Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

Series: The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles
Author: Andrea Berthot
Page Count: 241
Published: August 17th, 2015
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
  4 Stars ★★★★

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review.

It's 1903 and London is quarantined. A drug that turns humans into 'Hydes',  monsters of great strength which tear out peoples' hearts, has devastated the population. 

Elliot Morrissey, son of one of the physicians searching desperately for a cure, is an empath due to an experiment gone wrong. When he meets Iris, he can tell that there is something different about her, and he's right. After she appears to return from the dead, she is offered a room in the palace, and it is discovered that she can heal herself amongst other amazing abilities.

During her stay in the palace, Elliot and Iris grow closer, and secrets are revealed about those he thought he could trust. Not all is as it seems, and he and Iris are determined to get to the bottom of things.

I'm usually not a fan of historical fiction but when I was approached about a potential read and review, I thought I'd give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised and I can say that this book truly impressed me.

One interesting thing about it is my feelings towards the characters. Whether or not I liked or disliked a character was absolute and there was no in between, which was a nice change from previous reads. The characters themselves were very unique and the protagonists were incredibly likeable. They were not cut-out characters, archetypes or cliches. 

The world it was set in, a quarantined historical London, was so well set up it often felt like I was really there with the characters. I understood everything about the world, descriptions were very clear and whenever I sat down to read I was instantly sucked into the story.

The plot seemed a bit reminiscent of the whole zombie infection thing at first, and I was wary I would be getting a run-of-the-mill monster virus story. But I was wrong! This is, so far, the best "virus"-themed story I have ever read. The backstory was intriguing, the effects were truly devastating and the whole idea of using something to gain or maintain power was expertly intertwined with the "virus" concept. 

The romantic aspect of the story was incredibly well done. While not fading completely into the background amid the overall plot, it didn't overshadow the main conflicts of the story. Forbidden romance always excites me and there was a sprinkle of that in here as well. 

The only thing that I took issue with was the occasional overuse of descriptive words. At times I felt a bit overwhelmed with descriptions and adjectives, but this became less and less as I progressed through the book.

Do I recommend? Absolutely! If you read young adult fiction or historical fiction add this to your list! If "virus"-themed books are your thing this is a must read. I really enjoyed this book and I am hoping to read the sequel.