Just Finished Reading ... Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

Dark Metropolis
by Jaclyn Dolamore
To be published on June 17, 2014
by Disney Hyperion

Source: giveaway at ALA

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads: 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.

My take: There were things I really loved about Dark Metropolis. I'm a big fan of alt history and am always up for the addition of some paranormal elements into the mix -- even zombies. I thought the world in which this story took place was rich, atmospheric, and imaginatively drawn. The "dark metropolis" in which the story took place had an overall mood of decay and urban seediness underlain with a creepy vibe. All of that was really masterfully done and I enjoyed it.

As for the story itself, I'd say the blurb above is a little misleading. The story focuses on a number of POV characters, including Thea, Freddy, and Thea's friend Nan. Romance isn't really a major part of the story. The first two-thirds of the book was mostly atmosphere-building and set-up, but in the last 100 pages, the plot kicked in a bit more.  The other thing that made the story feel a little slow to me was that all the characters seemed a bit emotionally detached. As a result, I didn't feel completely invested in the story.

The full Goodreads blurb recommends this for fans of Cassie Clare, which I think must be due to some fleeting similarities between this and the Infernal Devices trilogy. But to me, the similarity ends there, as I'd argue that the Infernal Devices books have a much stronger romantic element and a much more commercial feel. I'd recommend Dark Metropolis for fans of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard -- both are alt history with zombies -- or even Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, because both books have a creepy atmospheric, imaginative alt history feel.  If you enjoyed books like those, definitely check Dark Metropolis out!


  1. The promotion people really should stop comparing books to other blockbuster series/authors. It leads to higher expectations that usually don't pan out. Most of the comparisons aren't accurate either.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    1. I agree - especially when the comparison is to such a popular author. The Cassie Clare books are pretty different -- much more commercial in feel, with way stronger romantic elements. I'm not saying that a fan of Infernal Devices wouldn't like this book, but I don't see those books as the most accurate comp titles for this one.

  2. Hmmm... I'm honestly not sure this book is for me. But I love the cover and the description sounds awesome! I'm glad to see you overall enjoyed it. :)

  3. I love history! I should totally read this book then.

  4. Good to hear it was enjoyable, but something about this one never appealed to me.

  5. I've been wondering about this book. It sounds good and I love that it's very atmospheric. I enjoyed Something Strange and Deadly so I'll probably give this one a try since it's got zombies. Which I did not know! Plus the cover is really cool and sort of creepy which I love.

  6. I have seen this one around and it sounds really good. I like the mood that seems to be in this book, but yeah I don't like when characters feel detached either. Great review, Jen :)

  7. I've seen this cover everywhere and it's quite distinctive. I think I'll give it a try. I'm a big paranormal reader, and I like the idea of a really moody city. Plus, I love that there's less romance. I eventually tired of The Infernal Devices because I thought the romance became too overpowering for me. Although I'm not a fan of zombies...

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  8. Great rev Jen! The book cover looks great and I love the concept of the book. I totally agree with you that books should stop being compared to popular, well-known books. Checking this one out :)

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  9. I just finished this one as well and felt very similarly regarding it. I really enjoyed it - it was a pleasant surprise for me!

  10. I'm not used to read books like this, but I have read The Infernal Devices, in fact, I wanted to read this one because of this... now I don't know!
    Thanks for your review, Jen!
    Lis @ The reader lines

  11. I've been a little curious about this one. I've heard some mixed things so I probably won't pick it up real soon. I hate when they compare books to super popular ones. I get why they do it, but it just sets us up for disappointment quite often.

  12. I definitely enjoyed the fact that it was alternate universe too! But I agree that despite some interesting components, there was ab it of that fell flat. The romance definitely wasn't as prominent as the blurb suggested. I did like the necromancer/zombie aspect though! Great review!

    PS. Here's my review of it if you're interested (:

  13. I've heard that this book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts so even though I really want to read it, I think I want to wait for book 2 to come out.

    I don't really read a lot of Zombie books but I am definitely interested in this one. I am a little worried about how the multiple POVs will work out for me though .-.

    Fantastic review, Jen! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  14. I really dig the cover, but I'm not sure this is for me. I need that dark atmospheric build, but I also need a pretty decent plot the whole way through. I'm need that way.

  15. The cover is really cool, but I don't know about the rest. I love the Infernal Devices but with what you said about there hardly being any similarity, I don't know. I don't like when books are compared with a series I love and then don't turn out to have much resemblance at all. Thanks for your honest review!


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