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Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Friday, December 14, 2012
Mystic City is a dark read as a dystopian set in futuristic Manhattan where Mystics are treated like the scum of the Earth and where Aria's family is one of two big gangster families ruling the city through power and wealth accumulated from their inhuman treatment of the Mystics.

Mystic City
by by Theo Lawrence

2 Stars: Okay Read
Series: Mystic City #1
Hardback: 416 Pages
Publication: October 9, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Younger Readers

Author | Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle
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 really wanted to like this novel. Romeo and Juliet meets dystopic world with paranormal elements...? That already sounds tantalizing. Girl can't remember anything? Mysterious and intriguing. Plus, my friends all know that I have a thing for sparkles and shinies, and the cover of this book is drop-dead gorgeous. If I lived in Aria's world, I might become a collector of Stic, not for the high but just to look at the pretties.

Mystic City gave me too many details when I didn't want them and too little when I needed more. I didn't need to see Aria run down to dinner in the middle of reading notes that really weirded me out, for example. I just needed to learn more about Davida. Other times, Aria does things without explaining why she does them. There's also Hunter who tells Aria to stay far away from him and then goes and does the opposite himself. It felt as though I was reading a running commentary on the events that take place instead of living them with Aria, and it's an inconsistent commentary with Aria's mind flititng from one idea to another. I couldn't relate to her or any of the characters. They're flat and strongly rooted in good or evil. I had a hard time feeling the underlying motivation for their beliefs and actions, including the big romance of the book. While I can see why Aria would be instantly attracted to Hunter, I had a hard time believing it.

Aria is a sheltered princess. She grew up in a rich family and doesn't know how to protect herself. She goes into the Depths without thinking about what she'd do if someone jumps her--she doesn't think about the dangers. Many times, she'd be dead if there weren't people looking out for her. She's also an idealist, which isn't bad in itself, but she doesn't have the power to change things. At the end, it seems as though she's finally found her path. However, it took far too long for her to figure out everything and assert her position.

The book is recommended for fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner. However, don't get your hopes up if you liked these. There is far less action and character development in this book than you'd be expecting.

An ARC of this book was provided for review purposes by the publisher.

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8 comments on "Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence"
  1. Was this really compared to The Hunger Games? Because, um, that's pretty ridiculous! However I do get the comparisons to Matched-I feel like I had about equal enjoyment from each with the writing being a bit more to my taste in Mystic City (Crossed may have made me bitter).

    1. I'm not sure about the final copy of the book, but the Goodreads synopsis makes the comparison. I loved Matched a lot more than Mystic City. The characters were more interesting and dynamic. I haven't read the later books in the trilogy yet, but I'm hoping to get to them sometime in the near future. I've heard mixed reviews, which made me put off reading them.

  2. I fell in love with the premise to this one too but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Kinda bummed to hear about the lack of character and plot development. :(

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  3. Thanks for your honest review -- I hate when books bill themselves as comparable to other books and they are just not the same caliber

  4. This is a bit disappointing to hear. I love the cover and the premise has me hooked. I have this waiting for me to read, now I'm not so eager :/

  5. I saw your review on Goodreads, and had to fly over to your blog to comment about it. =)

    I read this one a few weeks back and I had many of the same issues as you did.
    So many books compare themselves to The Hunger Games nowadays that I figure I should've learned by now, But of course, I never...and got seduced my the cover.

    I noticed the dinner scene in the middle of letter reading as well. I don't remember her doing it in the middle of Davida's notes...but I definitely remember her eating stewed rabbit in the middle of reading those creepy sounding letters.
    Nor did I care for the romance.

    Thanks for your review! Mystic City was definitely a disappointing read (although I didn't go in with high expectations either.)

    Here's my review of Theo Lawrence's Mystic City if you're interested =):

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    1. Thanks for coming over here to comment. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know your thoughts on the book. I've seen mixed reviews, and it's good to know someone thinks the same. Looking back, I think I got the dinner scene inserted into the wrong letter reading, but I honestly wasn't trying very hard to keep things straight while reading. I wanted to hurry up and get to a good part--or finish the book, whichever came first. This was a disappointing read for me as well. I have to go into a book wary the next time it's compared to The Hunger Games as well. It's a big name to live up to.

  6. This is the first review I've read that wasn't that great about Mystic City. I was really looking forward to reading it, but now I'm hesitant. Hopefully it will appeal to me more than it did for you.


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