Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: Mystic City (Theo Lawrence)

Mystic City (Mystic City, #1)
Title: Mystic City
Series: Mystic City, Book 1
Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Told: First Person (Aria), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (some language, drug use, sensuality, violence, minor gore)
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

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.

*          *          *

Mystic City’s premise is a common one: warring families come together over a common enemy and unite with a marriage, but one of the to-be-married falls in love with the enemy. Mr. Lawrence did a good job of creating his own spin though, even if it was highly predictable, and the story was a smooth read with realistic action.

The setting was a plausible Manhattan of the not-to-distant future, where global warming has risen the waters past the flooding point and the temperature to a barely livable level. (The characters were constantly soaked in sweat, which made me as uncomfortable as they were - good job, Mr. Lawrence.) I was always picturing the Aeries so very high and the Depths so very low and neither the two could meet, but a quick POD ride to sea level proved the elevation was all in everyone's head (including mine). While it had its updated technologies, it wasn't all that different from the present, which felt unrealistic only because in real life we are constantly promised dazzling futures completely different from our current reality. Therefore I think Mr. Lawrence probably hit a lot closer than any of us would like to admit.

Aria was a strong female character who, while totally naive, was worth rooting for. I found Hunter's personality a bit disjointed - one moment he was Mr. Serious, the next playful and laid back - but couldn't help liking him as well. Their romance was very Romeo & Juliet, but had its heartwarming moments. As for secondary characters, Hunter's friend Turk was a fun addition, and Aria's friends Kiki and Bennie were a good way to show Aria's old life and how she was changing. I built a good hatred for Aria's father and a disgust for Thomas and Aria's mother, as I was supposed to, so overall I think Mr. Lawrence did a good job in the character department.

Conclusion: While nothing spectacular, Mystic City was a smooth if predictable read with a plausible future setting and root-worthy characters. I might pick up the sequel if I see it at the library.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles


  1. Sounds like you liked this one better than I did. :\ I couldn't get into the writing and the characters fell flat for me. :( Shame, 'cuz I was super excited about it when I first saw it! But, I don't think I'll be reading any more in this series.