Published: August 1, 2016
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 218 (Paperback)
My Rating: 2.5/5.0
Philomena Blackwell survived a city plagued with monsters, the gilded cage of high society, and the rule of a heartless man… and she aims to leave it all behind.
It’s 1905, and London has finally been freed from Henry Jekyll’s terrible legacy – its people cured, its thirteen-year quarantine lifted. The world is waiting, and for a girl who dreams of being its most dazzling star, what could be more enticing than the bright lights of New York City?
She is drawn across the ocean like a moth to a flame, her heart set on proving that while she may be small on the outside, her soaring talent eclipses even Manhattan’s towering skyline. When she lands a big break, it seems as if the city is ready to fall under her spell – just as she seems to be falling for a handsome young stage manager. But is it her stage presence mesmerizing the audience, or something more sinister behind the scenes?
Philomena has always relied on her fierce will and fiery heart, but a new and more terrible danger lurks in the shadows of Broadway’s bright lights, and even a mind as determined as hers may not be immune to its seductive, insidious pull…
Both fans of The Heartless City and new readers alike will enjoy this stand-alone / spin-off tale of Philomena’s adventures on stage – and in love – in NYC.
The Hypnotic City is the latest installment in The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles by Andrea Berthot. Rather than being set in London as the first book was, we get to travel with Philomena Blackwell and Jennie who are newly arrived in the United States. I was a little surprised that this story was going to focus on Philomena, though pleasantly so. I loved her in The Heartless City and thought she was bubbly, fiery fun.
The plot of The Hypnotic City was not so obvious as that of the first book- heart munching monsters and a Jekyll & Hyde theme. This was more a coming of age story for Philomena. Just a girl trying to achieve her dream of becoming a successful Broadway actress after running away from her gilded cage. The monsters here were less present, more subtle and human. While I appreciate this subtlety, it meant that this story lacked a certain je ne sais quoi that the first book managed to capture.
I have to say I was a little disappointed in Philomena’s character development as well. I remember loving her in the first book, but here she’s just a girl with big dreams and a flash-pan temper. She punches at least 3 different guys in the face, and while they certainly deserved it, her punches probably really aren’t that effective because she’s small. She should really have invested in some brass-knuckles or several hefty rings.
The Hypnotic City just wasn’t on par with the first book and I was actually surprised to learn that there would be a second installment in the series because the first would have worked as a standalone. The action just wasn’t there and I missed Iris and the others and what they added. Did I mention that the bad guy was yet again a crazed scientific type? Perhaps the third book will make up for what this one lacked.