The Compulsive Reader: Cover Talk: Black City Cover Reveal

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cover Talk: Black City Cover Reveal

Have you heard of Black City by Elizabeth Richards? It's a dark supernatural tale that's coming out in November here in the US, and the cover is being revealed today! Also, thanks to the generosity of Penguin Group, I'm also giving away an ARC to one lucky winner!

First, here's what it's all about:
"A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths."
Without further ado, here is the cover!

Gorgeous, don't you agree? I love the colors and how the cover just captures the action so well!

About Elizabeth Richards:

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist and debut author, who spent her early career writing for videogame publications such as CUBE, P2 and GamesTM,and now works as a website editor. Previously, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls. She won the Jane Hayward Young Journalist of the Year award for her feature on girls in the games industry, and was named 'Editor's Choice' in the industry trade magazine, MCV. She lives in BuckinghamshireEngland and can be found online at www.theredpenofdoom.wordpress.com.

Not sure if this one is for you? Here's the first chapter!
An air raid siren wails in the distance, alerting Black City citizens to lock their doors and turn out the lights. They don’t want to be out in the dark alone. They might meet something dangerous. Something like me. 
I head under the canal bridge and wait for the girl, taking a packet of Sentry-regulation smokes from my back pocket and sparking up. The nicotine courses through my veins, making them throb with adrenaline; the sensation is almost like a pulse . . . almost. 
Footsteps approach the bridge, and a short girl with straggly black hair appears from the shadows, dressed in men’s work boots, tight black trousers and a tailcoat made from a patchwork of clashing fabrics. Her hazel eyes gaze up into mine. She’s brave. Not many cherry-poppers have the courage to look me in the eyes. She hands me an old playing card with two hearts on it, one red, one black. It’s my calling card. It seemed an appropriate choice; that’s what I’m selling her after all, an illusion of love. I slip it into the pocket of my dark green military jacket. 
“You’re late,” I say. “Last thing I need is to be caught out here after curfew by a Tracker. They’re just begging for a reason to throw me in jail.” 
“Sorry, they’ve put up extra checkpoints, stopping everyone. There’s tanks everywhere!” she babbles. “I guess they can’t be too careful with the Sentry Emissary back in the city, what with the boundary negotiations with the Legion and—” 
“You paid Beetle?” I interrupt. 
The girl nods. 
“Terms and conditions,” I say. “No refunds. You don’t enjoy it, you puke, you freak—not my problem, okay?” 
She nods again. 
“You pregnant?” She blushes furiously. “I’ll take that as a no. It may cause drowsiness, so don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery.” She smiles at this, and I grin. They always like that. “And no repeats for at least two weeks, all right? I mean it.”
“That all?” 
“No kissing. Strictly business, okay?” 
She seems a little disappointed by this, but I don’t like to mix business with pleasure. She shyly unbuttons the collar of her coat, revealing her slim, pale neck. Hunger grips my stomach at the sight. 
“What do I do?” she asks. 
“Lean back,” I say. 
She obeys like a good girl. I place a hand against the wall and slip my other hand between her thighs, gently easing her legs apart. Touching her doesn’t turn me on, but I groan like it does, knowing she’ll enjoy that. They all do, even the guys—it’s why they come to me instead of the Haze dens. I slide my body between her thighs so we’re face-to-face. Her shallow breaths are warm against my cool skin. 
“Relax, okay? It’s more enjoyable if you relax.” 
“My heart’s pounding a mile a minute.” She gives a nervous laugh. 
“Can’t say I know how that feels,” I admit. 
She tentatively presses a hand against my chest, and her eyes widen. “So it’s true, then? You don’t have a heart?” 
“I have a heart,” I growl, shoving her hard against the wall. It just doesn’t beat.A small tear snakes down her cheek, her thin lips trembling. 
“Sshhh, it’s okay, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to frighten you.” I gently wipe her tear away. “Forgive me?”
She nods, then tilts her head to one side, exposing the smooth whiteness of her neck. The poison sacs behind my fangs swell with venom. 
Focus, Ash. Don’t blow your load. 
I lean toward her, pressing my lips against the soft flesh on her neck, just below her ear. Her pulse flutters under my lips, and I nearly lose it. I begin to nibble on the flesh, tickling the tiny hairs on her neck with my tongue, making them wet with my saliva. 
“Do it,” she whispers. 
So much for foreplay. I sink my fangs into her jugular. Hot blood spills over my tongue, making my taste buds burst with its sticky sweetness. Man, I love the newbies; they always taste the best. She sighs as my venom enters her bloodstream. I wait for the Haze to take effect before I start to drink from her. That’s the bonus of Haze; my clients get high from me, and I get high from them by drinking their drugged blood. It’s win-win. 
A sour, bitter flavor suddenly floods my mouth, and I gag, leaping back.
“What the—” I spit up blood. 
The girl stares at me with glazed eyes, blood trickling down the two puncture wounds in her neck. 
“Everything’s sparkling,” she says dreamily. 
“Didn’t Beetle tell you I don’t take clients on meds?” 
She lurches toward me, and I grab her before she falls into the water.
“I love you,” she slurs, trying to kiss me. 
I shove her, hard. She falls back against the wall and slides to the floor. Her eyes roll back into her head, and she begins to spasm, white foam bubbling out the corners of her mouth. 
“No, no, no! Wake up.” I kneel down and shake her, panic rushing through me. 
The girl jerks, her boots leaving black scuff marks on the cobblestones. Fragg! This is why I don’t take clients on meds. You can never tell how they’re going to react to the Haze. I shrug off my jacket and place it under her head. 
A Sentry tank rolls over the bridge, and I shut my eyes and wait for it to pass. Even though the war is officially over, I still get chills at that sound. Wherever they went, Death followed. I had a few close scrapes during the war. During those days, the fact that I was a legal citizen and half human didn’t mean much to them. If you weren’t 100 percent human, you were the enemy. Every day was a fight for survival. Not much has improved since then; I’m still the enemy in most people’s eyes. All they can see is the Darkling in me. The tank turns down Bleak Street toward the Sentry Emissary’s headquarters. 
The girl groans. It’s too dangerous here; I have to go. I could just leave her . . . No, that’s not an option, but I can’t take her to the hospital. I’d get in so much trouble. 
I peer down the canal. A yellow barge is moored about one hundred feet away. The lights are off. Where is he? He’s meant to be my wingman; that’s why I came to the bridge in the first place. Can this get any wor— 
An explosion of pain bursts inside my chest, and I clutch a hand over my lifeless heart. I sense someone behind me and turn. 
A girl stands by the entranceway, lit by the headlamps of a passing truck. In the fleeting light, I catch a glimpse of cornflower-blue eyes flicking between me and the Hazer writhing on the ground. 
Her gaze finally fixes on me. 
I fall back, struck down, as the pain in my chest blooms again. 
Shivers run through my body, rushing toward a single point in my chest. There’s a spark of electricity and then: 
A flutter.

How to win: Just comment below for a chance to win! The contest will run from now until next Wednesday at midnight, and it is open internationally! (Thanks again to Penguin Group!) PLUS....winners are then entered for a chance to win drawings of the main characters signed by the author, like the one pictured above!

Good luck!


Annette Mills said...

Not heard of this one before. Love the premise -- the cover is unique and gorgeous!

Thanks for the giveaway!

annettesspot (at) gmail DOT com

Bonnie @ A Backwards Story said...

Thank you so much for the giveaway! I haven't heard of this before today, but I already want to read this so, so badly! *Crosses fingers*

I adore this cover. I like the way it's a flower, but it's shattering, which makes it so unique! Plus, I love the addition of a city, which adds the dystopian flare!

My email is abackwardstory(at)gmail(dot)com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the first chapter!
It sounds like it's made of awesome and that cover is amazing

Briana said...

I reeeally like this cover, and can't wait to read the rest!

Thanks for the contest! :)

Anonymous said...

Love the cover, need the book :)

Thanks for the giveaway!

Thildeespensen at live dot dk

Bleuette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bleuette said...

I LOVE the sound of this one! Thanks for the giveaway! :)


Gaby Pendragon said...

I loved the cover!! And the first chapter!! OMG, this is gonna be an awesome book!!

Thanks for the giveaway!!

My email is: gaby_sama@hotmail.com

ArtemisG said...

I loved the story and the cover is so beautiful. Thank you for the giveaway!

artgiote at gmail dot com

Kristi said...

I think I've lost count of how many times I've seen this cover today...still, it's pretty! Thanks for the chance. :)

Kristi S.

magan bagan said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I can't wait to read this book :)


joce28r said...

WOW! Awesome giveaway! Love the cover and it looks like a really cool book.

joce28r(at)yahoo DOT com

Nurin said...

This one sounds great :)

chaturbox at gmail.com

Jill the OWL said...

Sounds fantastic!!!

themgowl at gmail dot com

Rebecca Herman said...

this book sounds really good! thanks for the contest.

rebecca191 @ aol.com

Diana Julianna said...

I am so excited for this book! The cover is so pretty. :)

Juli @ The Reviews News

Addie R. said...

Thank you for the giveaway! The cover is gorgeous and the synopis is interesting!

Vivien said...

I need to get my hands on this one. Sounds like a great read!!

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Val said...

Wow - loved the excerpt and NEED the book. Thanks for the chance to win it.


Alicia said...

Love the cover! The book sounds amazing.


Chenise Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina Reads YA said...

I really like Ash's voice in this.


Cricket said...

The cover looks amazing and the book sounds fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway!

lilcrickit at gmail dot com

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the chance to win! The book sounds great1


Lynsey Newton said...

I hadn't heard of this book until yesterday and I have to say that I'm quite intrigued - great premise and the author is British (like me). The cover is gorgeous and I love dystopian reads :)

Thank you for the opportunity to win!


Anonymous said...

Sounds awesome! Thanks for the chance!

alicia marie said...

i am in love with the cover of this book i was already wanting to read it, but after reading the first chapter, i cannot wait to read the the whole book : ) thanks for the giveaway!

ame1184 at gmail dot com

Miss Haley said...

Enter me please! This book sounds so cool!

haleymathiot at yahoo.com

Samantha R. said...

Thanks for the giveaway! Great cover.


Jessy said...

That is is a great first chapter. It definitely got me hooked.

Findjessyhere at gmail dot com

terluon said...

oh the first chapter is lovely.

FreakChiq said...

The excerpt is such a tease! :D I can't wait to read the rest.
Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy! :)


Chenise Jones said...

I love the cover! And the book sounds awesome!


Yan said...

I'm loving the cover--great colors and power!

And wow, that first chapter. It's definitely something different from what I've been reading thus far, but I'm happy that the author isn't petrified of her characters having sex.


mk said...

Thanks for the great giveaway! I would love to get a chance to win the book.

Jessica T. said...

Totally loving both the cover and the first chapter. Thanks for the chance to win! :)
literaturelovely [at] gmail [dot] com

FairyWhispers said...

the cover is gorgeous!

I like the rose but I don't understand the relation yet



Jena said...

Thank you so much for the chance!! I love hopping blog to blog and seeing all the hype for this book! :)

Shortie Says

CheyenneS. said...

Oh wow! I hadn't heard of this book until you posted about it. If I had an ARC copy of this book it would be placed on the very top of my to-read pile. Please enter me! :)

Cheyenne S.

books first love said...

I am so excited about the book. It sounds very interesting and the cover is GORGEOUS and I want a drawing...sigh, let's see if I have luck.
Thanks for the chance to win.

Angela (The Little Blue Pig) said...

I absolutely love the cover!! It's gorgeous!

Thanks for the giveaway!!


picyadri said...

The gorgeous cover, the promisng first chapter and the blurb absolutely sold me. Can't wait to read this.
Thank you for the chance to win!
email: picyadri at gmail dot com

Gigi said...

I really want to read this book, it sounds so GOOD! And the cover is beautiful. I need to have a cooopy!! Thanks for the giveaway!


Jackie said...

Totally in love with this cover. I love the bursting flower. It's defintely differently from other book covers. I am super excited for this one. Thanks for the giveaway!


bn100 said...

Great excerpt and cover! The book sounds good.