by Jaclyn Dolamore
To be published on June 17, 2014
by Disney Hyperion
Source: giveaway at ALA
Synopsis adapted from Goodreads: 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.
My take: There were things I really loved about Dark Metropolis. I'm a big fan of alt history and am always up for the addition of some paranormal elements into the mix -- even zombies. I thought the world in which this story took place was rich, atmospheric, and imaginatively drawn. The "dark metropolis" in which the story took place had an overall mood of decay and urban seediness underlain with a creepy vibe. All of that was really masterfully done and I enjoyed it.
As for the story itself, I'd say the blurb above is a little misleading. The story focuses on a number of POV characters, including Thea, Freddy, and Thea's friend Nan. Romance isn't really a major part of the story. The first two-thirds of the book was mostly atmosphere-building and set-up, but in the last 100 pages, the plot kicked in a bit more. The other thing that made the story feel a little slow to me was that all the characters seemed a bit emotionally detached. As a result, I didn't feel completely invested in the story.
The full Goodreads blurb recommends this for fans of Cassie Clare, which I think must be due to some fleeting similarities between this and the Infernal Devices trilogy. But to me, the similarity ends there, as I'd argue that the Infernal Devices books have a much stronger romantic element and a much more commercial feel. I'd recommend Dark Metropolis for fans of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard -- both are alt history with zombies -- or even Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, because both books have a creepy atmospheric, imaginative alt history feel. If you enjoyed books like those, definitely check Dark Metropolis out!