Author: Jaclyn Dolamore (Twitter)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: June 17, 2014
Genre: YA, Paranormal
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 atthe 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.
Paranormal, so I've found, is a uniquely tricky genre to both read and write. It requires expert precision, a careful hand when crafting the world in which its characters live and a host of characters with whom we can easily and readily relate. From the premise alone, Dark Metropolis offers us all this and more. However, it's quickly noticed and understood that it's a trickier novel than the synopsis lets on. Jaclyn Dolamore has a uniquely perceptive writing style that lends to a near cinematic quality for this novel. I often felt us though I was being offered bits and pieces of the larger picture - though never quite enough to truly grasp the world in which our protagonist, Thea, lives.
In most paranormal novels that I've read, we're privy to a rich backstory that enables us to become fully invested in the world within the pages. Dark Metropolis, however, falters in that aspect, giving us glimmers of a magical world through Freddy and the Valkenrath brothers' plot arcs. Furthermore, though the novel is set in war-torn Germany, this unique setting is alluded to, but otherwise largely overlooked, leading to some disappointment in that aspect. For such an exciting time and place to be mentioned, I would have hoped to really explore the ramifications of the setting, as well as truly understand why this setting was chosen.
Thea, though our protagonist through the story, is not the sole focus, which allows us greater scope when reading the novel, but doesn't altogether give us that depth and deep-seeded understanding that we might have hoped for. While we begin with Thea, we quickly transition to Freddy and Nan, and we sort of lose the focus that I'd been hoping for, which might have provided some much-needed direction for the novel in the end. It must be said, however, that the characters were a highlight for me, and they definitely offered a unique perspective on the novel and the unfolding events as a whole.
Though I'd hoped for more depth and magic from Dark Metropolis, I was intrigued by the cinematic writing of the novel, and the darkness that the title implies was definitely front and center - something I can appreciate in any novel I read. I wasn't altogether blown away by the novel, but the author has potential, and I'd be interested to see where the story goes in the future. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal novels.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.