Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mystic City (Mystic City #1) by Theo Lawrence

  • Title: Mystic City (Mystic City Trilogy, #1)
  • Classification: Young Adult (Ages 12 and up)
  • Genre: Dystopia/Fantasy
  • Format: Hardcover, 417 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 9, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 038574160X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385741606
  • Author's Website:
  • Notes: I borrowed this one from my local library. 
  • Sexual Content: Nothing more than kissing.

'I was told that my parents found me unconscious on my bedroom floor, vibrating as if my body were filled with a thousand bees. I can't imagine how I even got hold of the pills. None of my friends use. But I must have gotten them somehow, and leave it to me to screw things up. It's so embarrassing. Rich people in the Aeries do Stic all the time. I can't believe I was so stupid--and so unlucky--that the first time I tried it I ruined everything.

I remember almost everything else, like what I ate for lunch one day last month (oysters, flown in by my dad from the West Coast) and how it affected me the next morning (two hours hugging the toilet and tossing them all up). So why can't I recall anything about Thomas?'...

'Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to fall in love. The love you see on TV or read about in books, where you find your missing half--the person you were meant to be with forever--and suddenly you're complete. That's the sort of love my parents say I share with Thomas. Why, then, when he touches me, does it merely feel like a touch? 

I thought true love would sear me.'

Aria Rose lives in a city divided between normal human beings and mystics. The humans live in the Aeries, the upper portion of the city, while the mystics live within the Depths, the lower levels. The Depths are considered "too terrible and too dangerous" for those who are not magically inclined to live. Yet once the mystics had been "lauded for helping to enhance and strengthen" the city and the two lived peacefully. Nearly two decades ago, however, a mystic-organized explosion changed everything and put fear in the hearts of those with no magical abilities and ever since the mystics have been treated as second class citizens and drained of their power twice a year to prevent a similar massacre from happening again.

Now amidst the politically charged climate of upcoming elections Aria and her fiance, Thomas, are about to unite the two most politically powerful families in the city, the Roses and the Foster. Two families who for decades considered the other to be their greatest rival and enemy. Aria's instincts tell her something isn't right, but everything else says differently. She reminds herself:

'I fought for true love, and won.
Now I just have to remember it.' 

Should she trust her instincts or her family?

This was such a great book. I truly enjoyed it. Theo Lawrence builds a world I can clearly picture in my mind. The world is suffering from the affects of a global warming. The snow and ice around the world is slowly melting causing sea levels to rise. The island of Manhattan is slowly sinking and scientists say it's only a matter of time before the city is completely submerged. The city now looks a bit like the City of Venice did before the ocean finally claimed it as it's own.   

At the beginning of the book Aria has apparently survived a drug overdose that left her with a small but major chunk of her memory gone. She starts out the book trying to recall her lost memories and trying to figure out what would cause her to do drugs. She just can't come up with any circumstances, even if she had been miserable, where she would have permitted herself to indulge in them. But her memory loss isn't the only thing she finds confusing. She can't figure out why her parent appear to be pushing for the wedding to take place sooner rather than later and why they aren't giving her more time to regain her memories before  taking the marital plunge. There are so many things she's forgotten like how she and Thomas met, their first  kiss, and his proposal. He's a stranger to her, and she wishes she could have some time alone with him, but that is not permitted. Plus, there is a mysterious boy named Hunter, a mystic, who keeps popping up at just the right time and rescuing her. Slowly, as the story progresses, Aria pieces together some of what happened during those lost days and eventually regains all her memories.

Some of my favorite lines/quotes:
- "You're like a snail. If we were in France, they'd cook you up."

- "Did you know that in the War of the Roses, giving someone a white rose was a sign of betrayal, like a warning that soon after, that person would be killed? Are you trying to tell me something?"

- 'And that's what life is for: to love, to create, to blend, to harmonize. And to die.'

I loved the mystery of what happened to Aria. I loved learning about the politically charged environment she lives in. I liked the idea of mystics, and how their power is drained and used as a power source. I additionally loved how, after all is said and done, Aria finds her purpose in life, and I can't wait to see where this series will go in the next book. Her last lines in the book, "My father was right about one thing. Manhattan is my city." make me believe we're only starting to see the real Aria and she's about to come into her own.

Overall, this one gets 5 out of 5 roses. A great story that is beautifully written which embraces the Romeo and Juliet theme in a way that makes it the author's own. There is plenty of action, drama, betrayal, and twists with a dash of romance all set in a world struggling to survive. A great first book by author Theo Lawrence. Sounds like the beginning of a promising career and series. I look forward to seeing what his talented author comes up with in the years to come. He's definitely going on my list of authors to watch.

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