The Heartless City
My Rating: 4 Stars
Written by: Andrea Berthot
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: August 17, 2015
Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy | Science Fiction
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.
The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot
Doctor Jekyll’s experiment had gone bad, but that is nothing compared to abominations that where created by the power hungry men, in society, that have gotten hold of Jekyll’s formula. London lies in ruin with Great Britain’s monarchy leaving the city in control of the Governor. The only hope comes in a scarred young scientist that flees to America as London falls. This scientist, Jekyll’s prodouche, just happens to a woman, who must make the dangerous trek with her young daughter, Iris Faye, into a city littered with monsters in disguise.
Some 13 years after the quarantine, the son of the lead physician and “cure seeker”, Elliot finds himself irrevocably drawn to Iris, a waitress at a local eatery. This chance meeting and continuing interactions seals their fate to either doom London or find its cure.
The heart-eating monsters, of the twisted Jekyll potion, have nothing on the political machinations that abound with power hungry evil perpetrated, for years, unchecked on the citizen left behind in London.
The Heartless City takes place in the early 1900’s but has the feel of a modern day urban fantasy. Berthot masterfully writes a science fiction fantasy with a small steampunk flare that captivates and charms us right into her storytelling. Original twist on the Jekyll tale, I recommend The Heartless City to any avid fiction reader.
I received this copy of The Heartless City from Andrea Berthot in exchange for a honest review.