Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Series: Dark Metropolis #1
Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication: June 17, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.
Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.
Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.
Dark Metropolis follows three different characters, Thea, Nan and Freddy. Thea works at the Telephone Club waitressing to support herself and her mom who is suffering from a magic marriage bond that’s making her crazy (when her dad 'died' 8 years ago). Then there’s Nan, Thea’s best friend and Freddy, a sorcerer. Although, I don’t think sorcerer is the right term…he’s more of a necromancer. As I mentioned before, Thea supposedly is the main character in this book/or series, but I never got that as all three characters were equally important and had the same amount of parts/page time. The book is told in third person POV, and jumps sporadically back and forth between all three but it was well done. I never had a problem figuring out who was speaking and when.
Thea is probably the least important of the three characters in my opinion. I didn’t really understand her role in the book, except to find her father and Nan when she went missing. She also was the blandest character of the bunch; I didn’t feel connected or interested in her narrative. At time when I was reading her narrative I would kind-of rush over her parts so that I can get to Freddy’s and Nan’s part. The book briefly mentioned that Thea has powers, descended from a line of witches but nothing…as far as I can see Thea was just some regular human girl.
As for Nan and Freddy, they definitely had bigger roles and helped push the story/plot further. Also, unlike Thea…they had a purpose in the book. They knew what they were doing and what had to be done to resolve the main conflict of the story. I really enjoyed Freddy and Nan’s POV because it is from their perspective that readers learn all about the sinister dealings behind all the gilts and glamors, what is lurking underground and the corruption the government is hiding. However, my favorite character is Nan. When readers first meet Nan, she is this quiet girl that keeps to herself. All she does is work and go home. Nan always knew she was different from everyone else, and I’m not talking about her color blindness or bad hearing…but she always had a sense of purpose. As the story progress, Nan’s character evolved…readers learn more about Nan as Nan learn more about herself and her calling is revealed. Nan was a very strong character, and likable one. I liked that she wasn’t afraid to ask questions and defended those who couldn’t defend themselves. When readers find out about Nan and what her main purpose is, let me just say it was a shocker…I definitely wasn’t expecting that!
On the downside, there wasn’t much in terms of world-building. While I did get the 1930’s vibe, there weren’t much historical details to support it, expect that there was a war. Now that I think about it, I don’t even recall any details to the characters surrounding…very lacking in the descriptions. I also didn’t get the magical aspects. There were brief references of powerful witches, sorcerers, and immortals but they were never really explained. Freddy and his necromancer powers were never explained either; just that he was born with the gift, and when he raises the dead…magic takes a toll turning his hair silver and that it slowly weakens him over time. The only thing explained in great detail is the zombies. Readers find out how people are brought back to life, how they are sustained (with a magical serum, which I must add that we don’t know how it’s made or who makes it LOL), and what happens when the ‘zombie’ folks don’t take the serum. It was a very interesting take on zombie/magic and it was explained well and clearly so that readers understood it.
All in all Dark Metropolis was a great read, and I found myself enjoying it more than I expected. While I never connected or cared for Thea’s character much…the other two more than made up for her lack of presence. And regardless of the poor world building, I found myself glued to the pages; breezing through the book in mere hours (which is a first, in a very long time!). Dark Metropolis had enough action and twists and turns to keep readers invested into the story and characters. I know a lot of readers love the romance part and while the romance in Dark Metropolis took the backseat; the author had two budding relationship in the making…one with a guy/girl and another with a girl/girl…I thought that was really cool! The ending wrapped up pretty nicely with the main problem solved and the character’s arc all concluded. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store next. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a light and quick read!