Book 78 of 2015: The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

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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.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

The first thing that grabbed me instantly was the cover. It’s dark, Victorian, and screamed: READ ME. The second thing that grabbed me was the book blurb. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inspired? Yes, please.

The book was everything I was hoping and then some. The characters were endearing, the story was well thought out, and the world was dark. I didn’t want the book to end.

The two main characters worked off each other beautifully. When they did have issues, they encouraged each other. What they saw as a weakness in themselves, was seen as a strength in the other.

 The secondary characters were just as engaging as the main. I fell in love with Cambrian. It might be because we share a birthday, but I love him. My heart broke the moment he did something against his nature. Philomena was another secondary character I loved. She has balls. She goes against the grain of a gentlewoman and it’s awesome.

The element of Elliot’s empathic abilities was an interesting touch. The descriptions of the characters’ emotions is detailed and you can feel what each character felt. I can only imagine how much Elliot went through. Witnessing the darkness of some characters was disturbing; especially the Hydes.

I like to liken the Hydes to werewolves. A person infected could change whenever and are without emotion. They are angry and hungry. And what they eat is just as disturbing as their emotions.

I fear to write anymore because this book was that awesome. Andrea Berthot made a world I want to experience again and again. Luckily for me, she will have a sequel out in the future. And Philomena is the main character for that one. Score.

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