Interesting, but certainly not amazing. I hesitate sometimes to give a so-so review to a book, considering all the work that the author has put into it. But on this count, I have to say Black City was just ok. This book had so much going on that it became a kind of collage of ideas, rather than one central idea that was followed through.
The cover is gorgeous. I usually listen to audio books, but found this in print and picked it up.
The initial premise is good. Darklings are basically vampires. But the story is set up so that there is racial prejudice happening between two races, the Darklings and the humans. Then we have Romeo and Juliet, a romance between a regular girl and a half-Darkling boy - and the half-Darkling boy's feelings about being bi-racial. Then comes the added element of an opiate drug made from the Darkling venom, some of which is tainted and killing people. Add to that evil scientists who torture the Darklings, a plague that turns the Darklings into monsters, and then a whole political revolution pitting an evil dictator against some heads of state. There are executions, terrorist attacks, a drug culture, labs with human experiments.
Good grief. In order for this to have been done well, the book would have had to be the size of the national budget. If there are more books to the series, then I hope they don't try and deal with as many issues as this one did.
The characters didn't seem to learn and grow, they just responded to events. And the romance was very immature. There were just so many huge things happening that the character's feelings about them were never really fully explored.
Overall, I found myself saying "what is THAT doing in here?" and "what does that have to do with the story?" way too often. The focus was just too broad for me to care about any one character or event.
On the up side, I did love the whole idea of the hearts beating. I also found the idea that the vampire venom being an opiate drug very clever. I wish the romance had been more believable. By the end of the book, things just seemed to get a little ridiculous. Great idea - fair to bad execution of the story.
Black City is moderately entertaining but not overly engaging. If you're looking for a good vampire story, you should probably pass on this one. This book simply bit off more than it could chew.