Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

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Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Dark Metropolis
Jaclyn Dolamore
Series: Dark Metropolis #1
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, YA
Publication date: June 17th 2014
by Disney Hyperion

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Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

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.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.
-A copy was provided by Disney Book Group for review-

An enjoyable plot with a very unique zombie story, but it was missing… something. Many aspects about this world and its happenings were explained only briefly to make the plot move forward, which made it hard to invest myself fully. But it was fun, nonetheless!

We begin by following Thea, whose mother’s strange illness has left her in charge of supporting the family. This is where we begin to see the part that magic has in the story, when we learn of this magical connection between her mother and father that has caused the illness. I found this was really intriguing and a great start that compels you to read more. Especially when combined with the glamorous setting of a Telephone Club we’re lured into by its enchanting atmosphere and prestige. When we meet our other leads, Nan and Freddy, is where the dark side of the story starts to show itself – we learn about the zombies, the necromancy; the evil that makes up the disturbing secrets behind this city. While I enjoyed all characters – Thea for her drive to find answers, Freddy for his magical abilities and mysterious past – Nan quickly became my favourite. She finds herself in the thick of the sinister happenings underneath the city, and her feisty, determined personality made her easily likeable. Though, mostly, what I loved about her perspective was the setting she brought us into. This is where we’re made privy to the horror and shocking mysteries of how the city is being run. It’s gory at times, yet fascinating in a morbid way. Then more questions are brought into play when we realize Nan is an anomaly among anomalies.

What I was mostly disappointed in was the lack of world building. Even though I was kept entertained by the tragic plot and interesting characters, I found myself wanting to know more about the history of this whole ordeal. I wanted to know why everything was how it was. The history we do get is very limited and very narrow, with many details glossed over for the sake of plot progression. Plot progression is also at the essence of the relationship building, where Thea and Freddy begin to trust each other, sharing life stories and secrets, almost immediately. It was not especially believable, but it worked for the story to not lose its quick pacing.

One thing that was bittersweet for me was the romance. I appreciated that it was kept on the down-low, leaving the plot on centre stage, but I also found myself underwhelmed by the romantic spark the ending left us with. I’m pretty sure that was meant to have much more emotional impact than it did. I would have been more satisfied if the relationship was kept platonic the whole way through, though I know some would have been displeased by the complete lack of romance. Either way, it’s better to please some than none at all; I very much doubt romantics-at-heart will find much to be delighted by in the romance aspect – or lack thereof – in this novel.

With zombies and horror and an atmospheric writing style, there is much to be enjoyed by Dark Metropolis. It’s clearly a more plot-oriented story that is bound to both fascinate and creep out its readers!

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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23 Responses to “Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore”

  1. Laura Plus Books

    Hhhmm, I have mixed opinions about zombie stories but if this is unique, it definitely sounds interesting. Especially with Dystopian type books, I usually prefer lots of world building but maybe the author’s saving it for the next book. I do prefer a toned down romance though so I’ll be checking this out! Loved your review Giselle! πŸ˜€

  2. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I don’t have much experience with zombie books, but I’m always trying to broaden my reading horizons. This sounds like a fun read, however I hate that the story was ‘missing something.’ Guess I’d better read a couple more reviews before I decide whether to give it a go or not.

  3. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Oh I didn’t know this was a zombie book. I’ve been waiting for others to read and review the book before deciding if I wanted to give it a shot or not. While the plot itself seems very interesting, I don’t think I can handle the lack of world-building and the romance doesn’t sound all that great either. I’ve noticed that a lot of books lately haven’t been that good with world-building which is sad because I would rather have a solid world-building than focus on the romance. Still, I’m glad you had fun with the book, Giselle.
    Lovely review!

  4. Christianna

    This one sounds like it’s right up my alley! I don’t mind when the world building isn’t intense, so I have a feeling that I’ll like it a lot! Plus, it says Cabaret and City of Bones. Sounds perfect! I’m glad that you liked it and I had no idea that it was a zombie book, but I love those, so yay!

  5. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    Nan was pretty awesome and I am curious to see what happens with her in the next book. I have the same issue with not know what lead up to why the city was the way it was now, hopefully we’ll get some answers in the next book. Great review.

  6. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    Hmmm… with that cover, I never would have known this was a zombies book! I can see what you mean about the romance aspect of the story… I think that would have irked me a bit too. Overall, I’m happy to see you did enjoy this one! I’m considering reading it myself, I’m just not 100% convinced that it’s for me. I’m so torn! Great review, Giselle! πŸ™‚

  7. Maddy @Symphony of Words

    World building always seems to be a problem with books like these, and it’s very rare that authors have been able to pull it off, but I’m glad you still enjoyed the read. I probably won’t be picking this up because the romance got a back seat, but it’s nice to see that happen once in a while for a change πŸ™‚

  8. Meredith

    Zombies are kind of iffy for me. However, I love the time period that the novel is set in, so I might just have to give this novel a chance. Great review!

  9. Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    Whoa I wasn’t expecting this book to be about zombies, but I’m excited to read about the unique twist on the zombies & necromancy. I was vaguely interested in Dark Metropolis, but I think it’ll move up on my TBR List. Although it is regrettable that there wasn’t as much world building, I’m excited to read about the plot. Great review!

  10. Michelle

    I just got an e-ARC of this a few weeks ago and I’m really excited to read it. I’m glad that you pretty much enjoyed it, Giselle! Fantastic review!

  11. Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan

    Yay for zombie novels! I love zombies, but YA doesn’t always come out with them, so I’m really intrigued by Dark Metropolis. Zombies + magic = awesome (most of the time, at least). It’s just a shame that the world building wasn’t up to scratch.

    The characters sound like an interesting bunch, though. Nan sounds awesome! I love it when the secondary characters stand out just as much as the MCs — or maybe even more — because it shows that the author’s characterization is good throughout. And gore? YAY. I’m a fan of gore so that’d definitely be a plus. And besides, zombie books are supposed to be full of corpses and dried blood. I guess that’s why I like the genre so much, lol.

    Glad you enjoyed it overall, Giselle! It kind of reminds me of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard — another zombie book set in the 1800s and with necromancers, too! Lovely review. πŸ™‚

  12. Melliane

    Ah yes I read a review about this one and it was the same feeling, the world building… I confess that I understand because I usually have many questions and if it’s not well done, it’s a big problem.

  13. Kayla

    Dark Metropolis looks like the kind of book that I would enjoy what with the zombies and the writing style. Thanks for the review, Giselle! Because of you, I’ll be buying Dark Metropolis, for sure! I can’t wait until this book is on my shelves because the cover looks soooooo pretty and I’m pretty sure that the spine will be too.

    Another thing that interested me about Dark Metropolis was Thea. She sounds very intriguing and very kickass. Plus, my best friend’s name is Thea, haha! πŸ™‚

  14. Rashika

    Do I sense a cliff-hanger? noooooooooooo that doesn’t make me very happy .-.

    I am not a huge fan of zombie books but I am sooo curious about this one. ESPECIALLY since you mentioned creepy. I definitely still want to read it but I am wondering whether waiting for the sequel would be a better idea instead?

    Fantabulous review as always, Gee!!! πŸ™‚

    • Giselle

      Actually there is no cliffhanger at all. It could even do fine as a stand-alone – though book 2 might help flesh out the world I guess. You’re not a fan of zombie books- WE ARE NOT FRIENDS ANYMORE!!

      No just kidding *hugs*

  15. Pili

    This sounds quite intriguing! Even if I’m a bit concerned about the lacking of world building… I agree that all world building and barely any plot is not good, but neither is moving the story forward with barely knowing what kind of world is the one we live on or some sort of background knowledge on how it came to be!
    I’m glad to hear the romance was kept to a bare minimum.
    Thanks for the great honest review as always Giselle!

  16. tonyalee

    I have been seeing this one around and it just does not interest me. I can’t even pinpoint why, exactly. The lack of world building would probably be a huge issue for me, too.

    Still, I might keep this one of the back of my mind. Great review! πŸ™‚

  17. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I think I’m going to wait on this one, Giselle. I really like the magic aspect of this pseudo dystopian/thriller whatever, but with the lack of world-building and romance, I think I’d be better off seeing how things go with book 2 before trying it out myself. Great review πŸ˜‰

  18. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    Great review Giselle.

    I really enjoyed this one, but I wanted to know more of how this world came to be too. I thought the descriptions of the world were good, but I felt like we were just dropped into it.

    Overall, I still enjoyed the story, and I’m glad you did too.