Elizabeth Richards

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Amazon blurb: 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.

Human/vampire story lines are my jam. Bring in YA Dystopia and boom - You have yourself a winner! Right? Am I right?!? Well, not exactly. I should have liked this more. I wanted to like this more! There were moments were I was like - yes! But most of the time it was - meh. Like most modern dystopia, there's a lot going on and you can feel the cogs turning. For my tastes, it has too many love triangles. Maybe I'm just getting old. I won't be reading the rest of the trilogy (yes, of course it's a trilogy).
… (mer)
VictoriaPL | 32 andra recensioner | Feb 7, 2023 |
TW: coded racism; coded anti-Semitism; drug use; cheating; victim-blaming; child abuse; child death; murder.

I was enthralled by this when I first read it. It was around the time it first came out. Over the years, I remembered only specific details. When goodreads administrators found it, I was ecstatic and wanted to be just as eager the first time.

The first thing that hit me was the thinly veiled racism. "Nipper" is a derogatory adjective used the same way as a similar racist epithet is used in modern-day society. Fears of race-mixing are huge in this novel, which calls it "human and Darkling mixing." Frequent references to the Civil Rights movement in the United States are made, only in this book, it's futuristic but they happened ten years ago. Several Darklings literally turn into monsters and are infected with a fast-acting disease. There's some references to AIDS. There's blatant references to anti-Semitism towards the Darklings, too, in regards to rhetoric used about Jewish people in the 1930s. Concentration camps are a subplot, and named as such. "Work will set you free" is said, and I flipped. In the book, scientific experimentation on the Darklings mirror that of real-life experiments performed on Black individuals and Jewish individuals at points in history. There's Nazis in this, only they're called Rose-something. I had totally forgotten these details, and it was AWFUL to sit through them.
Yeah, this book is so forgettable after I read it the first time that -I forgot the mass amounts of racism and anti-Semitism that are a backdrop to this terrible romance novel.-

This has a few action-packed scenes, indeed. The plot could have easily been a YA dystopian with vampires in it, and I would have been so intrigued. The plot is in fact a melodramatic, wangsty love triangle with cheating, victim-blaming, and a child is murdered to push the heroine into sleeping with the murderer. That's why the murderer cheated on her in the first place, and now he's her bodyguard again, and oh, they're both teenagers.
The teenage bodyguard who dated the person he was supposed to be guarding, and almost coerced her into sleeping with him, becomes a Nazi. This...was very poorly done, and clearly done so the audience would root for Ash and Nat to get together. It did not work. The Nazi attempts to sexually assault Nat and this actually gets named as such. I was surprised.
So, the author transformed Seb into a cartoonishly evil villain so she could clear away the love triangle. And yet, Nat remains super racist. She drools and paws at Ash while also screaming at him for being a Darkling. This--is never done well in YA fiction, and I won't even look for it in adult fiction. I hate it. The authors clearly think they're writing the angsty romance of the ages. Instead, to quote someone more clever than me, what the authors are saying is "my character does not see this person as human until they are sexually interested in them. They don't see their sex interest's family, friends or neighbors as people, and you, the reader, shouldn't either. Just these two."

Drug use is a major theme in this novel, and I didn't care. I wished they'd stop talking about it, despite one of the characters being a drug dealer and several characters being hooked. Normally eh, it's not a big problem for me to read about. For whatever reason, here, it was a problem for me. There's a lot of the heroine thinking she's so witty because "I zing back," is a regular dialogue tag. An oft-used phrase is "my heart tugged" "my heart yanked" "my heart" blahblah when the love triangle started. I was unhappy both with the phrase and with what the heart-tugging turned out to be: a Perfect Mate thing, but it's something besides that, and ugh.
Nat heroically and unrealistically stops an execution at the last minute.
This book, with its repetitive writing, seriously problematic themes, and odd choices, won a ton of awards. EW.
I grumbled and thought the book would never fucking end. What a waste. But hey, I know now that I don't like the book on second read.
… (mer)
iszevthere | 32 andra recensioner | Jul 26, 2022 |
The beginning - really, the first half - of the book is deceptive. It would appear that the first half is all about Ash and Natalie hating/growing to like each other. The two of them did NOT hit it off at first, though there is an odd physical connection between them. Ash's best friend Beetle used to date Natalie's new best friend Day, and Day hates Ash, because she thinks Ash got Beetle hooked on Haze (smth like ecstasy). So, Natalie doesn't like Ash. Ash definitely doesn't like Natalie - she's a Sentry. Her ex-boyfriend Sebastian is a Tracker and totally heartless. Ash is a twin-blood (half-human, half-Darkling), but in the city, he always feels like a Darkling. Natalie is a Sentry, human, and daughter of the Emissary (someone super powerful). She feels trapped in her life, trapped into watching her mother and ex-boyfriend and ex-boyfriend's father hurt Darklings mercilessly. The world-building is flawless. Every encounter, every event, every plot twist, gives readers more insight into the world, the city, the attitudes of humans, of Darklings, and so on. The first half of the book has readers following Ash and Natalie's relationship, but if you read beyond that, you'll see that Richards is subtly painting the picture of Black City, a divided stronghold of humans and exiled Darklings. the plot of this book. It's part romance, part feuding. The struggle between humans and Darklings is intense, and it's almost reminiscent of real-life history. The Darkling are physically different beings - not human at all - but that doesn't mean they are ALL dangerous or malicious. Yet there are all forced to live on the other side of the Wall. the romance was kind of insta-love-y. And it is, ish. But the characters keep asking themselves, do we even know each other? Do we like each other, beyond the physical connection? For me, this was good enough to rectify the insta-love issue. By the end of the book, I'm convinced that Ash and Natalie really do care for each other. So there's that. Natalie has ZERO backbone. She's quite spineless at times, it's sad.… (mer)
Nightrune | 32 andra recensioner | Feb 28, 2018 |

This book really exceeded my expectations. To be truthful, I was worried about the "forbidden love" aspect that seemed to be emphasized in the plot summary but there was SO much more in this book than that.

I like books that have a lot going on and this book does not disappoint. There are quite a few plots that all merge into one at the end. Not too much that it is overwhelming, but just enough to keep you wondering what is happening.

That is another thing I liked, it wasn't as predictable as it could have been. There were enough plot twists to make my mouth drop open and the best part was that they are all plausible (ie, they weren't just thrown in from left field).

I didn't like Natalie at first, but she really grows throughout the book. I also really liked Ash. He was very humanized and relatable with his feelings and choices.

This may be a stretch but I thought this book a good mixture of some of my favourite YA novels in the last few years. The politcal situation is a mix of Divergent, Matched and The Hunger Games and the Darklings remind me of the world of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines. That being said, I thought this book was unique in how it put everything together.

Definitely a must read for those who enjoy Science Fiction novels and don't mind "vampires".

Check out more spoiler-free book and series reviews on my blog SERIESousBookReviews.com as well as read book series recaps!

Full Review: http://wp.me/p7hLUw-2cq
Actual Rating: 5/5
… (mer)
seriesousbooks | 32 andra recensioner | Feb 7, 2018 |

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