Release Date ~ June 17, 2014
Disney-Hyperion ~ Hachette Book Group Canada
ARC received from HBG Canada for review
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.
Dark Metropolis is in many ways unlike any kind of story I've read before: it's set in a very distinct world and even the plot is unique. Unfortunately while I appreciated Dark Metropolis as an innovative read, the characters and story fell flat for me.
- A curious setting:
Jaclyn borrows from history (think "1927 Berlin") and blends it with her own imagination for a world that is both familiar and strange compared to ours. It's so unusual and creative that I was utterly fascinated by it; I wanted to learn as much about the world in Dark Metropolis as I could. The magic and its system is unlike any type I have ever read about, and Jaclyn is clearly a very innovative writer with plenty of new ideas. Some parts are so dark and disturbing which lend a very eerie sense to the whole book and I particularly enjoyed that.
It seems to be hinted at that there is a strong class struggle happening, but that aspect of the plot felt rather undeveloped to me. The brief mentions and allusions to this conflict weren't enough to satisfy my own curiousity or provide much background information which I felt was crucial to establish the story. The rules and politics in Dark Metropolis were completely unfamiliar to me, so I failed to recognize the importance of certain actions and ideas.
But most importantly, I felt completely disconnected from the characters. It's written in a third person narrative, and jumps around from focusing on a few different characters. This failed to ground me with any one of the characters and because I felt like I had landed in the middle of a story already taking place, their concerns failed to resonate with me. For example, there was very little attention paid to the development of Thea and Nan's relationship and Nan goes missing so quickly in the book that they're separated nearly from the very start. As a result it was difficult for me to identify with Thea's determination and struggle to find Nan.
While yes, this is a deeply imaginative story with some very thoughtful ideas and inspirations it never really felt complete to me. My relationship with characters is paramount to how much I enjoy a book and my failure to identify with the characters in Dark Metropolis means that this story just didn't work for me.