Series: Mystic City #1
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers on October 9, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
I have to admit, Mystic City started out a little tough for me. I was always interested in the story, but I had a hard time grasping the setting. The story takes place in a futuristic Manhattan, and there are a lot of new technologies and architecture that were tough for me to comprehend. I think I just had a hard time seeing them clearly in my mind. But once I got invested in the story, I loved it. The last third of the book in particular was really engaging!
Most of Mystic City is about Aria trying to regain her memory and piece together the parts of her lost life. Honestly, the “big mystery” and gaps in Aria’s memory became obvious pretty quickly, although Aria didn’t figure them out until the very end of the book. I guess that lack of surprise made the book a little less climactic, but it was still an enjoyable read! I wasn’t bored while I was reading, even though the outcome was obvious.
There are a lot of interesting parts of this book. It’s about so many different things: love, loss, rebellion, corruption, politics, family, betrayal, and conspiracy.. all wrapped up in one book! Crazy! Normally I’m not a huge fan of political stuff, but I was fascinated by it in Mystic City. I suppose it was interesting because we read it from the point of view of a girl who’s caught up in it and torn between two sides.
As I started writing this review, I realized that there were a lot of things in Mystic City that either weren’t explained very well, or weren’t explained at all. For example, there was a long period of time where I wasn’t sure where the book was taking place.. or ‘when’ it was taking place. Was this meant to be a pure fantasy story? I mean it’s said to take place “in the Aeries,” which is made up. And we have these magical people called “mystics.” But then suddenly we learn that the book takes place in Manhattan, and it talks a lot about global warming and such. But then where did the mystics come from? I just wasn’t sure if this book was supposed to be pure fantasy or actually take place in our world—but in the future—with some fantasy elements. As the story went on, I think I managed to piece it all together, so here’s my best guess:
Mystic City takes place in Manhattan in the future. I’m not sure how far in the future.. maybe 50-100 years? We have endured some serious global warming and much of Manhattan had to be rebuilt (into “the Aeries”). Mystics have been around since.. forever. In history, they were labeled as witches, burned at the stake, and so on. For much of history they remained in hiding and kept low profiles. But at some point, they completely came out of ‘hiding.’ They used their powers to help advance humanity, and played a huge role in building the Aeries. But eventually they were targeted and labeled as dangerous terrorists who just want to overthrow the government and take over. That led to mystics being separated from everyone else and required to “register,” which included having their powers drained twice a year.
I’m honestly not completely sure how accurate that all is, since a lot of the information is given at random times throughout the book, so I kind of had to piece it together.
There is sort of a love triangle in this book, but don’t fear, it’s not painful! In fact, it’s actually pretty fun to read about. In some ways it was similar to False Memory. Aria is stuck between the guy she thinks she’s supposed to be with, and the guy she’s actually passionately in love with. It’s not a love triangle with a girl struggling between two guys she likes. It’s a love triangle with a girl struggling between family/duty, and her own desires.
Mystic City was an intriguing story that told a terrifying tale of corruption and betrayal. How do you really know you can trust someone? The book is very enjoyable, but the one downfall is really the world-building. It was a fascinating world and there was a lot to it, but I think the explanations were a little confusing and scattered. It was hard to keep some things straight. Or maybe it was just me being terrible at absorbing information while I was reading, who knows. 😛
Theo Lawrence set a fabulous stage for the second book and I’m early anticipating it! I’m sure there’s a lot of insane political stuff to come! A war is brewing between the mystics and the non-mystics, and Aria is trapped in the middle with ties to both sides.