Review – Dark Metropolis
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  • Posted:
  • May 23, 2014

Dark Metropolis

I was very excited to read this book from the moment the synopsis was revealed – a mix of heady supernatural premise in a 1930’s inspired world… done! You have intrigued me on that basis alone. I imagined a post-Weimer Republic-like Germany rife with geo-political magical intrigue and my brain went wild with possibilities. Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore is a touch of all of these things. However, it did not live up to the book I imagined in my head. I’m afraid to say that this was one of the dreaded DNFs.

Thea works at a telephone club in a bustling city amidst danger and political peril. One night on the job she meets an interesting young man named Freddy and his constant companion, Gerik. A chance contact of their skin signals a charge of magic between them that brings and image of Thea’s father to her mind.  Thea’s mother was illegally magic bound to her Father before he disappeared mysteriously in combat and now Thea’s mother is going mad without him. Thea must know Freddy in order to learn if the vision of her Father mean’s that he is still alive. At the same time Thea’s close friend, Nan, has gone missing. Together she and Freddy begin to investigate the disappearances.

One thing I noticed from the first page that bothered me was the lack of development with the characters. The book opens in the midst of a work day for Thea and within pages she meets Freddy and is thrust into the story. It’s a bit too rapid for my taste. I like incluing as my preferred method of world-building in storytelling but this story could have benefited from a touch of info dumping (and I never thought I would say that). As such it feels as if the reader is pulled into the action of the story while the characters are yanking their arms out of the socket. It’s a bit jarring, to say the least, and does nothing to make the plot, or the characters, interesting.

The lack of development also extends to the people in the story. Within pages we have enough people to follow with little differentiation between them. The book is a touch on the short side for Young Adult (the ARC spans 290 pages) and the lack of padding is a bad thing. As such the novel feels undernourished and is not enough to sink one’s teeth into.

I wanted to love it. I wanted to be swept up. However, the too-quick pacing coupled with the single dimensional purpose and poor characterization is always a funeral dirge for me. I made it a third of the way through the book before giving up. It’s just not for me.

1 star.

– BP

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