Reborn City by Rami Ungar (Book Review)

reborncityZahara Bakur is a Muslim teenager recently moved into the gambling town of Reborn City. After her parents are killed by gang violence, Zahara is forced to join the Hydras, an interracial gang whose leaders have supernatural abilities. As the violence in Reborn City escalates and Zahara becomes closer to the Hydras, including the quiet but stern Rip, she finds herself drawn into a dark conspiracy involving the origins of the leaders and the shadowy corporation that rules over Reborn City.

So, I should probably start at the beginning. Rami Ungar is a friend and fellow blogger, who I met through our shared love for Doctor Who! HeĀ is a self-published author and more than once the topic of me checking out his work has come up. I always felt like he was more at home in the horror genre, which everyone knows isn’t my thing at all, but he suggested I check out Reborn City, since it should be more up my alley. Now here we are! Reviewing the work of friends is never easy for me, but I am going to try my best to put my thoughts in coherent sentences!

What I Liked

  • Reborn City puts an emphasis on people being prejudiced towards certain races or religions. It is really blunt at talking about all kinds of racism, while offering the reader a diverse cast of characters and I can definitely appreciate that! Also, it’s a topic that seems very current to me. With the refugee crisis still going on, it’s in fact a global topic, seen as people freak out and get ridiculously paranoid and xenophobic lately.
  • The backstory of the characters was really intriguing and very satisfying once you found out how everything ties together! I think without the Epilogue, there would have been a couple of unanswered questions, but all in all Reborn City could be a standalone. However, now it is open to a sequel and does kind of make you wonder what the gang will be up to next.
  • Even though I have to admit that it took me a while, I really liked the characters in the end. I think the backflashes helped most with that because often you only got glimpses of emotions which made it difficult to bond for me.
  • I loved all the superpowers!! Some of them I recognised from other superheroes and others were completely unique. It was great to find out about them and to see how differently they could be used.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I don’t know if that was because I am not a native English speaker or not, but I did not handle the gangster lingo well. I would have much rather preferred “normal” English with a couple of slang words thrown in, than them having sort of their own language – even if it does completely make sense in that particular setting!
  • It bothered me a little how naive Zahara was about joining a gang and then how lenient they were with her. Also, I would have really liked to know more about her first two weeks with Hydra since she really seemed to take to some of the members, but I couldn’t quite get where that connection was coming from. As I’ve mentioned above, bonding was sometimes a little difficult for me, but I think it would have been easier if I had read about some actual bonding (this excludes Ilse and Zahara – I get their friendship!).
  • I am not a big fan of violence. I get why it was there and why it was necessary, but it already started out really intense and I think that those sort of stories just aren’t the most enjoyable for me to read.

Lastly, I am sorry but I have to mention one more thing. I am a cover snob! I will admit to that freely and while I can guarantee you that Rami has many talents, I think the cover needs a lot of work. But since I don’t want to be a hypocrite, here’s my suggestion for how it might look better (please take into account that I am no tech-wiz either and that I am well aware that it could need some cleaning up):

RebornCity1

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Reborn City wasn’t a bad story at all and quite the page turner in the end, but I think that other people can appreciate it more than I did!

Do you think you would enjoy Reborn City? What’s your take on my cover suggestion? Share your thoughts below!