was some action, this was more based around romance --forbidden love. I'm not trying to imply anything else apart from that I was expecting something totally different and took me some time to adjust ask recover from the confusion.

One minutes of awe for this cover please. *one minute passes* Lately, several covers have lived up to it's content, so near with my minute rant at this adorkable cover scheme. Redish pink and black. WOW. There is nothing better than these two colours to be on this cover. I still cannot really work out what that pink thing's could be multiple thing really, but I think it looks like a glass shattered flower. O__O

Told in dual points of view, Elizabeth Richards takes vampires, dystopian and romance into a 400 paged galore which keeps readers intent in a world of chaos and discord. I envy the author's writing skills as they manage to create something so intricate and unique that wouldn't seem too possible at a glance. Unlike some books, Black City exceeds with dreamy descriptions and in depth and intense writing and story lines.

I feel link I haven't done my one sentenced summaries in a long time, so here it is!
In the middle of a boiling war time, two teens on each side of the battle fall in love, they will stop at nothing to discover the dark secrets Black City holds to stay together.

I can't resist running my fingers thought the soft ash coating, the walls of the houses, staining my skin black.
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