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Black City (Black City Chronicles, Book 1) Hardcover – November 13, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Black City Series

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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

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Product Details

  • Series: Black City Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,000,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top 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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
The dystopian trend seems to be getting a bit old. All the books have a similar feel to them and the stories are becoming less unique. That is not at all the case with Black City. Elizabeth Richards has created a world all her own with fantastic history, unbelievable creatures, and a bleak setting that manages to stand out against all others.

Black City is a place in ruins. Ash still rains down from bombs that were set off a year ago. Buildings crumble daily and no new ones are built to replace them. People live in the rubble but fear speaking out to get better living conditions. In the middle of it all is a walled enclosure where all the Darklings are forced to live. However, things may not be that way for long. The Darklings are unhappy with their restrictions and they are ready to fight. Black City is a city on the brink of war.

Ash is a twin-blood. He is half human, half Darkling. He lives outside the Darkling enclosure but he does not feel accepted. He is lonely and sad and it causes him to do some stupid things. However, it is easy to tell that he is a good guy at heart. Readers will definitely fall for this dark and lonely guy. Natalie is also alone but that is because of her station. She is the Emissary's daughter and most people are afraid she could get them in trouble. Even though she is lonely she is friendly and caring and very easy to like. She's smart, brave, and loyal. What's not to like? Beethe and Day are also fabulous. Beethe is hilarious. He's kind of a druggie but he's a sweetheart and he's trying to change his ways. Day is smart (sometimes too smart), kind, yet she can be hard-headed. She makes some mistakes but she learns from them.

Elizabeth Richards really knows how to create a terrifying villain.
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