This is part of the book blog tour for Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore,
organized by Shane at Itching for Books.
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.
Dark Metropolis offered an interesting introduction to the lives of three teenagers – Thea, Nan and Freddy. In a dangerous world filled with corruption, rebellion and odd magic, could they stay safe and be smart enough to survive?
When I first read the synopsis, I thought the story would focus primarily on Thea. While we saw Thea quite a bit in this installment, she wasn’t the only character playing a leading role. Nan and Freddy both fulfilled an equally important role (if not more substantial) in the book and I was glad that these three characters helped us see a more well-rounded view of the sinful world created by Dolamore.
I’d say among the three characters, I found Nan the most intriguing. She was a very good friend of Thea and when she went missing, Thea sought Freddy’s help to find her. In this installment, Nan seemed to be the most resilient although Freddy and Thea both endured quite a bit of hardship on their own. I felt sad, especially for Thea, as her life was surely not an easy one. But what surprised me the most was how easily I could connect with Freddy. He was very smart and creative, and I liked that he chose to be thoughtful and caring even when he had every reason not to.
Dolamore’s writing was beautiful. While reading, I felt I was being transported into this alternate world where magic was real and love never died. I also liked that this installment ended on a hopeful note. There were things I couldn’t have guessed and I wondered if the relationships might stay the same in the next installment.
As a blog tour host today, I’m going to share an excerpt with you.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
from Dark Metropolis
By Jaclyn Dolamore
from Chapter Three
If Thea’s mother were her old self, she would have been the one giving orders, telling Thea not to roll her stockings down quite so low, but now Thea had to be the one to make sure Mother was presentable. The mother who had organized singing groups in the neighborhood and taken food to the poor on holidays was gone. The mother who had told Thea to eat every bite on her plate and make her bed every morning was gone. Thea tried not to think about it, but sometimes her armor cracked and despair leaked in, poison thick as oil sliding through her veins.
They walked to church, Thea in her daytime good-little- sixteen-year-old guise: conservative print frock, lips free of paint and eyes free of kohl, her auburn hair set in neat waves under a cream cloche. Her mother was still beautiful, but she looked fragile in her peach crepe dress. Her eyes were gentle but distant. Thea felt a sudden surge of love and fear, thinking of what it would be like to lose her mother altogether. She took her hand and squeezed it. Her mother smiled at her, but Thea could feel her wondering about Father. What a torment never to think of anything else. She let the hand go.
The white church was one of the oldest buildings in this modernized district, with broad brown beams exposed at each corner and on the roof frame. A simple steeple with a bell reached toward the sky, but even this tower was shorter than the offices surrounding it. The chapel doors were carved with an angel reaching out to a weary woman holding a baby, and above the entrance were the words come and rest in the solace of god.
It was the same church she had gone to all her life, but the war had changed it, too. Government regulated religion, and many of the old hymns of Thea’s childhood were now banned. All the ones that mentioned adversity or rebellion were gone, and so were any that mentioned magic or even miracles. But other things had relaxed—books that had disappeared for years had slipped back into circulation, although maybe it was just that the government couldn’t keep up with it, because of the labor shortage after the war’s heavy casualties.
Thea and her mother settled into their familiar pew, made from golden wood that was speckled with color from the stained-glass windows. The smell was ancient and comforting.
Today, Father Gruneman spoke of being kind to one’s neighbor. Thea always had trouble concentrating on sermons: how could she think of kindness to her neighbors when she had so much to worry about? She kept wondering if she ought to tell Father Gruneman how much worse Mother had become in recent months.
Father Gruneman had been a good friend of her father’s. He had given her the book of fairy tales, stories to whisper and drive back the darkness, right after the memorial service for her father.
She was sure he knew Mother was bound-sick, but she didn’t know if there was anything he could do. And she found it difficult to admit that she waitressed at the Telephone Club at night and slept fitfully all day, worried her mother would wander off somewhere or set something on fire.
When church let out, that was the difficult part, because she had to hurry Mother home without acting too suspiciously. Some of Mother’s friends always said hello, and whispered to Thea that her mother didn’t look well and did she need anything?
Father Gruneman approached her before she could escape and clutched her hand. He was getting old, and his skin felt fragile and dry, but he still had a firm grip.
“Thea, dear girl! And Mrs. Holder! How are you? Always in a hurry to leave after my sermons, aren’t you?”
“Oh, no.” Thea winced even though she knew he was teasing. “It’s just—”
He didn’t wait for her to come up with an excuse. “It’s all right. I just wondered how you were.”
“I have a hole in my shoe,” Mother said. She spoke matter-of-factly, almost peevishly, like a child. Her voice was too loud.
Thea couldn’t hide her horror. She didn’t know how to pretend this was appropriate. “Mother, it’s all right,” she said hurriedly. “We’ll go to the cobbler tomorrow.” She forced a smile at Father Gruneman. Mother didn’t say anything else. She was looking at the ground, fidgeting.
“I’ve been wanting to speak with you for a while now,” Father Gruneman said. Most of the congregation had filed out around them, the children running excitedly after having sat still all morning.
“Oh—have you seen Henry?” Mother asked, as though she’d just remembered that Father Gruneman had known him.
Father Gruneman shook his head grimly. “Thea . . . how long has it been like this?”
“It wasn’t always this bad,” Thea said. “She gets a little worse every year.” Every month, almost. She still didn’t want to admit the extent of it.
“Your father had told me they were bound. That was before we had ever heard of bound-sickness. And I’ve noticed lately that she’s . . . she’s changed. You should have told me.”
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About the Author
- One hardcover copy of Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (US only)