Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn DolamoreDark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore
Series: Dark Metropolis #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 17, 2014
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon • The Book Depository

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.

Well, Dark Metropolis was okay. My expectations were definitely too high, having enjoyed Dolamore’s Magic Under series. This is one of those times where I’m most definitely whelmed. I don’t really have any strong feelings about this book either way, and I’m probably going to completely forget it in no time. Dark Metropolis is a decent read with a cool concept, okay characters, and a meh execution.

Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we? The setting is pretty cool, even though I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in it. Dark Metropolis seems to be either an alternate universe set in the 1920s but with magic or a fantasy world that just happens to bear resemblance to that time period, and I honestly can’t say which. There were also quite a lot of Germanic names and, again, I’m not sure what to make of that from a world building perspective. Still, I did find it captivating, particularly the Telephone Club, where Thea and Nan work. The show and the drinks sound awesome, and it’s going on the list of fictional dining establishments which I would like to visit.

The fantasy elements are very cool, though again, I’d like a bit more detail. The dead are being brought back to life with a touch, rather reminiscent of Pushing Daisies, which gives me special joy. The resulting zombies have a unique twist and I also thought that the repercussions on the magic-doer were fascinating as well. Perhaps my favorite touch was the Bound-sickness. In the past, couples were not just wed, but Bound, which gave them the ability to sense their spouse. However, the magic is going wrong when one half of the bond dies; the widows/widowers are going slowly insane. I thought that was a very cool concept.

The other aspect I liked a lot was the inclusion of some LGBTQ+ aspects, in the form of a lesbian and an asexual. Though not too much happens with regards to their sexuality, I love that this factor was included. It was thoughtfully and casually done. In fact, though I don’t really ship the actual ship, it’s got a quietness that approve of. The romance isn’t leading the show in Dark Metropolis.

However, Dark Metropolis is also disjointed. At first, the book seems to be about Thea, but then you leave for several chapters to follow Nan’s plot line. The blurb also doesn’t hint that the book will be split between the two. While this can be done effectively, it just felt odd, as it would shift for such long periods of time from one girl to the other. The third person POV roams at intervals that just didn’t make sense to me as a reader.

I also had a lot of issues with Freddy. The first problem is that he never questioned anything until Thea started asking him about his life. His Uncle and Garik have sent him on this mission View Spoiler », straight out of bad science fiction, and make him work for them for years, but he questioned none of it. How are you not going to be at all curious what’s going on? As the plot unwinds, Freddy also learns and acquires skills way too easily. Everything feels very convenient with regards to Freddy, and, as I’m always saying, circumstances shouldn’t be convenient; this should be a struggle and it’s not.

Dark Metropolis isn’t for those looking for epic zombie mayhem; in fact, it’s more a zombie book for people usually too scared to read about zombies. The Cassandra Clare comparison does feel apt, but with less of a focus on romance. I’m not quite sure who to recommend this one too, but I guess if you think the concept sounds cool then it might be worth a try. I probably won’t be back for the sequel.

Favorite Quote:

“I like your prattling. I certainly prefer listening to you over the rats.”

Sigi laughed nervously. “It is always a goal of mine to be more interesting than rats.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif pushing daisies hangs head

4 responses to “Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore”

  1. Angie F. says:

    I felt the same way about this one. I really liked a lot of the ideas and concepts, but at the end, I was like “and what was the point?” I’ll most likely still read the sequel, since it’s only a duology and I’m curious about where this is heading (if anywhere).
    Angie F. recently posted…Chick Flick Friday: The Sweetest ThingMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, the only curious I am about the sequel is what the heck it will be about, but not enough to want to read it. I don’t care much now, and I’m sure I won’t even remember what happened in this one by the time the sequel comes out. It wasn’t bad, but I just was not engaged enough.

  2. Heather says:

    All I have to say is “You can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever be just whelmed?”

    Once again, my helpful comments save the day!

  3. Lyn Kaye says:

    I was ready to brush this off – until I saw an asexual character. I might have to give this one a chance to promote this unexplored sexual culture in more books.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Lyn at BEAMy Profile

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