by Elizabeth Richards
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Release Date: November 13th 2012
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.
Germany in World War 2…but with vampires
The whole entire book could be summarized as just that: Events from World War 2, Germany and the Holocaust—but with vampires thrown in for good measure. The connection between this book and actual historical events is really stunning. In the end, I felt more like I was reading a history textbook than a paranormal romance novel. Why? Well there are some pretty obvious connections right from the start, like how the Darklings and were forced to live in the “ghetto”. The ghetto is a term used for the places where Jews were forced to live in during the Holocaust. There was wide-spread poverty and starvation there which parallels to the “ghetto” used in Black City. Another connection I made was how the Sentry leader “Purian Rose” decided to use children to become “trackers” or rather young soldiers. This reminded me of how Hitler used an army of children (young German boys) as a last ditch effort to try to win a losing war. Then, the book mentions use of cyanide as a quick and painless way to end your life, and this is historically known as the way Hitler chose to commit suicide. On one page it said, “It was common practice during the war for less moralistic Darklings to collaborate with Trackers, in return for food and protection.” This is the same thing they did to Jews during the Holocaust. They had male Jews round up and help murder their own kind in return for their insured safety for the time being. All this and much more happened just in the very beginning of the book. I found myself really confused at this point, wondering if this was really going to be a rehash of the Holocaust. And it turned out to be just that.
Vampires, cheese, and insta-love. Oh my!
The narrative and dialogue were cheesy to a fault. At one point I found myself not able to believe anything the characters were saying. Everything was an empty reason, their actions and reactions unexplained. There were times when the characters would say or do things that seem so out of character and unnatural that I would often wonder if I had read it right or not. The insta love moved way too fast for my liking. First they planned their first date without dating in the first place. Then there was an info dump in the scene where Ash explains the term “Blood Mate “ which was all tell and no show. Next thing you know they’re both willing to give up everything and risk their lives for each other. It all felt very sudden and unnatural, I actually thought that the relationship between Natalie and Ash was a lot more romantic and sweeter before they officially decided they wanted to be together.
In a nutshell…
I liked this story but the inconsistency with the characters, predictability of the plot, insta-love, and the cheesiness in general made it a slow read for me. Overall, I think what made this story the most interesting for me was the world building of the Darkling/ Sentry world. It’s not typical to see a universe in which humans rule over the vampires. Normally you would see quite the opposite. If you’re a historian buff and like vampires I would recommend this to you. However if you, like me, don’t particularly care for insta-loves or cheesiness you probably might want to stay clear of this one.