Book Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

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.

3 cupcakes

Dark Metropolis was certainly an interesting take on the zombie genre: necromancy and its associated magic caused the resulting zombies to be much different than the typical undead who lust for blood. The zombies aren’t particularly creepy nor is there much zombie-caused chaos, though, so I was a tad underwhelmed in that regard.

The atmosphere of the Dark Metropolis was enthralling, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about this post-war, alternate Berlin world that Dolamore created. Unfortunately, the history that was provided was limited and often glossed over in favour of a fast-paced plot, so hopefully it will be elaborated upon in the sequel.

The plot-oriented nature of Dark Metropolis made it difficult for me to connect with any of the characters. Their backgrounds and perspectives were interesting, but they never felt real to me. As a result, the subsequent romances also lacked believability; trust was gained far too quickly in order to further the plot and maintain its quick pace, causing them to fall rather flat. That being said, I appreciated the quiet inclusion of LGBTQ elements in the story, including lesbian and asexual characters.

Overall, Dark Metropolis had many elements that I enjoyed, but the focus on a quick-paced plot made it difficult to connect to the story.

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Book Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

My Rating:  4 cupcakes

Something Strange and Deadly is an interesting take on the zombie genre. Instead of the zombies you’d find on The Walking Dead, the zombies in this novel are animated corpses controlled by a mysterious Necromancer. The combination of these unusual undead creatures and the petticoats, corsets and parasols of Victorian London, created a captivating backdrop for the story, and one that I’m eager to visit again.

Our heroine, Eleanor Fitt, is spunky, stubborn, and determined. She won’t take no for an answer, and is willing to disobey social conventions to find the answers that she needs. If that’s not awesome enough, she also uses a parasol as her weapon of choice against the horde of zombies that have invaded her city.

The secondary characters are just as well fleshed-out and interesting, especially the Spirit Hunters. They have such a fun group dynamic, and I can’t wait to find out more about them in subsequent novels. The romance between Eleanor and a particular Spirit Hunter was done quite well and took a backseat to all of the dark magic/zombie madness that was going on. There was no insta-love; rather, their feelings developed slowly as they got to know one another.

My only complaint is that the mystery was a bit too predictable. I had guessed the identity of the Necromancer quite early on, and was disappointed to find out that I had guessed correctly.

Overall, Something Strange and Deadly was an enjoyable read thanks to the combination of steampunk, zombies, and wonderful characters. I can’t wait to see what Eleanor gets up to next!