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. Hardcover, 416 pages Published October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Four Stars: A dystopian book with strong world building and a star crossed romance.
Aria finishes her final primping. She takes a nervous breath and prepares to greet the crowd of guests waiting for her, including her fiancé, Thomas. The problem is she doesn't remember Thomas or any part of their secret courtship. Aria just awoke from a drug overdose. It seems that she carried on a hidden love affair with the son of her father's biggest political rival. Her accident exposed the secret tryst, but instead of being angry, their parents are thrilled. The marriage between the Foster and Rose families will set the foundation for an alliance between the opposing families. Aria feels certain that her memories will return once she is reunited with Thomas. Unfortunately, she feels nothing, and no matter how hard she tries she can't recall any of their clandestine meetings. Instead she sees a faceless boy in her dreams....Things don't seem to be adding up. Will Aria recover her stolen memories and learn the truth?
What I Liked:
- I loved the intricate world building. Mr. Lawrence brings us a futuristic New York City after global warming. The city is hot and flooded. The once busy streets are now canals and people travel via gondolas. The wealthy avoid the flooded depths and live above the city in the clouds. The Depths are inhabited by the second class citizens, the Mystics. The Mystics are people born with energy that allows them to wield special powers. The wealthy populace keeps the Mystics living in poverty and forces them to drain their powers. I thoroughly enjoyed the complex society and this dystopian version of New York.
- I admired Aria. She is a girl born to wealth and prestige, but after her drug overdose she begins to see things in a new light. She opens her eyes and starts to question the ideals of her family and friends. It is never easy to go against everything you have been taught as truth, but slowly Aria manages to do just that. The consequences are chilling and frightening once she learns how far her family will go to protect their status. She shows tremendous courage, and I loved that she was willing to sacrifice everything for a great love and also to do the right thing.
- I liked that this book has some vicious villains, and that you are caught off guard by sudden revelations and in the end you are completely stunned by who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. I enjoyed that this book kept me guessing. Characters show their true colors, and I was taken back by some unexpected allies.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns and big surprises in this one. Again once true motives come out and everything is revealed, things are definitely different from first impressions. If you enjoy reads with stunning revelations grab this one.
And The Not So Much:
- There was a bit of predictability in this one as far as the romance goes. It was evident from the beginning that Aria was being lied to, and I didn't believe the story she was being fed. It is clear from the first meeting who the love interest for Aria is, and I was frustrated that it took Aria so long to piece it all together. In fact, it is so obvious that I kept wondering why she couldn't see it when it was staring her right in the face.
- This book starts out strong and sucks you right in, but the middle drags a bit. It felt like it took too long for Aria to figure everything out, and grew frustrated with repeats of her and her secret lover trying to escape. Thankfully, the last third picks up speed with some big twists and the end is fast and furious.
- The ending, though not a cliffhanger, is a bit open ended and I was left wondering about the aftermath of the battle. What happened to the all the mystics and those pursuing them? How many people died? What happened to Aria's family? There are plenty of story lines to follow up on in the next book.
- I was disappointed when one of the characters is revealed to be an ally, and I didn't get all the explanations on the motivating factors behind his actions. I won't go into details to avoid spoilers.
Mystic City was a thrilling dystopian with incredible world building, a strong heroine and a Romeo and Juliet romance. It features vicious villains and some chilling revelations. This is an excellent beginning to a series and I will certainly be reading the sequel.
"But footsteps are behind me now. Voices fill my ears. Fingers dig into my arms, tearing me away."
"So I do what any girl would do when a gorgeous boy saves her life in the seedy Depths of Manhattan: I let him take me away."
"This is what I love about pictures--the ability to capture a moment in time that you can never get back."
"Hunter is everything I have ever wanted, everything I never knew I wanted until I met him. Nothing matters except us, together."
"So many people never find true love. I used to think that was a tragedy, but maybe the real tragedy is finding it---knowing it exists, knowing that another person can make you weak with a touch, make you laugh with a word. He can look at you and understand who you are."
"And that's what life is for: to love, to create, to blend, to harmonize. And to die."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.