Book Review | The Mesmerist

Title // The Mesmerist
Author // Ronald L Smith
Publication Month // February 7, 2017
Publisher // Clarion Books
Genre // Middle Grade


Thirteen-year-old Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists—until they discover that Jess is a mesmerist and that she really can talk to the dead. Soon she is plunged into the dark world of Victorian London’s supernatural underbelly and learns that the city is under attack by ghouls, monsters, and spirit summoners. Can Jess fight these powerful forces? And will the group of strange children with mysterious powers she befriends be able to help? As shy, proper Jess transforms into a brave warrior, she uncovers terrifying truths about the hidden battle between good and evil, about her family, and about herself.


The Mesmerist is a middle-grade, paranormal novel set in Victorian London. It has magic, faeries and beings with powers in a town under attack from some pretty creepy villains.

The first thing I noticed about The Mesmerist was the wonderful atmosphere that author Ronald L Smith has created. It’s easy to see where magic fits into this world where the paranormal permeates all areas, unbeknownst to the general public. 

Jessamine Grace is a thirteen year old girl who, following the death of her father, works alongside her mother as a ‘spiritualist’ – a sham they have built to earn a small income and live in relative comfort. But all is not as it seems, as Jessamine is revealed to actually be able to speak to the dead, among as host of other abilities. She’s a confident, capable young girl who’s confronted with some strange truths and tough situations and manages to maintain a cool head. 

There’s a small collection of side characters who’s abilities and histories are revealed throughout the story as the action unfolds. While there were some elements that strained disbelief at times, it was an enjoyable and easy read. The dark and perilous London underground is equal parts creepy and intriguing.

Overall I gave The Mephisto 3.5 out of 5 stars.

(I received a copy of The Mephisto from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)


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