First of all, and that might be a spoiler, but I have to mention: I had absolutely no clue that this book is about vampires! They are just called Darklings and they come in different kinds, like races. Anyway, this gave the story a completely different spin than I expected originally.
Dark City is set in an unpleasant dystopian future in Northern America (as usual). There are humans and the before mentioned Darklings and there was a war recently between them, through we don't get to know a lot about this. Darklings are segregated in a ghettos in all major surviving cities. Ash is a half-Darkling living with his human father in the human part of town. He is somebody you don't want to meet in the wrong part of town during the night. At least that's the impression he wants to give. He doesn't speak a lot and when he opens his mouth he is rough and rather impolite. Honestly I can understand his attitude as he pretty much a pariah and everybody at least loathes if not fears him. On the other hand he loves his father dearly and does everything to support him. I actually started care for him quite quickly. But I do like the underdogs in general.
However, Natalie, the female lead character, is hard to like, especially in the beginning. She had a privileged upbringing and hardly knows anything about the suffering of the common people. And she doesn't seem to care either. She is very judgemental and questions far too little. She is a clever girl so there is no excuse for not opening your eyes properly at least. On the other hand she grew up with a very demanding mother who doesn't have any motherly attributes. And most important Natalie hates Darklings after her father was killed by one.
The center piece of this book is the originally unexplainable attraction between Ash and Natalie. They absolutely distaste each other, and at the same time they are drawn to each other, strongly. This is one of this cases of instant love, but the author actually manges to pull it off. Kind of. I'm never a huge fan of instant-love/attraction. Anyway, there is at least a scientific explanation to all of this not just fate coming by. In general I liked the interactions between these involuntary lovers, who are growing out of their prejudice and become people who care about the future of all of them.
Black City is mainly an impossible love story, like Romeo and Juliet. In addition there is plenty of serious political scheming going on. Think in the dimension of genocide! Unfortunately Elizabeth Richards doesn't avoid some classic clichés like ... and that's the bummer I can't tell as this would be a substantial spoiler. But there is an edge to the whole love story which involves more than the two people in it. Quite a shocker actually.
Overall it's an intriguing read. The world building is sufficient and I guess we will get to know more in the next book as well. Natalie turns into a likeable person and Ash becomes only more gorgeous, though he isn't perfect, which again makes him only more adorable. The author also did a good job with the supporting characters, wo are in the beginning very cliche-like but overcome this problem soon. It's a decent start for a trilogy as I was reading through the book in one go.