🌟One of my faves!🌟It's 1903 and the city of London has been quarantined for 13 years due to the Hyde drug, originally created by Dr. Jekyll, an experiment that went horribly wrong and created a city of heart-eating monsters. Elliot, a 17-year-old who accidentally made himself an empath when he tried to escape his troubles with a serum he created, is struggling to cope with his new abilities and his life in general when he meets Iris, a girl with emotions so strong, hopeful, and fearless they call to him. But Iris also has abilities of her own, and together they attempt to figure out who the real monsters are and save the city.
Ok, people, do not let my apparent calmness in this review fool you because I would give this book 6 stars if I could.
This was one of the best books I have ever read. There is not a single thing I would change about it, not a single thing I disliked, not a single thing that was lacking. I couldn’t even function after reading it because how do you function after being blown away like that?!
But since books are subjective and everyone reading this doesn’t know what my personal preferences are, I will tell you all about why I loved it so much! I will even organize it so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for, since this might be long (not even sorry). So here goes!
Emotion is what I read for. The deeper and stronger, the better. And this book was emotion on steroids because the main character was an empath, and I have never before read a book by an author who was able to describe the emotions an empath was feeling in such a strong, powerful, beautiful way. The sheer amount of emotions in the book, and the rawness and power of them, everything from love to shame to fear to rage, was just phenomenal. I felt like I was going to burst into tears for no apparent reason while reading because the sappy parts of me couldn’t even handle it. And since the protag was an empath, I got to know and feel not just his emotions but those of ALL the characters.
Not only were they likeable, they were unique and developed. Elliot made a great protagonist because he was vulnerable, somewhat broken, and having difficulty coping (I do love me a tortured hero), but he was also understanding and used his ability to learn and grow. My favorite though was Cam because he was just so damn genuine, enthusiastic, and lovable!
There were straight and LGBT relationships, and both were healthy and adorable. Yes the main characters fell in love quickly, and normally I might be bothered by that, but I didn’t even notice it in this book until I stopped to think about it afterward. It just worked with the situation and the characters, especially since they were so supportive of each other. But the great relationships didn’t stop there. The friendship between Elliot and Cam was deep and full of love, and neither was afraid to express their care for the other—male friendships like that are not something I see often in books. There were even some complex family relationships that weren’t perfect but grew by the end of the story. And I was just as invested in the side characters as I was the main ones.
I couldn’t help but love the feminism and LGBT support, as well as the overall point about understanding others. I’ll let these two quotes do the talking for me. (I took the names out of the second one, but it could still possibly be a spoiler.)
But then he remembered that monsters weren’t the only threat women faced.
Elliot had always been told that men like that were deviants, that if they had any feelings at all, they were twisted and depraved. Since his affliction, he’d come across the vilest of human emotions: hatred, arrogance, cruelty, and many other feelings with a sense of wrongness about them. But what he’d felt from [blank] and [blank] last night was nothing like that. The fire that burned between them wasn’t some evil, destructive force; it was pure, selfless, regenerative, and… beautiful.
The Writing Style
The best way I can describe it is that it was light and easy to read, but with a slight beautiful/historical infusion. And I abso-freaking-lutely loved it.
The book was more character-driven, but the plot was nicely paced and kept me interested and invested in every single scene. It flowed naturally with ups and downs, building up to the ending, which had me at the edge of my seat. My favorite scene was definitely the one when they listened to the ragtime music. I played the actual songs (which you can find in the author’s playlist) in the background while they were singing, dancing, drinking, joking, and laughing, and I swear I could feel the joy and the hope as if I were right there with them!
Not only was this an interesting premise (it’s not exactly a retelling, but it was inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and a story filled with creativity, it was so rich with details—but not the kind that bog you down, just the kind that make a story come alive!
This book was emotional, intense, surprising, and, most of all, beautiful!
*Note: This is part of a series, but it is a complete story about these main characters that works as a standalone.*
Anyone who likes EMOTION in their books! Also fans of historical fantasy, character-driven novels, and adorable relationships and friendships.