Thursday, 14 March 2013

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Title: Mystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Corgi
Released: October 1st 2012
Pages: 397 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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.

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 kid you not, I was on the verge of crying with happiness when I found this in my school library. When I read the synopsis on Goodreads, I just knew that I needed to get my hands on it - it's basically a dystopian Romeo and Juliet with magic and greatness and awesome and magic. It felt like the kind of novel I've spent my entire life looking for. However, it was kind of disappointing.

It had a really slow start. In the first few chapters, I was under the assumption that Aria was spoiled damsel in distress, with some creepy-ass magical dude hovering outside her bedroom window, and a fiancee that's, lets face it, a weasel. I was disappointed, and wondering if I even wanted to continue with the novel - how could I have gotten it so wrong?

But then it picked up. Different pieces of the puzzle started to slot into place, and Mystic City began to transform into the novel the blurb promised. The world  Lawrence created was genius and unique - he took the concept of Global Warming and the warnings about the future the government constantly give us, and turned it into a fantasy world with sci-fi elements. However, I couldn't manage to secure an image of what it looked like in my head. I guess I imagined the Depths as the set from the film Total Recall - but then Lawrence's descriptions totally threw me off. Nevertheless, the concept was good.

Aria wasn't the spoiled brat I'd first thought her to be - but I didn't think she was incredibly stable. Her personality was inconsistent, and I just found her very bland and uninteresting. She wasn't particularly feisty or funny or intelligent - she was just pretty, which was the only reason Hunter was interested in her in the first place. I hate it when relationships are created from superficial, stupid things, so I guess I wasn't a fan of them in the first place. But Hunter was cute - too good to be realistic, but a girl can dream - and I couldn't help but fall in love with him alongside Aria.

I suppose that would be viewed as a spoiler, but it really isn't. The book is ridiculously predictable - I knew what was going to happen right from the beginning, and believe me when I say that I don't pick up on these things so easily. It was a good story anyway, but plot twists are a nice surprise.

To be honest, I would have loved to find out more about Davida and Turk - they both seemed like characters who could have been really interesting and fun to read about, but they were just briefly scanned over, which was disappointing.

This review sounds far harsher than I intended. Despite the lack of an interesting plot and forgettable characters, it was quite good. The concept was brilliant, and I loved the bit of Shakespeare retelling thrown in here and there. I wouldn't suggest this book for fans of The Hunger Games or X-Men, because you will be disappointed. For fans of Matched, Wither, and I Am Number Four, I think this will be right up your street.
Rating: 3/5

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