Book Review: The Hypnotic City (The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles Book 2) by Andrea Berthot

 
 
It's 1904 and Philomena has moved from London to New York to finally be free and to follow her dreams of performing, so when the famous theatre owner Tom Casey hires her to be his next star, it's her dream come true. But her new boyfriend isn't quite as excited about it as she is, and as Philomena starts noticing more and more strange things, she realizes something suspicious is going on, and everything may not be quite what it seems.
 

 
Book Review: The Hypnotic City (The Gold and Gaslight Chronicles Book 2) by Andrea Berthot | reading, books, fantasy, historical fantasy, science fiction, young adult
Title: The Hypnotic City
Author:
Book Number: Book 2 of TBA
Pages: 215
My Book Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

I have to admit, I was afraid I wasn’t going to like this book because, while I absolutely LOVED The Heartless City, Philomena was actually my least favorite character. Something about her just didn’t click with me in that book. But the more I read in this one, the more things I found that I liked about her, the more ways I found that I related to her, and the more she grew on me until Philomena herself became my favorite thing about the book.

For one thing, she was confident, rather than being one of those self-deprecating, low self-esteem characters. Yeah, she had some insecurities because everyone does, but she didn’t let them destroy her opinion of herself.

For another thing, she was a fighter. Even in the worst of situations, she kept trying to figure out a plan, kept thinking, and kept fighting back both physically and emotionally.

She also stood up for herself, stood up for her rights as a woman, was accepting of other people, felt that she should get to make her own decisions about her body (like when to have sex and to use condoms even though they were immoral and illegal), and was generally just a great advocate for women and people in general.

There were also lots of really great messages in this book about sexism, classism, body image, sexual orientation, etc. My favorite message though was the one about how girls do not owe guys simply because the guys are nice and do things for them, and that any guy who expects this and gets angry about it is not the “nice” guy he thinks he is. This is, in my opinion, the basis of the entire “friendzone” issue and something I feel very strongly about, so I loved that it was included.

Another great thing about this book was how much the setting came to life. I mean, I had no prior knowledge of what 1904 New York was like, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of it, but I still managed to see it and feel completely immersed in it.

Last but not least, I liked how healthy the relationship between Philomena and Jamie was. Yeah, they fought sometimes, but every couple does. What was important was that they always apologized, talked it out, made things right afterward, and respected each other.

I had one issue with the plot though, which was that it took a while for the conflict to really come up. Things were hinted at and kind of mysterious, but it wasn’t until around 70% that the main thing was revealed. However it never dragged, so I can’t complain too much.

So overall, the setting really came to life for me, Philomena was a great main character, I loved the sense of feminism and acceptance that permeated the story, and I really enjoyed this book!

*Note: This is part of a series, but it is a complete story about these main characters that works as a standalone. However I still recommend you read the first one simply because it’s amazing.*

 
 
Book Blurb

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.

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  1. Nemo @ Young Adult At Heart

    YEAS! Wasn’t Philomena just so so perfect? I adored her. I adored this novel. I loved everything about it and my heart broke when berthot went to places other authors wouldn’t have the balls to go and I just loved everything about it, can you tell? LOL. I agree the main plot conflict didn’t appear until a while through the narrative but I didn’t have a problem with that, it seems to happen with my most favourite books anyway! I think the genre is kind of paranormal/sci-fi along with the historical stuff but I also feel it’s really urban. I love that it’s just a mashup of really cool genres and they all work together.

    Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, yes, she was fantastic! And I can definitely tell how much you loved it! The plot thing wasn’t a huge problem, obviously I still enjoyed it, but I just generally like to know the goal/conflict as early as possible when I read books. One of my quirks I guess lol. Yeah, The Heartless City was like both sci-fi and fantasy and urban and historical and a whole bunch of genres lol, but this one was more like historical with just a touch of… something? Technically it was science, but it still seemed more like fantasy? Whatever it was, it was still good, it just makes it confusing me to try and categorize on my blog :-P

  2. sjhigbee

    This sounds great. So many books purport to be feminist because they give a girl a weapon, or she is ‘chosen’ in some way – but that so often isn’t the case. However, this one sounds as if a real effort was made to examine some of the gnarlier issues around gender politics, which is often simply dodged in spec fic. I need to add this one to my TBR – thank you for a great review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You’re so right. It seems like most books make the female good at physical fighting and good with weapons and call it feminism, but that’s not my definition. This author does a great job of incorporating feminism, LGBT, and other messages into all her books it seems, but with a great story too. Glad I could help you find a potential new book!

  3. Keionda @Keionda Hearts Books

    Ohhh I lobee the sound of this book! It sounds like it goes through so many important issues! i like how the author wasn’t afraid to step over the boundaries between things that are sometimes uncomfortable in life and tinges we just skirt across and don’t like to think about! :) I also love the sound of the heroine! She sounds SUPER STRONG and she sound like a book character I wouldn’t mind getting to know! :)

    AWESOME review Kristen! <3

    1. Kristen Burns

      It does cover so many great issues! And you’re right, she’s not afraid to write about those things that might make people uncomfortable. And the MC was fantastic :-) If you like all those things I mentioned, I think you’d really like the books! Thanks!!!

  4. verushka

    Oh hello, I went and read the review of the first book and then this one, and I have to say, this author and series is extremely impressive — feminism, healthy relationships and in early 1900s London? YES! I’ll have some thank you! lol Also, especially that she made you change your mind about Philomena.

    verushka recently posted: The Ice Child Book Review

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, she always incorporates great messages about feminism and all that into the stories, I love it. And the first book was set in London, the second in New York, but the setting came to life for me in both of them. You should give the series a try! And I was surprised at the way I changed my mind about Philomena, definitely a plus!

  5. Lola

    I know that feeling, I’ve read a few books that switched the point of view to a character I didn’t like as much in the earlier books and it’s always a gamble to see if that books form their point of view will change your mind or you still don’t like them. I am glad to hear this one worked for you and you liked Philomena. Sometimes it really makes a difference to your opinion of a character when you get their point of view and be in their head.

    It really sounds like the setting came alive, I love it when the author can bring a setting alive like that. And the romance sounds well done and realistic with how they had some fights, but also apologized and made up. Great review!

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #191

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I was disappointed at first that it would be from her POV, but then I ended up loving her. I guess being in her POV did make all the difference!

      The setting did come alive. As I said, I knew nothing about it, yet I still managed to feel like I was there. And I do like finding healthy relationships in books since they seem so few and far between. Thanks!