Fantasy Book Reviews: Black City & Phoenix

Black Cityand Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

Black City Synopsis:
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.

Phoenix Synopsis:
Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.

The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.

Ash is a halfblood – half Darkling (vampire)/half human. He’s brave and selfless and unwittingly falls for Natalie. Natalie’s views about the Darklings shift completely around when she gets to know Ash. And unlike Romeo and Juliet – instead of just their parents’ disapproval, they can be killed for being together. It makes for another element of danger and suspense while their sweet chemistry is palpable. The narrative switches back and forth between Ash and Natalie, gaining both their point of views.

Black City and Phoenix are the first two installments in a post-apocalyptic series based in the United (Sentry) States with mutated vampire-like creatures and human/animal hybrids. It’s a character-driven story with depth and emotion. And the story is fast-paced and full of mystery, suspense, and intrigue. This dark, romantic adventure series is an exciting read for mature young adults on up. Unique and surprising – I’ll definitely be following this exceptional series.