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