Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Released date: October 9, 2012
Rating: 4.5 stars – REALLY LIKED IT!
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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. — Goodreads
A Manhattan where magic is real and true love can change the world.
In this Manhattan, also known as Mystic City, the rich and powerful live in skyscrapers called the Aeries. The poor live far below, in the squalor of the Depths, alongside magic-wielding mystics who provide the energy that keeps the city pulsing.
High in the Aeries, Aria Rose is madly in love with Thomas Foster.
Or so she’s been told.
Aria wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. She doesn’t remember carrying on a secret romance with Thomas, the son of her father’s sworn enemy, much less falling in love with him. And now she and Thomas are engaged, pledged to a union that promises to end the bitter political rivalry between their families once and for all.
Then Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic who holds the key to her past. But as she begins to unlock the dark secrets behind her memory loss, she risks losing her one true love forever.
A sweeping epic, Mystic City is full of forbidden passion, deep betrayals, and dazzling bursts of magic.
TREAD CAREFULLY. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD.
When I first read the summary I was completely captivated by the Romeo & Juliet vibe I instantly received. Plus, isn’t the cover gorgeous? I’m a sucker for beautiful covers. Anyways, my R&J speculations were dead on as I began reading. From the very beginning, Lawrence weaves his story with parallels from Shakespeare’s most popular play, Romeo & Juliet. But just as it has similarities to Shakespeare’s themes, it is also a unique and creative story ignited by the power of love.
I found the beginning hard to read – as I find most dystopian novels at first. Why? Well, I think it’s because it’s set in a different world with terminology that at first needs to be understood. After reading two chapters I set the book aside. I couldn’t read it anymore. I found it dragging and boring. But when I picked up the book again that night I found myself unable to put it down. The plot picked up, sending Aria (the main protagonist) into a journey. All she wants is to remember. She wants to remember her love for Thomas, who is the son of her father’s sworn enemy and who she has no recollection of. She wants to remember why she even took Stic (a drug infused with Mystic magic), causing her to loss her memory in the first place. As the novel progresses, she begins to have distant dreams of the past, pushing her forward on her quest.
When she meets Hunter, who is a Mystic rebel, Aria is on her way to the East side to see her fiance, Thomas. There is something familiar about Hunter, but she let’s it pass. Of course, as the reader I couldn’t help but theorize that she must have known Hunter. But he was part of the memories that she had lost. When we find out who he really is, it’s not difficult to put the puzzle pieces together. It takes Aria more time to figure it out, though. I don’t blame her, seeing as she has so many other things to worry about. Like the impending wedding to a guy she doesn’t love and the fact that her dad is practically a mobster and her mother is a selfish and cold-hearted woman. True villainous tyrants, if you ask me. They will do anything to keep their power over the city, including killing their own daughter.
Yep. That’s right.
Even though I felt like the love story was predictable in Mystic City, there were still many surprises throughout the novel. The betrayals ran deep between blood and allies, while startling secrets about character’s actual identities are revealed. Towards the end of the book there is a specific betrayal that I’m completely shocked about. I just couldn’t believe it and it seemed that that specific person could have been trusted the most. I learned a valuable lesson just by that part: NEVER TRUST ANYONE.
There’s also magic. Beautiful and unique magic, which is one of the main issues that arises in the story. Mystics aren’t to be trusted. They are to drained when they reach thirteen years because it’s when their powers are fully developed. There are some who are against the drainings. They are the rebels who live underground the city’s abandoned tunnels. The people who live in the Aeries believe them to all be evil because of a single action that a group of them committed, which we find out the validity to that story throughout the novel. I found it parallel to the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York by a handful of Muslim men and the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese. Suddenly, when a group of people that are from a different race or religion or are simply “different than the norm” all who belong to said group are condemned. Which isn’t right by any means. But it’s much like what happens to the Mystics in the novel.
If you love dystopian novels and romance you’ll definitely be a fan of Theo Lawrence’s new series. Like I said, it has loads of Romeo & Juliet parallels but Lawrence makes Shakespeare’s themes all his own, integrating them into the foundation of the story. There are also vivid comparisons to political questions and actions that truly churn your mind. It’s quite intriguing and captivating. I couldn’t stop reading until I finished because so many things kept happening that kept fueling the story. The conclusion is startling and inevitable, but filled with so much passion. I couldn’t help myself liking Aria Rose for her strength and courage. It’s definitely one of new favorite series and I absolutely cannot wait until next summer when Renegade Heart hits shelves!