Thursday, June 16, 2016
Many thanks to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The Heartless City had so much promise.
After a bit of a slow start, I truly loved the beginning. Then, to my complete confusion and ultimate disappointment, the story jumped ahead years, and I realized I had been engrossed in a prologue. That prologue was the tale I most wanted to read: Virginia, smart and brave and traumatized, desperately trying to raise and keep safe a young daughter with unnatural gifts. Sadly, we jumped ahead to said daughter's teenage years instead.
I initially liked Elliot, the main male character, very much. That mostly continued throughout the story. I didn't connect so well with Iris, Virginia's gifted daughter. She was a bit... too much for me. A little too overwhelmingly beautiful and special to feel real, and her first connection with Elliot felt like insta-love. (Keep in mind that I am very picky about romantic relationships. I'm sure a lot of people would enjoy that sort of powerful immediate connection.)
There was some gorgeous prose, swirled together with the blocks of angst and overwrought, unconvincing character interaction. The book was also set against a background of some very interesting possible conflicts (the Hydes being the most obvious example), but those aspects were mostly dropped or underused. Paired with the fact that many of the secondary characters (Virginia; Elliot's friend Cam; amazing, tough, tiny Philomena) were far more interesting overall than the leads, this felt a bit like the first draft of a really, really amazing book.
Bottom line was, The Heartless City didn't quite work for me, but there was a lot of promise hidden in its pages. I very much hope the author one day writes that truly incredible book.