Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Release Date – October 9, 2012
Publisher Website –  Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained from publisher via Netgalley for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. 
Take Romeo and Juliet, add in mobsters, and some X-Men like powers and you’d have Mystic City. A unique, futuristic novel that is heavy on the romance and thrills.

The setting for Mystic City is a futuristic Manhattan. The inclusion of people who have powers, referred to as mystics, was also a nice twist. These powers are different for each mystic, but manifest in the form of an energy source that is used to power the entire city. The setting up the world, and this power was well done, and executed rather well. I could picture the setting quite easily. Both the rich splendour of Aeries and the gritty, dark Depths come to life.

I was immediately shocked at how readily these characters resorted to violence. Aria’s powerful, influential father rose to the top by using force. He regularly uses violence to get what he wants, and corruption is  plentiful among those he surrounds himself with . The “mafia” aspect to the story was the most gripping. I was immediately drawn in by these two families who want to unite against what they see as a common threat. The back stabbing, double crossing, and undercover antics all provided the novel with a sense of urgency that kept me turning the pages.

Aria spends most of the novel confused and in the dark. A large part of her memories are missing and she is desperate to remember. The unraveling of her secrets is a large part of the story. I can see not everyone liking Aria. I, however, felt she was mostly believable.  She’s very much reacting to the situation she’s been dealt. She’s confused, doesn't remember anything, and doesn't know who might be hiding things from her. She’s understandably upset and tying to just figure it all out. Her desperation at wanting to remember is tangible.

The aspect that may bother others in Aria’s character is how long it takes her to piece everything together. Long after I had pieced the twists together I was waiting for the main character to catch up. The pacing felt a little off as a result, and some parts felt drawn out longer than needed.

The romance was lacking for me, mainly because I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters. I did love that it was not presented as an instant love type of situation, but rather something very different. It made the risks seem more logical and real.

A unique premise that is made all the more real by it’s fully realized setting. The mafia aspect provides thrills, and while the romance wasn't for me, it was still engaging enough to hold my interest. Mystic City is a promising start to a new series.

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