I loved the characters. Being in Natalie and Ash's heads was quite the journey from sympathizing with them and wanting to hug them to wanting to give them a Gibbs' clipboard to the back of the head for acting silly and not doing what I want them to.
As for the plot, it had such depth, I was constantly gasping and being blindsided by what came next. There were a few points where I thought that the characters were just doing things as a plot device, but there constantly was a deeper reason, things that I never would have guessed and never thought up.
The ending wrapped up the first book well, and gave me a sense of satisfaction while at the same time leaving me craving more and *needing* that next book in my hands now.
While Black City does have vampires, Elizabeth gave it a take like I haven't read before, and it really seemed like a new paranormal creature rather than your standard vampire. Ash is a halfling, and his sense of disconnect and longing to just be a part of one species, the human or the Darkling is palpable. Ms. Richards gave him life and conflict, and I was wholeheartedly pulling for him, and longing for him to find his place in this dark world.
Another thing that sold me on this story was watching Natalie grow into her own. I appreciated how she learned to stand up for herself and those that she loved even if she didn't start out that way.
The relationship between Natalie and Ash was filled with tension but I loved both their emotional and physical attraction. There were moments where I questioned everything but Elizabeth has the gift of storytelling and of crafting a romance that left me sighing.
The fighter spirit of Ash and Natalie as well as the light and spark of hope and defiance that they set into this world fraught with politics, segregation, violence and self centeredness.
I want, no NEED more of Ash and Natalie's love and adventures in Black City.
Bottom line: Loved this story! Great characters, fast plot and new take on vampires.