The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot – Review

Cover- The Heartless City

Published: August 17, 2015

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 241 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0



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.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Andrea and she requested that I read and review her book The Heartless City on my blog, which I gladly accepted. I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis, which shows just how important a good synopsis can be, but I digress. I was so intrigued by a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde retelling that I HAD to accept her offer and I’m so glad I did!

As I mentioned above, this is a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which is quite unique. I don’t recall having seen anything similar in my long hours of Goodreads browsing, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t miss one. Anyways, I thought the story was done extremely well and the author’s twists and interpretations were really fantastic. I’m a big fan of books set in Victorian/Edwardian era England because it’s kind of a romantic time period with all those fancy dresses, gorgeous homes, and the social life. The Heartless City takes all this and throws a big tub of darkness onto it by having an infestation of murderous shapeshifters that cause London to be quarantined. Add political corruption, familial discord, and general scheming and you’ve got quite the interesting environment.

The environment is very nearly dull in comparison with the rich, vibrant characters in this book. I love Elliott and Iris, though I will admit I was expecting the main character to be someone entirely different based on the introduction. That really threw me for a loop! Iris is such a strong girl with relatable ambitions- she wants to be an ornithologist and I totally understand what it’s like to have a passion for the sciences. Elliott is a mess because of his questionable choices and the way he tried to cope with a past problem, but he’s sincere and a loyal friend. Both of these characters also have little something extra that makes them even more interesting, but I can’t spoil all the fun! The more secondary characters are simply delightful as well. Cam, Andrew and Philomena were great members of the character cast and equally as lovable as Elliott and Iris. Philomena was an absolute firecracker and these characters were way ahead of their time. I don’t usually discuss the villains in books, but I must say this villain was pretty vile and well, villainous. I certainly didn’t like him at all and I was hoping he would get eaten or that someone would just straight up behead him mid-way through the story.

This was a fabulous, entertaining read with lots of action and characters that I could totally feel for. Again, I’m so glad I agreed to review this book and I hope you will consider checking it out yourself. I was so engrossed by the story that I ended up reading the book in one sitting and getting a bit sunburned in the process (woops!).


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