Review: Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

Title: Dark Metropolis
Author: Jaclyn Dolamore
Publication: June 17, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion 
Format: eARC, Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆
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.

This is one of those books I love and also hate so to celebrate my bipolar tendencies brought upon by Dark Metropolis, I will split this review into two: 'read-it-read-it-NOW' and 'you've-been-warned'.

[ GO AHEAD. read it read it now. ]

1. It is fresh and new. Maybe it's just me because I don't read much Young Adult titles but I find this book really fresh and new.

2. Zombies. It has a new take on zombies. Maybe, this is again because I don't have a penchant for zombie books, have I known this is one, I won't read it, but I'm happy I did. But believe me when I say, the last zombie book I've read is Frankenstein and the last zombie movie I've watched is Resident Evil. (I've seen parts of World War Z, though) So, Walking Dead? Uhm, no. But if you like zombies then go ahead, take a chance on this one.

3. Interesting Characters. There's Freddy, the 'magic' guy. He has silver hair and all the while I was reading the book I picture him as Jack Gleeson. Not that he is as bratty as  Joffrey Baratheon, but I don't know, I just think that he would fit. Then there's Nan, another magic person, she doesn't hear music and couldn't distinguish colors (The Giver, much?). And another interesting character is Arabella von Kaspar. I picture her as the Cruela de Vil in this book. She is sophisticated and strong-willed but ---.

4. Good Writing. If there's something I really can commend in this book, it's the writing. Jaclyn Dolamore really is a good writer. No doubt.

So, if you've already been convinced, stop here.

[ DON'T YOU DARE. you've been warned. ]

1. Confusing. Not too many books confuse me. I try to digest each and every metaphor and/or symbolism but this one confused me because of its too many characters. Yes, I've stated above that this book has interesting characters BUT not everyone had been given enough limelight, or in book parlance - no character development.

2. It's all about Nan. This is one of those stories with too many people to root for because it doesn't have one central character. That's fine, we aren't in the classical period anyway where people just expect you to have just one main character but why does it have to be all about NAN? Why is Nan so important that the author dedicated almost a third, half of it even to a character we cannot understand. Where is she from?
"Who is Frederick?" Nan asked.
I even asked myself, who Frederick is as well. Well, it somehow piqued my interest because that's the name of my bestfriend but I'm seriously wondering who he is all the more. Only to realize it's Freddy. And yes, that's Nan speaking. I told you guys, this book is all about her.

3. Blurb. I don't have a problem with blurbs (I actually do. Haha. They are great spoilers! But not on this one), as they say, sometimes blurbs lie anyway. But this one tricked us into thinking that this book is all about Thea when Thea is one of those characters you won't remember had it not for Freddy.

4. No Parents, yay! This book fell into the no-parents-let's-do-anything trap most books for youngsters have. And I call that lazy. Why escape the burden of having parents around? No, let's just kill them. No, let's just leave them dead or sick or whatever to eliminate them. Ugh. NOT!

WARNING: some spoilers ahead.

If you are reading this now, I know you'll be confused as I am before I finish this book. I've been wondering why book bloggers and readers alike have glowing reviews for this book saying it's new, it's fun and it actually is a page-turner you'd lose sleep for but they only rate it with three stars as I did. I understood them right after my Kindle's reading progress bar showed 100%.
She was the opposite of trouble, but that was what made the job fun -- the nightly illusion that this was her real world.
It was at first a fun book. Freddy and Thea flirting with one another and making us root for them as an OTP.
Marriage-binding was already considered a backwater custom when Thea's parents had married. They had chosen binding so each would always know where the other was so her mother could find her father if he ever got lost.
And although I can't understand Thea's mother's craziness, I let it go and just thought, yeah, she's boundsick, whatever that is. And yeah, it's caused by marriage-binding, whatever that is too.
She could envision him reading prayers by the weak light, trying to hold on to his humanity even while he hungered for blood.
This book is all about how to LIVE and love, the core of humanity.

Death was ugly. She had never met it like this before. Maybe it was better, in the end, to see it, to know, and not to be left wondering.
What is death and why we have to face it.
You can't defy death, my boy. You don't bring back the dead. No one can.
That all things shall go and no one can defy it.
But I think that even when things seem to be at their worst, someone is looking out for you. The people you love are never far away.
And that we must let go even if it hurts.
I don't want to lose them, but you have to make things right. And right doesn't always mean happy.
Because not everything is perfect.
No one was supposed to live beyond death.
And then this happens.
And gently Sigi's fingers touched Nan's face, questing in the dark, and kissed her.
Nope. I'm not against G2G action people but when it was suddenly suggested that the bad girl Arabella von Kaspar should/must/could give up her life to make up for being a bad mother to Sigi then all hell broke loose within me.
But none of this was bad.
What ever happened to no one can live beyond death? That girl made a choice. It's not as if she fell into an accident or whatever, she ended her life and only because Arabella is a despicable character, we can just make a bargain and have her daughter live her life for her? NO. What the hell? NO! And to make it worse, Sigi didn't even show any concern about her mother's remains. Not even remorse, none at all.

And then a war broke and I can't understand when, where, how, why it started.

Chaos. Chaos. Chaos.

Then, it sweetly ended with Thea thinking:
Life is short, and sometimes awful, but we've made it through what we must today, and we'll do it again tomorrow - together
Na-ah. Life can be and will be long for you Thea, because your little Freddy can just suck the life out of a living person and give it to you in case you die. Ugh.


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