Review: The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

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Overall Score9/10

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retelling

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Release Date: August 17, 2015

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Book Summary (From GoodReads)

Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters.

Once shared secretly among the good doctor’s inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production – but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers – ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.

It’s 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.

Son of the city’s most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes – and finding instead he’s become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.

He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city’s rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.

Together, they aim to discover who’s really pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.

Review (Slight Spoilers)

This book is a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and it goes past the original plot. It explores what could have happened if that drug was distributed among the citizens of London. The plot was original and extremely captivating. The characters were all distinct and wonderfully characterized. While some characters had special abilities, there were scientific explanations given that made sense in the context of the story.

There are two wonderful romances, a power-hungry dictator, a mad scientist, and adventure in this book. It is definitely a dark story but it isn’t creepy. Rather than having the story be filled with gore, the author instead chooses to examine what exactly can make a human monstrous and the lengths individuals will go to save those they love. I highly recommend this book and this series.

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