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Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
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Mystic City (edition 2013)

by Theo Lawrence

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1933061,059 (3.48)2
Member:kmartin802
Title:Mystic City
Authors:Theo Lawrence
Info:Delacorte Books for Young Readers (2013), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Reviewed, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Review, YA, Dystopia

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Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

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Aria Rose lives in the Aeries of Mystic City, one of the Roses she's never wanted for anything her entire life. Until now.

For decades the Roses and the Fosters have been rival families, one ruling the East of Mystic City, the other the West, only now Aria finds herself engaged to Thomas Foster. With no memory of how this betrothal came to be, Aria can't fathom the proposed joining of the two feuding families came to be, but everyone else seems thrilled about it.

Their marriage will solidify a great political union and bring together Aeries -the privileged ones living about the city - against the mystics banished to the the Depths below.

If only Aria could remember this supposed great love . . .

It's not until she encounters Hunter, one of the mystics living below the city, that Aria thinks she might be even starting to start to remember something. It doesn't seem as if everything is as she's been told - about her memory loss or anything else.


The premise of Mystic City with its rival families, society castes, and a girl who may be about to uncover the truth behind what's she's always been told her entire life, sounded really fantastic. For some crazy reason, I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the story at first. At first it seemed like certain things were just too easy to predict or that it was too obvious what was too come.

As I kept reading, though, Mystic City really grabbed me, it became really engrossing. The things that I thought were too obvious or made an outcome too clear turned out to either be purposely that obvious, so that they would be guessed and figured out - or they only seemed so clear-cut so that when it turned out not to be what you thought, it would be surprising (but never not believable).

Aria's memory loss plays well. The reader is allowed to get a few steps ahead of her, seeing things she can't - or won't - see about both the story and the characters. At times it does get frustrating, as you do want her to wise up and see something or someone for what it is, but that's not who she is or where she is. It does get to a point that her naivete, however, is kind of pushing it - I felt a sort of 70/30 pull between thinking it fit her character and being frustrated with her, thinking she was being a bit dense.

The design of Mystic City reminded me a bit of what Julie Kagawa had designed in The Immortal Rules. Here we get a really good description of the different areas/levels, especially the Depths but I do wish there had been a bit more on how the city as a whole connected. Maybe I just had trouble picturing all of it. I did love that the environment, transportation, and things from the modern day were all taken into account when building this new, future city.

The characters and the emotion, not to mention the plot are fantastic in Theo Lawrence's Mystic City, Mystic City #1 and will leave you eagerly awaiting the second book in this trilogy.


Rating: 9/10



digitial galley received from publisher through NetGalley - thank you!
  BookSpot | May 18, 2015 |
This was overall pretty bland. It felt like it was just a mashup of a bunch of different stories including Romeo & Juliet, X-Men, Harry Potter (the 12 Grimmauld Place scene was blatantly ripped off!) and a weird dash of Spiderman. I almost wonder if this started out as a Harry Potter fanfic and then was changed later on in order to sell it to a publisher.

The characters were fairly flat and scenes were repetitive (they eat dinner and skulk around dark alleyways A LOT).

My biggest problem was that the foreshadowing was way too heavy handed. I wasn't surprised by anything in this book. I knew who was evil, what the big twists were, etc.

I think I'll be skipping the sequel. ( )
  luminescent_bookworm | Jan 27, 2015 |
More like a 3.5.

This was a terrifically light read with great world-building (which accounts for it being a page-turner for me) & stock characters.

I space out my YA reads because I need distance to avoid the sameness I start to see if I read them in close succession. So, I had been waiting a while to get to this one & it's lovely cover. It wasn't a bad story but the character development was fairly soft. Usually, I find characters to be the more interesting thing in stories & find world-building to be lacking, especially in YA dystopian tales. Mystic City was the opposite. The world-building & politics was my favorite aspect of the story & the characters (especially the mains, Aria & Hunter) were basically stock & left a lot to be desired in the depth department. Odder still, the main characters that I should care most about, Aria & Hunter, I care least about. Basically, they're just my means to an end of getting to hear about everything else. Of course that means that their love story, is mostly irrelevant to me (though I do think tween & even teen girls will adore it).

I wanted to know more about virtually everyone else in the story. Thomas (more interesting than I think the writer intended), Kyle, Davida, Kiki, Bennie, both sets of parents, Violet, Elissa, Benedict. You get the point. Aria can only be excused for part of her blandness as she has selective amnesia. Ostensibly she never had a deep thought, question or clue of anything in her world before her amnesia set in but now that it has, she's just a lightning rod for finding everything & everyone so unsatisfying & stifling. It's laughable & annoying altogether. I didn't so much root for her as tolerate her to get information on what's happening in the story. Apparently, all Aria's girlfriends are first class twits too (the writing of them is so heavy handed to make them unlikable) but she was close to them before her "accident" so I can only assume that Aria too was a socially scathing twit until she met the awesome that is Hunter & he changed her whole outlook to the point that she needed her mind wiped. Aria seems to be another YA heroine in a long line of them that has friends she regards almost contemptibly yet they seem never to tire of her & think she's irrefutably wonderful. They always invite her out, throw her parties, simper when they don't receive her adoration in kind, their calls & texts go unanswered by her & yet they never really call her out for ignoring them & she never has to display any sort of interest in their lives because she's so self-involved. I ask myself for the millionth time, where does one find friends like these? I only hear of them in books & they never resemble any of the friendships I've had with my girlfriends as a teen or an adult woman. A conundrum, to be sure.

In other character oddities, Aria also takes that a guy hasn't shaved for the day & has a hint of stubble as meaning he has an air of danger & trouble about him. This would be less stupid if she didn't also know that her father is a criminal overlord, clean shaven & impeccably coiffed & she's lived with gun toting, hulking bodyguards her entire life. Sadly, Aria racks up more inconsistencies & I don't have the inclination to list the rest here. Hunter has a lot to go to get real cred as the story's "bad boy" because currently, it's basically his zip code that clinches it for him & not his actual personality, such as it is or his actions. If the author couldn't be bothered to give him layers, then neither can I care too deeply.

Two bores together do not a blistering (or interesting) love story make & that's just what we are given in Aria & Hunter. Mary & Gary Stu in bland bliss with all the Deux Ex Machina luck that comes with the assignation. They fit in the slots well enough but there's nothing even remotely new here. There's no real triangle angst even with Thomas in the mix & I really didn't feel any tension or moral outrage about Gretchen on Aria's behalf. She had Stu, I mean Hunter, so no big deal. I don't care if they refer to themselves as Romeo & Juliet, this is no soul stirring retelling of The Bard. And, they're still alive at the end of the story so... again, no.

I'll read the next because I want to know more about the aftermath of the showdown in the Depths & I think the author's way with world-building (the description of the mystic's power is very well done) is worth reading another. Maybe there'll be some decent people to be found in the Aeries other than the sainted Aria. You know, other wealthy people working to support the cause of freedom & equality. Surely the inhabitants above are no more a monolith than the people in the Depths. There needs to be a lot more grey and less White Hat/Black Hat happening for me to really buy into this having a tight plot. I'm going to hope Aria & Hunter turn it up on the interesting metre also. ( )
  anissaannalise | Jan 1, 2014 |
Dude. Just no. I want my brain power and life back. This was such a hot mess of a book. ( )
1 vote seekayou | Aug 20, 2013 |
I had a hard time categorizing this one. In many ways, it's a literal urban fantasy -- a story that takes place in future Manhattan, which is powered by mystical energy. At the same time, it doesn't have any fantasy elements aside from the presence of said mystical energy, which seems to be more of a psychic trait than the presence of magic.

It borrows from Romeo and Juliet but plays around with some of the more tired tropes pervading a lot of YA lit. The romance was more interesting than I expected. There are legitimate reasons for the forbidden nature of the relationship in question, and though I am usually annoyed by Forbidden Love Because of Reasons, it worked.

I did become very frustrated with the narrator for a while, for the same reason I was yelling at Eona in [b:Eon: Dragoneye Reborn|2986865|Eon Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)|Alison Goodman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1299076175s/2986865.jpg|3017319]. The answers were at times painfully obvious to the reader, but the narrator couldn't wrap her head around them until pretty late in the game. This is spectacularly annoying, but I enjoyed the story in spite of it.

This book was fun. It has futuristic mob bosses, divided cities, threats of revolution, some social commentary, an oppressed underclass, and a heroine who had begun to come into herself by the middle of the novel. I read it in one sitting while knitting, which was a great way to spend a morning. ( )
  eldashwood | Apr 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038574160X, Hardcover)

For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:50 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In a Manhattan where the streets are under water and outcasts called mystics have paranormal powers, Aria Rose is engaged to Thomas Foster and the powerful Rose and Foster families--long time enemies--are uniting politically; the only trouble is that Aria can not remember ever meeting Thomas, much less falling in love with him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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