Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Mystic City #1

Mystic City

Rate this book
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.

397 pages, Hardcover

First published October 9, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Theo Lawrence

6 books468 followers
THEO LAWRENCE is a graduate of Columbia University and the Juilliard School. A Presidential Scholar in the Arts for Voice, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Off-Broadway.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,211 (28%)
4 stars
3,712 (32%)
3 stars
2,865 (25%)
2 stars
1,082 (9%)
1 star
391 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,353 reviews
May 7, 2014
I’m engaged to Thomas and yet I let another boy kiss me. And I kissed him back. The worst part? He’s not even a regular boy—he’s a rebel mystic!
Oh no! Of all the people suffering in the world, all the injustice going on in the Depths of futuristic Manhattan, THIS. IS. THE. WORST. THING. EVER!

That's great. That's wonderful. Good for you, sweetie. I just don't want your sort in a sci-fi/dystopian novel. Get the fuck outta here.

This book has

1. A weak, spoiled, wealthy TSTL socialite heroine whose attempts to do good are as laughable as a pet kitten bringing me a half-eaten mouse
2. A love...tri..quadr...hexa...thingamajig
3. A poorly conceived and largely nonsensical setting
4. A love interest with stalkerish tendencies
5. A plot that's 90% romance and 10% story, with not a single bit of subtlety
6. Villains that stand around twirling their mustaches and cackling maniacally

The Summary:
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.
It's the future, in Manhattan, New York. No idea when it is, but, uh, "global warming" happened and the world (the world meaning just Manhattan) has gone to shit. Yeah. It's that kind of a premise. Suddenly we have flooding and sweltering temperature and people with magical powers called Mystics.

Aria Rose is about to have all her dreams come true. She is engaged to the son of a rival political family, Thomas Foster. Except it doesn't really feel that great. Why? She's lost all her memories.
I fought for true love, and I won.
Now I just have to remember it.
Aria remembers everything. Her family. Her friends. The time she ate all those oysters and puked her guts out. It's just surprisingly specific that the one thing she can't remember is something that should have been the most important: Thomas.


Her upcoming marriage is a brilliant one. Really, her forbidden (and forgotten) love affair couldn't have worked out any better for her family and Thomas'. The Fosters and the Roses have been at political war for years, but now, they've decided to team up against a Mystic politician who is threatening their political dynasties. It's just the most amazing coincidence ever that Aria and Thomas has decided to fall in love at the time when it's most important that the two families ally together against a common enemy. It's just such a shame that Aria can't remember a goshdarned thing!


Aria only knows something. There's a mysterious boy who makes her heart beat fast every time he's near. There's just something about him...Hunter. He's a Mystic boy, a forbidden boy who's as different from the patrician Thomas as night and day. Hunter shows up everywhere; her balcony, her room. It's just so amazing that he happens to be there every time Aria's in danger. Like when she steps over a skyscraper railing just for fun, and almost splats to death due to her own fucking stupidity.
I’ve started to bring my leg back over the railing when my other foot slips.
And just like that, I’m falling.
Ugh. Thomas is SO handsome, and SO rich, and it would be really nice to be his wife, and all her friends are, like, sooooo looking forward to their wedding.
The girls nod as if they understand. “That makes sense,” Kiki says. “Meanwhile, I still don’t have a friggin’ date to the wedding! I want some cute guy to dance with during the slow songs and make out with in the bathroom.”
“Time is tick-tick-ticking away!” Bennie says, clapping her hands together.
But it doesn't FEEL right. Thomas is, like, soooooooo cold. And Hunter, is, like, SOOOOOOOOO HOT. And then there's this pesky little thing about giving the poor downtrodden Mystics their basic human rights. Which Hunter and Aria will TOTALLY get to. Once they stop admiring each other and going to carnivals.
From here I can see the entire carnival, the colors and the lights, the Magnificent Block ignited with festivities.
“This is gorgeous,” I find myself saying.
I think I hear Hunter say You’re gorgeous under his breath."
Yeah. Once they get their minds into the game and out of each other's eyes, Hunter and Aria will change the world! How?!
“Love?” Hunter asks, his eyes wide. “Could the things you’re feeling be love?”
I gulp and nod at the same time. “I think so,” I say. “I hope so.”
“Me too,” he says. “More than anything in the world.”
Then he leans in and kisses me. Not on my forehead or cheek, but on my lips. A real kiss. A kiss that feels like it can change the world.
The Plot:
This is the first major event in eighty years that all the young Manhattan elite are attending together. Everyone will be here, regardless of allegiance—Foster or Rose, kids from both sides of the island. The plummet party at the American pales in comparison.
“Come on,” I say, shoving through a crowd of paparazzi.
Because the best way to celebrate the union of two rival houses is to PARTY PARTY PARTY.

THERE IS NO PLOT. The book SHOULD have been about Hunter and Aria working together to free the Mystics, instead, Aria spends 90% of her time going to parties, thinking about Hunter, hating her parents, thinking about Hunter, going to parties, wondering what's up with her memory loss, talking to her BFFs, thinking about Hunter, wondering what's the big deal with Thomas, going to parties, and thinking about Hunter some more.

The Setting:
The heat, they say, is because of the global climate crisis, the melting of snow and ice around the world and the rising sea level that swallowed Antarctica and all of Oceania. Global warming is also to blame for the canals...filling what used to be low avenues and streets with seawater.
Welcome to another "global warming" dystopian premise! With magic!

It's the future! We don't know how fucking far in the future it is, but it's gotta be pretty fucking far in the future in order for global warming to get to such an extent to almost immerse Manhattan in water. The upper classes live in the Aerie, high-rise structures, while the lower classes live in the Depths, where crumbling buildings and shit falls on them all the fucking time. We now use gondolas to get around, and for some fucking reason, the subways still exist, but unused and sealed, but aren't flooded, since people still use them as hiding places...but why aren't they flooded, since they're underground? How did the waters recede in the tunnels, anyway?
I glance around at what must have been a waiting area for people to board the subway. The ground is slick with grime and eroded from where, at one point, it must have been completely flooded.
Ah, logic. Fuck logic. Who needs logic anyway.

So in this magical, mystical future, we have technology that can specifically erase memories, but there's a surprisingly lack of technological advancements. Hell, it's like...the 21st century! We have iPod-like music players, we have an iPhone-like device called a "TouchMe." People still text and tweet in the future (Twitter will be happy to know they're not dying out any time soon).
“That stays between us, though. Okay? Don’t go texting it or tweeting or whatever it is you kids do.”
We're still struggling to make paper records electronic.
The stack of manila envelopes on my desk has piled so high I fear it will topple over. Mental note: Get on those. They’re copies of the draining reports from over ten years ago, before everything was streamlined electronically.
It's not like we're not doing that RIGHT NOW OR ANYTHING.

What the fuck kind of a future is this? Chanel still exists. It's too hot, if you step outside, you're practically boiled, but people still take vacation to Bali. Despite sea levels, people still seem to be able to eat the same kinds of delicacy, including seafood and oysters and stuff that might be impossible to get if the seas and the temperatures heat up? This book's premise is a mess.

The X-MEN:
“Some mystics can take on the glamour of someone else,” Hunter says, navigating a flight of stone steps. “So you can look like a different person. But eventually it wears off. Other mystics can use their energy to affect the weather, or even the air surrounding them.” He waits for me to catch up. “I know a girl who can spin a tornado out of thin air,” he says, “and someone who can start a fire”—he snaps his fingers—“like that.”
The Mystics in this book are fucking dumb. Supposedly they've existed all along, as witches persecuted for their crimes, and came forth to help the US during WWII. After which, they became DANGEROUS AND ENSLAVED AND DRAINED. Wut. Fucking really?

Ok, first of all, these Mystics are completely normal-looking. They're not X-Men mutants. They are humans with powers. They're just...hotter than others. They feel hot to the touch. And THAT'S why they were caught? Why can't they just fucking stay hidden? If they've been so fucking good at hiding in the past, why can't they just do it again now?
“Pretending to be something you’re not sucks the life out of you. Even worse than the drainings.”
Are you fucking kidding me? You'd prefer to be almost enslaved, your powers drained, rather than HIIIIIIIIIIDE YO'SELF? What kind of a stupid reason is that?

Some of these Mystics have pretty fucking amazing powers. Why can't they just, like, get the fuck out of there? Seriously, emigrate to another country or something. Be Free like Willy. Some, not all, have powers that can make them look like someone else (glamour), they can control the weather, they can manipulate fire, they can walk through walls.


It was Hunter. He’s saved me twice in two nights.

I can't even count the number of times Aria got her ass saved. She's so fucking Too-Stupid-To-Live that it's unbelievable. Here you have a pampered girl, one who is a celebrity, recognizable everywhere she goes. She's got the street smarts of a dwarf rabbit, and she's sneaking around ALL OVER THE FUCKING SLUMS, and is OH SO SHOCKED whenever she gets caught (which is repeatedly).
“Please,” I say.
He licks his lips with his thick, wet tongue. “Please what?”
“Please don’t hurt me.”
I close my eyes, willing the pain to stop. I am going to die here. I am going to die for my stupidity.
Aria is passive, to be fair, she can't DO anything because of who she is. Aria is a spoiled-poor-little-rich-girl without an ounce of common sense. it's not her fault that she was raised to be a smiling and brainless socialite, but I can and will hate her because I want a stronger character than that.

Aria doesn't DO anything. She doesn't need to work, so she halfheartedly holds a job at a local politician's office. Her days are filled with nothing but shopping and friends and parties (and thinking about how her life sucks). Her nights are filled with sneaking out to see Tyler. She can't even plan her own wedding, all Aria does is whine and sigh over how life is soooooooooooooo HORRIBLE.

The Romance:
“Are you spying on me?”
“Spying has such a dirty connotation,” Hunter says, running one of his hands up my back. “How about keeping watch?”
Oh, here we go again, a boy who's a stalker, but it's ok if he's stalking her if he's just looking out for her safety. He shows up in her bedroom. He's there whenever she's hurt. He's there when he shouldn't be. He's not who he seems (remember, Mystics can wear other people's faces). Hunter shouldn't be trusted, but the heroine seems to feel that it's ok to trust him anyway!
Something about him—his easy attitude, perhaps, or the way he looks at me—makes me feel I can trust him.
As for the romance: A is engaged to B (who is fucking C) while secretly in love with D (but shouldn't be) because D is secretly engaged to E, who graciously sacrifices everything because she loves both A and D.

Profile Image for Lilian.
84 reviews73 followers
May 31, 2013
I need to stop being lured in by blurbs that mention The Hunger Games and sparkly covers (though it is one of most enchanting covers I've seen in a while.) A much more accurate blurb would be: a Romeo and Juliet retelling with magical people who are nowhere as cool as X-men. I didn't go into this book with high expectations, but I was expecting a lot more action (that wasn't made up of aimless running around) and a lot less love proclamations. In the end, I couldn't get past the extremely predictable plot, flat characters, and the main character's stupidity.

This Couple Has OCD Issues:
On two occasions, Aria finds these secretive letters in her house, then instead of stuffing them in her pocket or locking doors before anyone sees her reading them, SHE ORGANIZES THEM BY DATE. WHUT?
Aria's lover, Hunter, isn't much better. When Aria and Hunter have minutes before the vicious, armed bodyguards barge into the room where they are having their secret rendezvous, instead of escaping, they proceed to sit around and talk...and talk...and talk some more. And then Hunter cleans up vomit. Y U NO RUN AWAY OR DEVISE SOME PLAN? They get caught. All because they were too busy talking and cleaning up vomit. *facepalm*

Extraneous Writing:
I often wonder if Lawrence forgot to remove his notes from the story since I kept coming across these jarring, filler moments.
On one occasion, Lawrence dedicates an entire paragraph to telling us how Aria takes a bunch of clothes into her room, take the letters from her missing friend's clothes, then runs back to put the clothes back. Ummmm, girl, you could've just kept the clothes in your room and said you wanted to keep some clothes in memory of your friend...or you could even say the clothes would be a great addition to your closet instead of running back and forth between rooms suspiciously. I get it, you found these top-secret letters, NOW TELL ME WHAT THEY SAY. I don't care about the itty bitty details about you covering your tracks.

On the other hand, she reads these secret letters she finds...then she eats dinner for a few paragraphs, then goes back to reading letters. No idea why that dinner scene had to be there unless eating stewed rabbit was a major turning point.

Flat Characters:
This was the main fault of Mystic City. I just wasn't compelled by the main characters, who were all conveniently "gorgeous." (Gorgeous must be Lawrence's favorite word.) Lawrence is much more concerned with describing clothes than people (you'd be surprised how many times he talks about flowing dresses and stylish clothes). There are no shades of gray in this story; all the "evil" people were all irrevocably evil, or suspiciously treacly. Everyone in this story LOVES to over-react and be drama queens. And Aria was the most gullible person ever, she never came to her own conclusions, instead she listened to people around her for confirmation. The only character I felt mild interest to was Davida, Aria's servant, and would've preferred the story from her point of view.

They Also Don't Know How To Write Letters.
Aria happens to find these love letters in her room which sound like they are written by an insecure, over-dramatic creep. The most hilarious one reads:
I have nothing to say tonight but thank you.

If you have nothing to say, why are you writing a letter??

Or the letters are so blatantly unnatural that they made me wince. On another note, if you want to keep your letters a secret, you should burn them. If your friend can find them in less than five minutes, you probably weren't doing a good enough job hiding them.

Anyone would have guessed what happened to Aria in the first few chapters. The most frustrating part was how long it took for Aria to figure it out. Part of it was because the story is in first-person, so she's giving us all these hints that something is awry, but ironically, she's still completely oblivious. The plot twists were once again VERY PREDICTABLE. The foreshadowing basically handed us everything on a sliver platter (from who were the evil people and what those mysterious gloves are capable of.)

With X-Men, Bey Blade, and The Hunger Games in the blurb, I was expecting ACTION. And while stuff happened, it was mostly Aria running around aimlessly in dark alleys, trying to find clues to her past, but still ending up clueless...then SHE GOES TO WORK where she serves coffee and arranges files in a cubicle. *yawn* She doesn't need a job, she needs to get to school so she can learn some critical thinking.

Finally in the last few chapters, I get the action I wanted...except it suddenly turned into a bloodbath with decapitated people and body parts slewed around. Well that was unexpected, especially when the story was lovey-dovey up until that point.

Lawrence avoids "instalove" by maintaining the couple had a history before Aria's memory loss...but it just felt unconvincing.

Book Trailer:
One of the cheesiest things I've ever watched. Why do both guys have douchebag hair? And why do none of them look like teenagers?

Although I felt the story was lacking, the world-building is lovely (and maybe that cover had something to do with it.) A mystical city amongst the clouds--that's some lovely stuff.

Not sure if I'm having bad luck or I've turned into a nitpicker, but I've been on a roll with mehhhhh reads lately. If you want a sweet romance about a girl getting amnesia and waking up to a perfect life, read Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me instead. I don't know if I will be picking up the sequel next year; while I am mildly curious about the story, I just don't care about these flat characters.

Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
708 reviews1,969 followers
November 6, 2018
Everyone around me is applauding wildly, overjoyed by how quickly something can disappear. Am I the only one who wishes things could come back?

Meh. This could have been better and the potential was all there.
The book begins with a really impactful prologue that made my jaw drop, only to completely change direction when the story acrually started. Theo Lawrence can write if he wants to and that prologue proves it. Unfortunately for him, the weak rest of the book also proves that his writing, despite having its peaks, lacks continuity and consistency on the long run.
I think the setting is the only thing I have nothing to say about. I liked this new New York, and the Mystic caste system could have been developed more, but it was still easy to read and learn about so I'm not complaining.
There also were some seriously surprising moments that gave me hope, even if just for a second, that the book was finally going somewhere. Alas, it didn't last long, but it proves once again that TJ's talent exists, it only wasn't the right story to prove it with.
The plot is rather interesting if you don't take the self-indulgent romance part into account, or if you put aside the many and many plot holes (I fervently hope that all the things left unanswered in this book, will receive an explanation in book 2, because otherwise we're all doomed), but the characters are really dull and scripted.
The main character Aria is the one that irked me up the most. Seriously, how immature and ignorant do you have to be to make it all about your cheesy insta-love, when people are dying and/or in danger because of your family? Also, I get it that for the sake of maintaining a bit of mystery you have to make your protagonist (and reader) clueless to what's happening around them, but Aria was just plain blind, and also a little shallow if I'm allowed to speak in behalf of her judgy temperament.
Hunter, on the other hand, is a nice guy who tries too hard to be tough and probably hasn't overcome his edwardcullen-like stalkerish phase, but I didn't mind him as much as I did the others. I found him a little too sappy, though. Those love letters.
Omg, so cringey.

Oh, I also really love that cover. It's what brought me to this book at first and, even if it wasn't a complete success after all, I'm glad I have this beauty to look at when I need something pretty to lay my eyes upon.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,370 reviews920 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 17, 2012
DNF - No rating

Boring and predictable and I have far better books to be spending my time reading.
Insta-love and love triangles... I've developed a zero tolerance policy and I can't stand for the bullshit.
I tried! But no. Just... sorry, but no.
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
772 reviews512 followers
August 12, 2012
I would shelve Theo Lawrence’s young adult debut Mystic City as Futuristic Romantasy, if I had to be precise. It takes place in a future, but alternative version of Manhattan. The plot relies heavily on its fantastic elements, namely on the existence of Mystics, who are people who have magic, which is used as energy, as the stuff which makes skyscrapers float high above the flooded landscape with its crumbling, moldy buildings, and as the basic ingredient of a wonder drug called Stic. And the story definitely concentrates more on the stormy and unquenchable forbidden romance between the offspring of bitter, political adversaries than on the glitzy-glossy Mafiosi mystery. That tendency was more transparent in the novel's working title, which had been "Your Heart Like Quicksilver". Like every other futuristic publication aimed at teenagers, Mystic City comes pitched with a comparison to The Hunger Games, which seems to be obligatory these days – plot and setting nonwithstanding – and which nobody takes seriously anymore. My pitch would have been "A cross between Gossip Girl, Blue Bloods and Exodus".

I’ve rated Mystic City three stars, which means, I enjoyed reading it, all in all. There has been a lot of eye-rolling, a lot of 'Yes-Buts' and a lot of "Do-You-Think-I-Am-Dense", which I will explain shortly, but the heroine was thoroughly likable and brave, the hero attractive, super-powered and mysterious, the romance – although instantly there and super-kitschy – pretty romantic, the villains villainous, the action plenty and rapid and the world-building – although unbelievable – vividly painted in rich, sparkling detail and rather creative - although I was a tiny bit disappointed about the lack of progress in communication technology: Mobiles are called TouchMe, MP3-players AMuseMe and people still use Short Message Services and E-Mail. However, my inner eye has been able to pull-up scene after scene and my mind has been sufficiently entertained and managed to stay on track until the book ended – on a half-cliffie.

I do not want to gloss over the two major bothersome things I have hinted at:

A) The predictability. I hate it, really hate it, when I am constantly quicker at grabbing the loose ends than the mystery-solving main character is, because everything is more or less obvious but continuously gets ignored by her, when I have to impatiently look behind me screaming “Come on girl, switch on your brains, morron. You’ve almost said it yourself a minute ago.” I had to wait until past the 50% mark for Aria Rose – who is not meant to be helpless Miss Clueless - to finally catch up and get a whiff. And even then it took her a long time to put the missing pieces of the jigsaw into the right places.

B) The sloppiness. I think the author chose the easy road by integrating magic as a ecologic and economic factor into his or her post-melted-polar-ice-caps era tale. But that is perfectly acceptable. What did peeve me was that apart from some water in the streets and rather warm air the climate catastrophe does not seem to have changed the weather or the living conditions in a noticeable way. Aria’s parents suggest that she goes to Bali on her honeymoon trip, which had me thinking if much of Bali would be inhabitable then. Aria confesses to Hunter that she never saw a real tree or even grass before, which had me thinking where all the fruits on the Rose family’s table came from and how the air is still breathable. And finally, Manhattan. Manhattan’s buildings are standing 30 feet deep in water and the governors detonate unsafe buildings in regular intervals – upper-class people watch the destruction of houses like fireworks, champagne in hand. But the rebellion’s headquarters are below ground in abandoned Metro stations, where individuals have converted old vehicles into homes. How can that be? If living in the lowest floors of street level houses isn’t possible anymore, all Metro stations should to have turned into slimy, concrete-lined aquariums, too!

I am not sure if I want to read the sequel, but I can say I had a rather good time tinted with a bit frustration and a little “Don’t-kid-me-and-don’t-shit-me”-vibe. And I really love that cover. The skyline, the darkness and the rich, delicate girl. It fits.
Profile Image for Amelie.
Author 11 books566 followers
February 1, 2017

Ja, was soll man dazu sagen außer PERFEKT?! Selbst der typisch deutsche Beititel macht wirklich SINN und ich bin einfach nur noch immer total begeistert von diesem Cover mit Aria und Manhatten im Hintergrund.


Meine Erwartungen waren hoch. Eigentlich zu hoch, wenn man bedenkt wie häufig ein schönes Cover und eine schöne Kurzbeschreibung auch das einzig schöne sind, das ein Buch besitzt. Und dieses Buch hier wollte ich von dem Augenblick an haben, als ich Cover und Kurzbeschreibung zum ersten Mal (übrigens die der englischen Version) gesehen habe. Aber Mystic City hat meine hohen Erwartungen nicht nur erfüllt, nein sie wurden übertroffen.
Diese Geschichte lebt und atmet durch das einzigartige Setting der Handlung. Ein Manhatten der Zukunft, in dem sich die reiche "normale" Gesellschaft in die so genannten Horte, riesige, glamouröse Orte hoch oben in den Wolkenkratzern, zurückgezogen hat. Die arme Bevölkerung jedoch, vor allem die magiebegabten Mystiker leben im unteren Teil der Stadt. Durch den mittlerweile sehr hohen Wasserspiegel, erinnert die Stadt jetzt aber eher an Venedig als an Manhatten, da man die meisten Orte nur noch über Gondoliere erreichen kann.
Aria ist die Tochter der Roses und steht damit von Geburt an im Rampenlicht. Nach einer Überdosis der magischen Droge, die in der Stadt kursiert, hat sie einen Teil ihres Gedächtnisses verloren und erinnert sich daher nicht mehr an ihre heimliche Liebe zu Thomas, dem Sohn der verfeindeten Fosters. Genauso wenig erinnert sie sich daran, dass die Liebe der beiden bekannt wurde, sie sich verlobt haben und ihre Familien daraufhin beschlossen haben, das Kriegsbeil zu begraben und gemeinsam gegen die neue Mystiker Kandidatin auf das Präsidentenamt in den Wahlkampf zu ziehen. Aria wird dabei erst nach und nach klar, dass etwas an der Geschichte einfach nicht zusammen passen will. Und dann taucht auch noch Hunter auf und verdreht ihr gehörig den Kopf.
Eine unglaubliche Kulisse gepaart mit einer Verschwörung, einer Menge Magie und einer verbotenen Liebe, die selbst Romeo und Julia hätte erbleichen lassen. Dabei sind die Charaktere wirklich sympathisch, besonders natürlich Aria und Hunter. Ich mochte es, dass sie beide wirklich starke, handlungstragende Persönlichkeiten sind, die sich nicht so leicht einschüchtern lassen. Die Art und Weise wie sie sich ineinander verlieben hat mir sehr gefallen.
Auch ist das Buch quasi durchweg spannend. Besonders, da es recht weit in der Geschichte einsetzt. Mit der Verlobungsfeier von Aria und Thomas und nicht damit, dass Aria ohne ihr Gedächtnis erwacht. Danach ist es eine einzige Schnitzeljagd, deren Ziel es ist, dass Aria sich endlich erinnern kann. Die Spannung krönte dann in der finalen Schlacht, bei der man niemandem trauen kann und vor allem niemand sicher ist. Denn im Krieg und in der Liebe ist alles erlaubt...


Schreibstil: 4,5 Sterne
Charaktere: 4,5 Sterne
Emotionale Tiefe: 4 Sterne
Spannung: 4,5 Sterne
Humor: 3,5 Sterne
Originalität: 4,5 Sterne

Man sollte es kaum meinen, aber diese fantastische, atemberaubende und mitreißende Geschichte wird selbst diesem wundervollen Cover gerecht. Ein Setting und eine Idee von der man nur träumen kann. Eine sehr gelungene Kombination aus Dystopie und Fantasy! Oh, Toxic Heart, warum bist du noch so fern?

4,5 Sterne!
Profile Image for Emmeline Kazan.
4 reviews12 followers
February 23, 2017
Amnesia. Tragedy. Tampered memories. Political ruses. Controlling and manipulative parents who treat their daughter as an asset to be traded to the most profitable buyer.

This book is... interesting? Not really in terms of the plot itself, but more the author's goals. Lawrence was attempting to create an original plot by twisting the storyline all over the place. And an alarming majority of these twists were extremely predictable, and foreshadowing was prevalent throughout the ENTIRE book.

Lack of emotion was a frustrating approach that had been (intentionally? unintentionally???) taken by Lawrence, though for a reason I cannot fathom. If the narrative voice is going to be that of a female teenager's, perhaps she should have slightly more exaggerated feelings than that of a brick's.

She had indifferently told a lie, which had resulted in and she had no compunction for this whatsoever. The meagre few sentences of her laughable dismay and guilt over this occurrence were unsatisfying. This event was an opportunity for Lawrence to truly showcase Aria's personality and give readers an insight to how she could cope with feelings of guilt or even rage, and he had missed the mark.

Throughout the course of this book, more significantly towards the end, Aria literally says how she feels ALL. THE. TIME.

"I always thought true love would sear me. Well, here I am—on fire, ablaze with love: my chest feels like it’s been broken open, my heart about to be ripped out and crushed."


Beautiful, really. The emotion conveyed in those two sentences is the absolute highest standard of feelings in this book. But that's it. That's where it ends.

And of course, HOW did she fall in love? Because I do not remember reading about her falling into love, and/or of her gradual progression. Instead, the first time I read of her feelings was when she admitted to Davida that she 'hoped what she was feeling was love'.

Ummm. Excuse me, missy. How in hell did this happen? One second you are debating whether or not to trust him. Then you find yourself thinking about him. And then you assume what you feel for him in the span of days (!!!) is LOVE.


Back up. What???

This entire love story was flat, and we only learn of her sudden feelings during DIALOGUE. The advantage of writing a book in first person narration is that insight can easily be offered into the functioning of a character. Lawrence could have easily added in a couple extra sentences of Aria admiring her love interest, or her missing him when they are apart and emphasising on this often.

The romance felt rushed, and had it not even been there, the story would still have been as good as it is with it present. It literally made no difference. MY ALTERNATE IDEA:

Character development also needed some work. I was not quite sure what to make of characters like Davida, Thomas, Kiki, Bennie and Turk. Though they were more or less background characters, they were people. People have lives, and issues and families, though none of these were communicated throughout the book. It was as though Aria only recounted what was relevant, and this adds an ignorant quality to her personality. Background information, despite irrelevance, is used to add depth and detail into how we interpret these characters and their impact on our protagonist. This information also cushions the action and plot by giving the readers further insight into the workings of society in such a different world to the one we live in. Lawrence could have played on this more to get readers to question our own world, too.

The plot, as aforementioned, was twisty and sometimes didn't flow or make sense because the storyline, much like the romance, felt rushed. However, the ideas explored were intriguing and original. For example, when Aria, Kiki and Bennie are at the Plummet Party, Aria comments on how they view the destruction as beautiful from a distance, and she questions whether she would think the same had she been standing at the site of demolition. This idea of 'beauty from a distance' piques interest and curiosity to this phenomenon and adds a much-needed philosophical element into this book.

Overall, the book had a decent foundation in terms of plot ideas, but needed work on the furnishings i.e. characters details, emotional depth, etc.
Profile Image for Bookish Pengu.
378 reviews164 followers
July 31, 2016
Ich habe dieses Buch verschlungen. Immer wenn ich im Championselect, im Loadingscreen oder sonst wo warten musste & natürlich wenn ich nicht am PC war. Jetzt kann ich endlich Essen :DD
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews545 followers
September 11, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A girl tries to move on with her life after losing her memory, but moving on means being a puppet in a political race with her parents.

Opening Sentence: The party has begun without me.

The Review:

Aria knows she loves Thomas Foster. At least that’s what everyone is telling her. Loving someone with no memory of ever meeting them can be pretty tough, even if she does have flashes of memories — sneaking out late at night, meeting in the ghetto area of the Depths, secret kisses… But then she meets Hunter, a rebel mystic that makes her forget her forgetfulness and the stress that comes with it. With a rising rebellion over the horizon and a mystic political candidate that could change life in New York for the worst, Aria has to decide which side she’s on — and which side she believes most. Should she let her parents use her as a political puppet to win the election? Or should she follow her heart — even if she doesn’t remember who she gave it to? This has the forbidden romance of Ally Condie’s Matched, adventure and mystery of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush and twisty plot of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe all rolled into one.

Mystics are outcasts — the ones who have the lower jobs and are never to be trusted. Yet at one time they helped build the city that is practically floating on stilts. But they became feared and thus the feuding Rose and Foster families took it into their hands to fix the mystic problems. So mystics are required to be drained of their power twice a year, leaving them as shells of their old self. But a rebellion is brewing of undrained mystics and even a union between a Rose and a Foster might not distract the citizens.

I think I’ve found my new favorite series. Imagine Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick as the first book in the series and you’ve pretty much got Mystic City in a nutshell. We don’t know Aria’s past and we don’t know about the dystopian world of Mystics and Aeries. Lawrence weaves an intriguing mystery full of action and suspense and pretty much everything you want in a YA dystopian book.

Hunter…oh my. He’s charming, sweet, and can knock a girl off her feet if he really tried. But he has his own secrets and obstacles to overcome. He thinks he’s doing the right thing by staying away from Aria, keeping her from danger and letting her live her life of high-end, classy materials. He’s strong not just physically but also mentally for having to endure the trials (sorry for being vague–can’t spoil the story!).

There were multiple consistency problems but that’s due to it being an ARC…but the fabulous writing and unpredictable plot makes up for it. The entire cast of characters are great in themselves, but I thought some of the minor characters could have been mentioned earlier in the story. Manhattan as a dystopian city is absolutely beautiful and can (and will) steal your breath away. Overall this has great potential and Lawrence will definitely be on my “debut-author-to-be-watched” list. I can’t wait until the next installment! (But first I got to wait for this book to come out…)

Notable Scene:

So little time is left.

“Take this.” He folds the locket into my hand. It throbs as if it has a pulse, giving off a faint white glow. “I’m sorry for putting you in danger.”

“I would do it all again,” I tell him. “A thousand times.”

He kisses me, softly at first, and then so fiercely I can hardly breathe. Rain falls, soaking us, splashing into the canals that twist through the hot, dark city. His chest heaves against mine. The sound of sirens–and gunshots–reverberates between the crumbling, waterlogged buildings.

My family is drawing closer.

“Go, Aria,” he pleads. “Before they get here.”

But footsteps are behind me now. Voices fill my ears. Fingers dig into my arms, tearing me away.

“I love you,” he says gently.

And then they take him. I scream in defiance, but it is too late.

My father emerges from the shadows. He aims the wicked barrel of his pistol at my head.

Inside me, something bursts.

I always knew this story would break my heart.

FTC Advisory: Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Random House provided me with a copy of Mystic City. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Denise.
533 reviews
November 5, 2017
3.5 - 4 ⭐ (ich kann mich nicht entscheiden 😂)

Ich habe diese Reihe bei Thalia für 5.99 € pro Band gekauft 😁. Keine Ahnung, ob ich die Bücher sonst gekauft hätte, aber bisher bereue ich es nicht 🤓🙊.

Meine Meinung
Ehrlich gesagt hatte ich eine reine Fantasy Geschichte erwartet, aber ich würde Mystic City eher als Dystopie mit Urban Fantasy Elementen einstufen.

Mit dem Einstieg hatte ich so meine Probleme, da erstmal nicht viel geschieht. Die Protagonistin Aria hat einen Teil ihrer Erinnerungen verloren und weiß nicht mal wie sie mit ihrem Verlobten umgehen soll, da sie keine Ahnung hat wie sie sich kennen-und lieben gelernt haben. Nachdem ihr Vater einer der mächtigsten Männer der Stadt ist, steht sie im Rampenlicht und muss so tun, als wäre alles in Ordnung.
Es ist mir anfangs etwas schwer gefallen sie einzuschätzen, da sie doch noch recht verwirrt war, aber nach und nach wird sie sympathischer.

Hunter bleibt während dieses Buches eher geheimnisvoll und man kann kaum einen Bezug zu ihm aufbauen. Das wird sich aber vermutlich spätestens in Band 2 ändern 😁.

Wie bereits erwähnt geht die Handlung sehr langsam los und gerade die ersten 200-300 Seiten waren sehr vorhersehbar, aber trotzdem gut. Danach wird es allerdings spannender und auch wenn größere Überraschungen ausbleiben, konnte mich das Buch trotzdem mitreißen.

Ein guter - aber vorhersehbarer - Einstieg in die Trilogie 😚.
Profile Image for Justine.
446 reviews593 followers
July 2, 2015
J'ai trouvé le concept très intéressant et j'ai beaucoup aimé l'univers. Aria est un personnage assez charismatique, assez kick-ass - ce que j'apprécie - et Hunter, même s'il ne m'a pas fait tant d'effet - était pas mal dans son genre.
Simplement, ça manquait cruellement de punch pour moi et c'était long. Si l'histoire avait faire 70 pages de moins, je pense que l'on se serait concentré sur le principal et ça m'aurait sûrement captivée davantage.
Mais ça reste une bonne lecture et la fin du tome 1 m'a vraiment donné envie de lire la suite !
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
December 28, 2012
3.5 stars

Mystic City has just about everything one would enjoy in an escape. It's has a quaint Romeo and Juliet story line, a political background, a sci-fi flare and magic laced in every page. Add conspiracy, betrayal, true love and tainted memory lost and how could you go wrong?

Theo Lawrence pens a brilliant imaginative and creative world. It's set in a futuristic Manhattan and there are two kinds of people. One are the Mystics who have special powers and forces of energy. They are meant to be dangerous and a nuisance to the Non-Mystic folks. Aria Rose just happens to be the daughter of a very important political family. She is the key to bringing peace to their country by joining two rival families together through marriage...but only if she doesn't remember enough of who she really loves.

I loved the idea that Theo Lawrence introduced. Always was a sucker for amnesia type books and this one had a really great twist. I also loved the magic in this. It truly did give a mystical feel to the whole story-line giving it an enchanting glow. And while politics usually leaves me cold, it was easy to understand and go along with. Even the romance was sweet in it's own way.
So why only three stars you might wonder? I'm thinking it has to do with the pacing and the fact that it just was way to predictable. The flow of the book felt a tad off. We start off with Aria at her engagement party but she doesn't remember who her fiance is or feel the love she's suppose to have for him. Then almost in the same breath she's saved from someone who she feels instantly connected too. It felt to fast to give out such important facts right from the start. Invading any real mystery from then on.
It also wasn't hard to guess the intentions of the characters. Who was bad, who was good and the why's of the situation. Making it feel somewhat lacking.

However, I did enjoy all the characters. I felt badly for Aria. She's been used and betrayed through out the entire story and yet she has quite a fiery determination about her that you just have to respect.
Hunter is the kind of character that's funny and sweet and playful. Someone you can feel like you can trust right away but you also know that there is more to him.
The romance wasn't over the top in this book, but it still had it's moments where I couldn't help but sigh.
Also, I'm not sure why, but I felt badly for Thomas, even though he was partly at fault, he wasn't a bad guy and I'm not sure he deserved what he got.

With that said, all in all, I still enjoyed this story. It may not be a favorite, but I still think it was a fascinating read. The writing is good, the characters are likable and the plot was intriguing. Lawrence brings something shinny and bright into the world of dystopian reads. The ending actually has me curious enough to want to know what happens next, so I may have to pick up the next book;Renegade Heart

This review and more can be seen at; WinterHaven Books!

winter haven books
Profile Image for Katy.
611 reviews333 followers
October 7, 2012
This book had such an interesting premise, and I was really looking forward to it, but overall, it was disappointingly just okay.

Predictable - Sadly, I was able to guess what was going to happen after reading the first couple of chapters. I mean, yes, I had an idea from the summary, but this book did not have any twists or turns or any surprises with one exception - the kiss did make me think "WTH," but that was it. I guessed what was really going on, the whole romance thing, who was related to who, and whose side each character was on (so no, the revealing of the spies did not surprise me either).

Fuzzy World Building - I really liked that Lawrence started to establish a concept of the world of mystics, the magic and the levels of sociology and even where the lived. BUT it was just the initial set up. The world was sci-fi-ish, but I had a really hard time picturing everything - how the world was set up, how people got around other than walk, what Aeries looks like, what the Mystics' underground or whatever looked like.

Lack of Building on Magic - Lawrence had so much he could have done on with the concept of magic, but it he never really built on it. It was just thrown in and accepted like it was always a part of history, and other than the little anecdote about Hunter's grandfather and mother, there wasn't much on how mystics contributed to the world and why they were not accepted into society other than people were afraid of their power. And the powers themselves? They were pretty lame, and their users did not do much with them - other than the ultimate traitor.

Unimpressive characters - The characters in this book were just okay, and honestly, they're very forgettable. Aria was kind of bland. I'm sure she was meant to be a rebellious, feisty character, but she really didn't do much other than show a little fight near the end. Hunter was kind of sappy, and I'm disappointed he wasn't built to be more of a swoony-worthy character.

I was unattached to any of the side characters. I really wanted to know more about Kyle, who was supposed to be such a good brother; or Kiki and Bennie, who was supposedly Aria's really good friends; or even Turk, who would have been a really fun character to get to know. Lawrence did show us a glimpse of Davida, but it was so quick, and I think she would have been a really, really strong supporting character.

Overall, I don't think this book was a bad book, per se. It's just that for a 416-paged book, I just felt a lot of it was a brief gloss-over, and I had just expected it to be more attached to the story, the characters and the world.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
881 reviews251 followers
July 26, 2015
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile, so I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found this book and it's sequel at my local used bookstore! Overall, this book did not disappoint!

This book take place in a futuristic/dystopian New York City. There are two ruling families, the Roses and the Fosters, and everyone in the city has to choose sides between them. Aria has just 'recovered' after ODing off of Stix (a drug) and is now to marry Thomas Foster, whom she supposedly loves and had a great affair with. The problem is that she has no memory of being with Thomas and has no love for him. She ends of meeting Hunter, a mysterious illegal mystic (has magical abilities). She knows that with he she will be able to recall her memories, but what she will unlock will change everything.

This entire plot was just so interesting! I like the whole idea behind the two families and the mystics. It's horrible how they treat the mystics, they drain their powers, but I thought the idea of adding magical elements to a dystopian society very unique. This book has the common theme of everything I was told is a lie, but it's so well done. The element of memory loss is not something you see entirely too often with that idea either.

As for plot,some parts of this book were very predictable. I was able to figure most of the plot early on, though I won't hate on Aria for taking so long to figure things out, as it probably comes from reading so many dystopian novels. Even though, I still very thrown by a few plot twists near the end! The pacing of the book was also fast-paced. You wouldn't expect that with a book featuring memory loss, but there were always things happening and Aria did not just wait around for her memories to come back!

The romance was very different, in some ways. It seems like there would be a love triangle in this book, but there really isn't, since Aria doesn't really love one of them. If you are one of those people who avoids books with two guy names in the synopsis, expecting the dreaded triangle, you'll be safe reading this book! As for everything else in the romance, I liked it, though it didn't wow me.

This is a great read with a very interesting premise and it's done very well! It's a bit predictable at times, but I didn't let that stop my enjoyment of the book and there were still some surprises along the way! I recommend this book to those who would like to read a dystopian with a hint of fantasy, meanwhile, I'll be reading the next book!
Profile Image for Svenja.
884 reviews53 followers
January 12, 2017
Auch beim zweiten Mal lesen, hat mir das Buch echt gut gefallen.

Ich mag diese dystopische, paranormale Romeo und Julia Geschichte.

Das Setting ist auch klasse. Bin auf Teil 2 gespannt.
Profile Image for Serap.
679 reviews69 followers
December 21, 2019
Orta kısımda bir kaç bölümde saçmaladı, dili de bence kitap için negatifti yine de sevdim büyük kısmını zevkle okudum keşke ikinci kitap çıkmış olsaydı, mutlaka okurdum😍bu arada ikinci kitap çevrilmemiş ve yazar üçüncü kitabı yazmamış, seriyi yarım bırakıp sırra kadem basmış ☹
Profile Image for Juli.
1,420 reviews132 followers
March 8, 2017

La historia es muy atrapante. Un Romeo y Julieta moderno, que me ha encantado. Estoy deseando leer la segunda parte ♥
Profile Image for azul.
140 reviews
August 20, 2021
Me gustó, me gustó. Debo decir que lo empecé a leer por la hermosa portada que tiene. Me llamó mucho la atención. Y luego leí la sipnosis, y aún más. La historia me gustó y entretuvo bastante. El mundo mágico estuvo bien construido para ser el primer libro, y me agradó que lo haya hecho sentir muy humano. Los personajes estuvieron bien, aunque siento que necesitaban un poco más de profundidad. La protagonista, Aria, la encontré muy dulce y valiente a la vez, y Hunter me gustó mucho, aunque siento que le faltó una chispa, algo más. El romance estuvo bastante bien, pero es verdad también que dejo mucho que desear. Amé el concepto de "místicos", lo hacia fodo más misterio, y amo eso.
Pero en sí, la historia es bastante entretenida, no me aburrió en ninguna parte, es rápido de leer, y el final estuvo bueno. Es muy posible que lea el segundo libro. Lo recomiendo.
Profile Image for Meg.
86 reviews10 followers
October 16, 2012
I hate it when I get sucked in by a pretty cover.

This book hit all of my eye-rolling buttons: Love triangle with a clear winner and loser pretending to be all dramatic, Satan-spawn evil bad guys, ridiculously-good-yet-inexplicably-hated-and-repressed good guys, ruggedly handsome love interest who, no joke, plays guitar and has a propensity for saving damsels when they're attacked by thugs in the slums (because that's how that works, right? Girl goes into bad part of town and is immediately attacked for no reason other than 'girl in slums').

And that's not even going near the 'mystery' of the story which I had no trouble guessing about 5 pages in. The mystery which, by the way, then gets revealed at the climax of the story with goddamned exclamation points expecting me to be all shocked and amazed at the pure twistiness of it all!

Maybe I'm being too harsh. I have to admit that a lot of my opinion and outright anger comes from having read the far superior memory-wiped-girl-with-mysterious-yet-important-past book, Slated, only recently.

Normally I would put obvious plot twists etc down to the book being pitched toward a lower age group. Except, even adjusting for a 12-13 year old audience, I still feel like this book comes off as vaguely insulting in it's simplicity masquerading as complexity. Young adult readers aren't dumb. If you're going to clearly paint certain groups as merciless bad guys early on, they aren't going to be surprised when they shockingly turn out to be merciless bad guys. Likewise, when you introduce a mystery that can be solved with a '...It's that guy. No, seriously, protagonist, you're being wilfully stupid here' they're not going to be appreciative.

To be honest, I think what tipped me over the balance from neutral about the book to actually quite pissed off about the whole thing is the wasted potential. I have a long and storied history about raging against wasted potential in books and this one is just another one that's going to be added to the pile of regret.

This book's premise is absolutely fascinating. You've got class warfare with a very clear divide both in living standards and in attitudes between the upper and lower classes. More interestingly than that, you've got a third class of 'mystics' that are routinely drained of their powers ostensibly to keep the rest of the population safe from their dangerous powers (think the X-men debate) but also so the rest of the population can benefit from mystic-powered technology. You've got an amazing ethical and moral dilemma there. Is it wrong that mystics should be drained of their power? It's physically painful and causes huge side effects for them. However, the world they've created is powered by this process and there is real potential for a mystic to go crazy and power hungry and use their power for an unfair advantage. How do you solve a problem like that? What is the right thing to do?

According to this book, that point is completely moot because all mystics are freakin' oppressed angels who are being unfairly persecuted and would never even think of using their powers for evil. Despite the fact that non-mystics seem to have those kind of people around every corner.

And that's what makes me angry about this book. Not just disappointed about a gorgeous cover housing an ordinary book, angry that a book with such an interesting concept and premise went and wasted it on a story that made me roll my eyes every few pages. It wasted a story which had the potential to explore interesting questions on a straight-up black and white, good vs evil, star-cross'd lovers (Also? Please don't remind me of better stories when I'm reading your ordinary one), rebels vs the establishment story.

Bah! Bah! I say.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,599 followers
February 9, 2017
Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood

Mystic City is a futuristic fantasy book. It follows the story of Aria Rose who doesn’t have any recollection of falling in love with her betrothed Thomas Foster, the son of their family’s sworn enemy. Their marriage will reunite the two families and end the generation feud of their clan. While Aria fills the gaps of her “missing memories”, she meets the rebel mystic Hunter from Depths.

I’ve rated Mystic City 3.8 Stars which means I enjoyed it thoroughly and it would’ve been a 4 star read.

This book started out strong. I love the politic intrigue and power struggle of the characters. It’s not overdone but just right.
The romance is great though it becomes somewhat cheesy in the last 30% of the book.
There’s a magical ‘mystic’ aspect in the plot. It’s interesting.
The story is predictable.
My only problem is the story dragged in the middle part of the story. What a shame. It become anticlimactic.

My final verdict: Mystic City is a book I wouldn’t put on my favorite shelf but still it’s an enjoyable and fascinating read.
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,133 followers
November 2, 2012
This review contains spoilers, but trust me, it won't make any difference.

Not so far in the future, New York is a city of underwater streets infested with the malnourished poor - called the Depths - and towering skyscrapers graced by the wealthy elite - the Aeries. The Aeries is divided between two powerful families, the Fosters and the Roses. Aria Rose, seventeen and beautiful, wakes up one day to the news that she is engaged to Thomas Foster, son of her father's rival, and that they're to be married only weeks after the upcoming mayoral election, for which Thomas' older brother Garland is running.

Everyone is rejoicing that these two feuding families have put aside their differences and joined together through Aria and Thomas' romantic love story. The only problem is, Aria can't remember anything about it. She's never met Thomas before, feels nothing for him beyond mild admiration for his good looks and buff body: he doesn't stir in her any of the feelings she always thought would come with love. But her parents told her she overdosed on Stic and it wiped her recent memory - she has never taken the drug that she can remember, but she believes them.

In her efforts to remember the past and rekindle the love she must have felt for Thomas to have gone sneaking around in the Depths with him, Aria meets Hunter, a young rebel Mystic from the Depths. The mystics are the things of legend, propaganda and scary stories. Long blamed for the Conflagration - a bombing that killed several people, including a Mystic leader, Ezra Brooks - their punishment is to be drained of their magical power twice a year. The Mystics had built the Aeries, their magic powers the city and from it is made Stic, among other things. Now, the ruling families of the Aeries drain their power from them and hoard it, leaving them weakened and vulnerable far below.

As Aria gets to know Hunter more, she learns that everything she had thought was true, is not, and the people who are meant to love and protect her, are doing the opposite. Who can she trust? What is in her wiped memories, and can she get them back? And when the time comes, which side will she choose?

This book was full of promise, with an exciting if unoriginal premise (I was reminded, for instance, of NK Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy) - and, yes, a very pretty cover. But if fell, and it fell hard. I hadn't gone farther than the first chapter before I was frowning, mumbling to myself, grimacing, and getting increasingly frustrated and annoyed. It's such a shame, especially considering that all its problems could have been fixed through better editing and better writing. The list of issues I had with this story is long, and I'm not sure how best to get it across - but maybe a list is all I need.


1. Aria: She's stupid, naive, gullible and yeah, did I mention stupid? Oh she's nice, and kind, but so vacuous I can't understand what Hunter could possible see in her - Hunter loving Aria just gives me a low opinion of Hunter, really. For instance - and this ties into other issues that I have - she believes Elissa when the drained mystic tells her she's a double agent, and is too stupid to realise that if she was working with the rebels, she wouldn't need Aria to get a message to them, drained or not. See what I mean by gullible?

When she confronts Thomas to ask him point-blank whether he's a Stic dealer and he says whoever told her that was lying, she says, "Why would someone lie about that to me?" [p.248] (She has a similar reaction to learning the truth about mystics and the Conflagration.) See, it's not that I object to having a protagonist this naive and stupid, but that one minute she's thinking something pretty honest about, say, her father's line of work - hell, she's seen him or his bodyguards shoot people point blank but she still thinks he's a decent man??? - and then the next minute she's surprised that someone lied to her. She's a dupe, and she's a painfully slow one: even by the end of the book, I couldn't tell you that she'd grown a brain or had her eyes opened wide enough to actually make her THINK.

And try this: during her first visit to the Depths, she is assaulted and knifed by a group of poor teens until Hunter rescues her (she's often the damsel in distress); another day, she wanders around the Depths in a dress "studded with Swarvoski crystals" and "high-heeled sandals that tie around [her] ankles." [p.102] You can see that she really gets it, yeah? She learns from her mistakes, this one.

What makes it especially laughable, is when Aria says things like this: "Maybe when I get to know her better, I'll ask her more about her choices. But for now I have to remain Johnny Rose's naive daughter, so as not to raise suspicion." [p.128] Oh dear, Aria really believes she's not naive? That she's worldly enough to be manipulative? Absolutely nothing in the entire book gives evidence of this. As a narrator (in the first person), she is rendered - not unreliable, but so dumb you want to push her aside, roll up your sleeves and just sort it out while she keeps her mouth shut. Oh right, just the way her family treats her.

Speaking of, Aria has zero backbone, which makes for one incredibly lacklustre heroine. Not even being aware that she's being manipulated makes her do anything about it. And sadly, I don't think the irony was deliberate in this telling scene:

"Aria, may I have a word with you?"
Before I can respond, Kiki answers, "No, Davida, you may not."
I'd laugh if Kiki's tone weren't so serious. "What's your deal, Kiki?" I ask.
Kiki tugs on the hem of her striped cotton day dress "I promised your father on my way in that I'd escort you to work and make sure you got there in time," she says, "and I won't disappoint him."
Kiki takes one final bite of her apple, then drags me into the foyer. My purse is in my hand, and before I know it I'm out the door.
"I hate how she orders you around," Kiki says, tapping her foot impatiently as we wait for the elevator. "You should get rid of her once and for all." [p.219]

Aria is one giant push-over, and while she does go through a little bit of character growth by the end of the book, she's still pretty vacuous and incredibly dumb.


2. World-building: This New York doesn't make sense, as it's described, and so it seems to contradict itself. We're told the streets are underwater, navigated by raised footpaths in some areas and motorised gondolier taxis in most places. But then Hunter's friend Turk has a motorbike, and when convenient, the streets suddenly become dry. I've never been to Manhattan, but I understand that it's pretty flat - that and it being at sea level is part of the concern regarding rising sea levels, right? So how can some parts be submerged and others not? And the subway tunnels - the water fills them, and yet doesn't. It could easily make sense if it were better explained, but it wasn't, which is typical of the entire novel.

Also, in such a changed and damaged world, there's no way that people would have the same kind of consumer goods - from food to designer bags - that they do now. It pays to study some economics and, indeed, climate change, if you're going to write a novel that uses it as a framework, a structure, because it effects everything. Food production is a big one, but the thing is this: as climate change effects people's livelihoods, they turn to crime in poorer countries without any social welfare or support, which further disrupts economics. It's not that New York couldn't still be prosperous in this world, but beyond its city limits, there's just a fog, a void, a nothing. I wouldn't mind, for the sake of a good story and great atmosphere, but we get neither of that here, so it all sounds as vacuous as Aria.

The weakest part for me was the construction of the Depths and its population. It was hard to get a clear picture of what exactly life was like for them. They're poor, right, got that. Malnourished, yes, that's mentioned several times. Dirty, that too. Down-trodden, that I can see. But they still have school, apparently. And the buildings are flooded and falling apart, but people still live in them? It needed more concrete details, really. I loved seeing where the Rebels live, in converted subway cars underground, but the mystics are only a small portion of the population, and there seemed to be yet another divide, between the poor, and the mystics. There was an emphasis on the wrongs done to the mystics, but no one cared about the non-mystic poor. It reminded me of the American war against the British, back in the day: the Americans wanted freedom from the British, but it was only ever a freedom for the white colonials, not for the slaves.

On a related note, it was bizarre but oh-so-convenient that, even though the residents of the Aeries don't ever use cash (everything is electronic, computerised), Aria just happens to have accumulated a small pile of coins over the years. Where on earth from? She's never been to the Depths before all this mess - and if she had just a small pile, wouldn't she have used them all when she was mucking about with Hunter before having her memory wiped? Maybe not, but still, the fact remains, that it seems highly unlikely that she'd have any coins.

And if you have walkways, bridges over space, as high up as the Aries (and we're never told exactly how high up that is), then it's going to be very windy up there. But there's no wind. It would normally be very cold, too, but "global warming" (an out-dated and now useless term) has brought on incredible heat, even up there.


3. Climate change: I appreciate that Lawrence has made climate change a background issue, or rather, its effects, but he doesn't seem to understand how a little thing called GRAVITY works. Cue this:

The heat, they say, is because of the global climate crisis, the melting of snow and ice around the world and the rising sea level that swallowed Antarctica and all of Oceania. Global warming is also to blame for the canals that line the Depths, filling what used to be low avenues and streets with saltwater. Soon, the scientists say, the rising waters will overtake the entire island. [pp.15-16]

Um, right, so rising seas will completely cover mountainous New Zealand and ancient Australia, among other places, but Manhattan will only have slightly submerged streets? Dear me, on what planet could that happen?!! That is not how water works, that is not how GRAVITY works. And that was only page 15. You can understand why, then, my trust in the author took a nose-dive fairly early on.


4. Poorly sketched out supporting cast: Take her father's job, for instance. You have to piece it together with scraps of information, because Aria is too flaky to just tell us what her father does for a living. For a while, it seemed like she had absolutely no idea what he did. And while all we really learn is that he is one of the people who arranges for mystics to be drained, that's clearly not the extent of his business empire (and she only learns of it during the story).

To be honest, we learn extremely little about any of the characters, despite Aria's supposed curiosity and drive to understand what's going on. For someone who is so obviously being manipulated, she seems incapable of being suspicious - of anyone. She has so little reaction, or feeling, towards people when she finds out they've betrayed her. It takes her a long, long time to say anything to her mother, for instance, and that should have felt like the biggest betrayal of all.


5. Plot inconsistencies and holes: These are rife throughout, most of them fairly small details, but it doesn't matter how apparently minor they are: each and every one jarred me. It was like the story had been edited so many times, scenes rewritten over and over, that the author lost track of what people had said or done. That's what proof readers are for, though. Little things like, Hunter's mystic-powered touch gives her a jolt, a zap, when they touch, and he apologises, and at one point Aria thinks he's making an effort to control it or something; and yet, mixed in with that thread, other times he touches her and it's just warm, like the first time on the balcony, and after he rescues her from the gang and heals her arm. So which is it? Pick one and stick to it!

Another example: Elissa tells Aria about her job monitoring the Grid, and keeping watch on the subway tunnel entrances, where the rebels are hiding. Later, Aria is following her servant, Davida, in the Depths and when they reach a subway entrance, Aria recalls that "Elissa Genevieve told me how her team was searching for a way into the underground subway tunnels to flush out the rebels. How all the entrances are blocked with mystic shields." [p.202] Except that Elissa never said anything about mystic shields. When the little things don't add up, it gets annoying very fast.


6. Cliches: I know, what book is without cliches? It's not even necessarily a bad thing. But some of the cliches in Mystic City were just so glaringly cheesy I actually noticed them. Like, the mysterious metal door which Aria tells us about when she starts working as a coffee girl at her father's company:

After I take the elevator, I walk down the hallway, passing Benedict's office and those of some of the other executives, and a stainless steel door without a keypad or a touchpad. I'm not sure what it's for, and nobody else seems to know, either. Then the hallway opens into a maze of cubicles, which is where I work." [p.123]

BA BA BOOM! It's like in a really corny movie, when the important details practically have neon signs pointing to them, y'know, in case you missed it. I wanted to clock Aria over the head. And then, maybe, the author, too.

Another one:

There is a rustling outside, from the balcony. [...] I go over to the windows and open them, stepping out onto the balcony in my bare feet. No one is here.
"False alarm," I say. "Too many mystics coming to visit lately. Puts me on edge, I guess."
Davida climbs out behind me and scans the balcony. She points to a tiny green pill between two paving stones. "A mystic wouldn't be taking Stic." Davida holds the pill up to the light, then shoves it in her pocket. "Only someone who needed a power boost to get to this balcony in the first place. Somebody is spying on you. Or trying to, at least." [pp.244-5]

How convenient, that the voyeur just happened to leave an incriminating piece of evidence behind. And why would they have a second pill on them, when they'd just taken one? It's lazy writing.

Then, don't forget the C-list movie ultimatum:

George Foster pulls away, ad Dad motions to Stiggson. "Fine. Cuff the boy." Then he speaks directly to Hunter. "You'll lead us to one of the mystic entrances and allow us to go through. If we find out that you've warned your people of our arrival, Aria will die. If you do as we say... she'll remain unharmed."
Hunter nods, as though he's actually considering this ridiculous plan. He can't be, though - can he? "And what happens to me?"
"You'll die, of course. But I promise to make your end as painless as possible."
"No!" I shout. "This is unacceptable, this is -"
"Aria," Hunter says, "there's no point in fighting. It's the best way - the only way."
"You can't honestly believe that," I say to him, as though we're the only ones in the room. We've just gotten each other back; I'm not going to lose him again. [p.356]

I was caught between wanting to roll my eyes and pulling a face to say, "Really?" Aside from the theatrics, it has to be one of the biggest cliches out there. And the whole, "you'll die, of course" bit really tipped me over the edge of wanting to laugh into outright incredulity.

Then sometimes it's just a line, a sentence, one that I've read time and time again. Like this one: "The pity washes away, leaving something else in its wake: fury." [p.377]


7. Aria's relationships with others: This is an extension of 1. above, but it annoyed me so much I felt it deserved it's own spot. I'm not sure that I can see beyond the glaring words STUPID, NAIVE and SHALLOW; I'm not sure that there's anything more to it, but it really tested my patience, having a heroine, a protagonist, who thinks like this:

How could Davida never have told me any of this? How could I not have known, never have suspected? I've lived under the same roof as the girl for practically my entire life.
I feel betrayed. By Davida and by my parents, who've manipulated me to no end. [p.303]

Why didn't she tell you? Oh, I don't know, because you're a ROSE and she's a SERVANT? (and in the Aeries, you don't speak to the servants except to give them orders - they're all from the Depths, anyway.) Why should she tell you anything, you silly twit? What right do you have to feel betrayed by Davida? What does she owe you, really? Why should she trust you? Oh and this comes days after Davida confesses a part of her story, or a version of it, and Aria hugs her and tells her that from now on, they'll tell each other everything.

Which Aria of course never did, but now she's upset that Davida didn't either?


8. Present tense: I'm sick to death of present tense in YA fiction, now. Use it once, maybe it works. Use it in every second book, and it's just silly. I wouldn't mind so much if people could actually write it properly.

It can be a great affect, when done well, but you have to know when to use it and when to use past tense, which is a much more versatile, flexible and forgiving tense. I used to think past tense was a bit boring, but now I can appreciate its strengths. In contrast, present tense can have oomph but it can also be very limiting. You have to obey its rules, and one of those rules is you can't play with time. You can't really even acknowledge time, not in the many ways you can with past tense. You can't say, "Later that day..." or "eventually..." or "after a while..." That's what you'd say in past tense, but in present tense you're confined to the moment, the present.

Lawrence falls for these traps quite often, but otherwise he uses present tense pretty well. I don't think it adds very much to the story, but I can see why he'd choose to use it, given Aria's lack of memories, and to emphasise the sense of danger and tension.

There were parts of the plot that had me interested, engaged even, but with so many problems that I just couldn't overlook, I simply couldn't enjoy this story. I can be very forgiving of weak writing and other things, when I'm sucked into a story and its characters' lives, but that was far from happening for me here. Within the scope of the story, Aria did make sense as a character, but the fact that she never really wised up and did anything decisive, never really learnt anything, made me want to bang my head against a wall. Or throw the book.

And if Aria was a weak character, the plot too was weakly devised. The mystery is no mystery, not to us, not from the very beginning. Every so-called plot twist is only a surprise to Aria, not the reader, and every double-crosser practically has an arrow pointed to their head. Any true mystery, like who gave her the locket with the note that says "Remember" at her engagement party, is impossible for the reader to solve because Aria is so hopeless at putting two-and-two together. She doesn't compare handwriting, for instance. (oh god, I feel another rant about Aria's naive stupidity
February 15, 2016
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.

--Mystic City, p. 15

The Gist: Aria Rose has been told she's been having a secret romance with Thomas, the son of the Roses' political rivals, the Fosters, but Aria can't remember Thomas, or ever loving him, due to a supposed drug overdose. Everything seems like a happily-ever-after: the Fosters and Roses are finally uniting against a political threat, and Aria is now engaged to Thomas, the supposed love of her life. Said political threat is a third-party political candidate, Violet Brooks, one of the "mystic" underclass with superpowers that is forced to have their powers drained to run the city. When Aria tries to discover more about her, erm, *suspicious* memory loss, she meets undrained rebel mystic Hunter, whom she feels a strange connection to, and he agrees to help her find out what happened to her memories and why her family is so desperate to keep it hidden.

Genre: Sci-fi/Romance (dystopian, romance, superpowers)

Cleanness Rating: No swearing, some violence and a short scene with intense gore at the end (but no torture), no sexual content. Pretty PG except for the awkward tornado of body parts at the end. (More on that later.)

The Review: 2 stars. This book is actually readable, but lacked subtlety and depth.

The plot's attempt at "stealth"-- foreshadowing what was up with Aria's memories-- didn't work for me at all. It was rather laughable. Mystic City attempted to be James Bond sneaking up ready to pull the rug out from under the reader, but ended up more like a herd of elephants running across the plains followed by a twenty-piece marching band, a horde of screaming Twilight fangirls, and a thunder of dragons. (According to Angela in the Eragon series says the plural form is called something different, but I can't remember what.) I'm still going to put it in spoilers for courtesy, but

The characters had no depth. Pretty much everyone in the rich-people Aeries are portrayed as horrible, evil, power-hungry anti-mystic haters. The author would not know subtlety if it bit him in the behind, and takes every moment to remind you, "BTW, all these people are mustache twisty villainous scumbags."
Ex. Aria's dad.
[My father] is a con man and a blackmailer, a leader of thugs[...] To him, love is something you use to manipulate the weak. (p. 12)

And Thomas's brother Garland, who makes a brief appearance.
Garland, Thomas's brother[...] [has] a thinner and slightly more sinister face. (p.13)

And Aria's also privileged BFF Kiki
"Everything happens so smoothly from way up here. I wonder what it's like in the Depths. If things get... messy."
"Who cares?" Kiki asks, shrugging.
page 32

And Aria's "True Love" and fiancee, Thomas
Thomas forks one of the scallops into his mouth. "They say a mystic's powers mature at thirteen, but what if that's a load of crap? There could be a bunch of crazy powerful little freaks running around. We've gotta end this before it begins, don't you think?" page 84

And Aria's mom
"How many people died?"
My mother takes a swallow of her drink. "Does it matter?" [...]
I'm speechless, numb. She could at least
pretend to be sad that innocent people lost their lives. page 92

Mystic City's blurb mentions class and society issues, but does not manage to address them in a realistic way. The evil people are 100% evil, the mystics are downtrodden kicked puppies.

The rest of the book was mostly instalove/Aria describing Hunter's good looks, evil rich people doing evil rich people things, and some awful love letters. Until the end, there's about zero action, and then BAM! This bloody gorefest pops out of nowhere, straight out of Terminator or maybe this scene in The Thirteenth Warrior when the Wendol shreds a whole bunch of people and leaves their entrails all over the floor.

But the tornado swallows their voices[...] Then there are sickening sounds- a whoop and a whack and body parts fly everywhere.
Hands. Feet. Arms. Legs.
And heads.
All at once, the tornado disappears, having completely blasted the men apart. Someone's finger lands near my feet, the white bone completely fleshless. I look away so I don't vomit.

[The mystics] begin to spin. The joined rays of [mystic energy] slice through the men, dicing their bodies. The flesh sizzles as it burns, sending white-hot smoke into the air. Then smoke and blood are everywhere, and the body pieces cascade to the ground. page 380

Emphasis my own. But you get the idea. Kind of weird because 1) it's mostly lovey dovey until then and 2) if these mystics are so crazy powerful, why do they submit to all this oppression? They can throw laser beams at people! They can make force fields that can deflect bullets! They can burn holes through peoples' heads! They can walk through/up walls and do parkour! They can create tornadoes! They can melt floors so people standing on them will get swallowed and boiled alive! Sure, mystic powers can be deactivated by Drainings and with mercury-coated handcuffs (yeah, I don't know.), but you have to actually get close to weaken a mystic's powers. In the tornado of body parts scene, two or three mystics defeat a SWAT team with machine guns. The same thing should, in theory, work on a larger scale, so WHY ARE THEY OPPRESSED AND STUFF? But that is logic, so whatever.

Aria. She receives the Golden George W. Bush.

No offense, Mr. Bush.
For example, Aria sits on a balcony rail on a FREAKING SKYSCRAPER just for kicks, then is *oh so surprised* when she falls off. The only thing keeping her from being a splattered rich girl on the sidewalk is a *mysterious guy* saves her. This trend of only being saved by the grace of whatever deity would want to preserve such an idiotic human being continued. (Or her stalker boyfriend.) Ex. Aria runs around in the Depths, these slums below the Aeries skyscrapers, and nearly gets killed when a few gangsters recognize her. Why did she risk her life? Well, because she needed to see Thomas, but didn't want to get *tracked.* I mean, being watched by your parents is a lot more bearable than being dead. Aria has the same feelings I did at this point, as a whole bunch of grimy gangsters hold her at knifepoint because her only disguise, a hood, falls off and people recognize her.
I am going to die. I am going to die for my stupidity.

The only thing that saves her useless little arse is Hunter the Magical Mystery Boy, who shoots the gangsters with magical mystic laser beams that he can shoot out of his hands. He's of course not worried that the gangsters will report his illegal show of mystic powers to the authorities. A Mary Sue is in distress? Who can pass that chance up? This trend continues. Aria has no powers or skills whatsoever, and Hunter the Magical Mystery Boy always has to save her. Yet she still continues to waltz around the Depths in rich people party dresses and a top covered with Swarovski crystals, (I'm not making this crap up) and nothing bad happens to her. The most amazing thing is she actually makes these choices in the first place. Sure, I expected her to be naive, but her stupidity is almost borderline suicidal. She does not learn from her mistakes.

Hunter the Magical Mystery Boy... I thought Aria and Hunter's attraction was not written very well. He just shows up and Aria's like, "OMG he's hot." I guess there's a slightly spoiler-y explanation for some of the instalove but still, that does not quite explain everything. He was also a stalker.

"Are you stalking me?"
"Stalking has such... dirty connotations. How about keeping watch?"

And of course she accepts that, because he's keeping her safe from her own stupidity.

Thomas... ugh. I wanted to be sympathetic to him, but all he'd ever say was basically "Mystics are evil freaks who want to kill us all" and "too bad you don't love me, because I'm only in it for the power." Also, she catches him making out with meangirl Gretchen Monasty (notice her last name has "nasty" in it) and she tells him: "You wouldn't have cheated on me if you loved me. That's not how love works." And I'm all like, you're the one making out with the rebel mystic, miss fidelity! I think the author put that thing in with Gretchen to excuse the fact Aria's relationship with Hunter basically means she's cheating on Thomas, her fiancee. And during the Awkward Tornado of Body Parts scene, this is basically what happens.

The only characters I liked was Davida. I felt bad for her,

So Aria finds these love letters (supposedly from Thomas) and they are simply AWFUL, chalk-full of vaguely codependent language, bad flowery prose, and a bunch of ellipses (...s) that are supposed to be romantic but just end up being stupid. (Just a note, the ...s that are in []s indicate I've skipped part of the passage, but otherwise, they're there in the text.)
It has been three days since we met in the Depths. Three days and all I've been thinking of is you[...] Meet me in the Circle tomorrow night. Please. I just want to look into those starry eyes of yours one more time, and maybe, just maybe, you will want to look into mine, too. (Too corny?)

I waited and waited, but you didn't come. The entire week has been miserable. I can't sleep, I can't eat, I drive myself crazy thinking about you.

It's ridiculous how one encounter can truly change your life[...] In the morning, when I wake up, I think about your beautiful face, your dark eyes, your skin, your lips... and during the day all I hear is the sound of your voice, all I feel is the touch of your hand on my shoulder... and at night, I toss and turn, willing myself to fall asleep as quickly as possible so I can dream of you... and of us... together.

It's an awesome idea to address each other as Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers that we are. I'm so happy I didn't frighten you. I thought telling you the truth-- my last name, and who I am-- would make you run... but you're much stronger than I imagined.

You didn't come last night. I waited and waited. Is there somebody else? If there is... my life will be over. Everything was dark before I met you and now there is so much light-- I couldn't tolerate being shut back into darkness.[...]
Forever yours,

Your silence is unbearable. I don't know what to think, other than you don't want me anymore... or something terrible has happened to you... and if either is true, I can't live for one more day... I will come to you tomorrow night... please be there.

There are no words to convey the level of cheese I feel.

The worldbuilding was glossy and pretty, and for the most part made sense, but a few things stuck out. New York City is half underwater with global warming, and going outside is like getting fried, but people ask if Aria and Thomas will honeymoon in Bali. It's pretty far in the future (with magnetic light rail, fingerprint scanning in a universal transportation grid, and a screwed up planet), but the other tech, tablets, helicopters, machine guns, etc is basically what we have now. And the mystics are super poor, but they manage to have a CARNIVAL with dunk tanks, cotton candy, and prize wheels. (what?)

Conclusion: Another light dystopian romance. Perhaps good for younger audiences or something to pass the time, but do not take it too seriously, especially with the flat characters and such.

My former pre-review:
I read about 30 pages before deciding it sounded too stereotypical. Another bratty rich Mary Sue pledging eternal devotion to "misunderstood" bad boy? I don't think so.

If I finish reading this book, I'll at least have fun reviewing it.

Edit 1/2/15: Finally finished reading this book. It was... *shrugs.* Kind of flat. More to come.
Profile Image for R.E. Hunter.
Author 8 books661 followers
September 25, 2012
4.5 Stars

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book through NetGalley and I am so glad I requested this title. When I was looking through the available titles from Random House, I was immediately drawn to Mystic City because of the cover art. It is such a gorgeous cover that I immediately wanted to know what the book was about.

Mystic City is the first book in a dystopianesque trilogy set in future Manhattan. The world has been severely affected by global warming and most of Manhattan is now under water. The city is separated into classes. The wealthy live in the Aeries, a large network of skyscrapers that are interconnected by a rail system. The Aeries are divided by two warring families, the Roses and the Fosters. The poor live below in "The Depths" which are dirty, hot and somewhat submerged; they share the Depths with the mystics. Mystics have magical powers and those powers have helped to build up and power the city. However, decades earlier, a tragic explosion put the powers of the mystics into question and now mystics are forced to register with the government and be drained of their powers twice a year so that they cannot become too powerful or dangerous to the people. But there are mystic rebels who refuse to register and lose their powers...they are biding their time, staying under the radar and ready to fight for the equality they deserve.

The story begins with Aria Rose's engagement party way up in the Aeries. Aria is engaged to Thomas Foster, the son of her father's rival. However, the families have chosen to end their conflict and come together for the union of Aria and Thomas (and conveniently just in time for election season when a mystic candidate is challenging the Roses/Fosters for the first time in decades). The only problem, Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas. She can't remember any part of their relationship or their engagement. She's been told that she overdosed on Stic, a drug made from the power of mystics, and that she lost her memory, but some things just aren't adding up... and then there's Hunter, the gorgeous rebel mystic who has caught her attention.

I loved this book. I couldn't put it down, and when I was forced to, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Theo Lawrence weaves an exciting and engaging tale of love and loss as we follow Aria through her struggles to regain her memory, find her true love and fight for what she believes in. Mystic City kept me captivated from beginning to end. I was completely crazed wondering what Aria's memories would show. The book gives clues here and there as to what those missing memories might contain, but you have to work to figure it out along with her. Just when you think you have it figured out, something happens that will have you questioning whether you know anything at all. It's not until you're a significant way into the story that the secrets start to unravel and then the story is non-stop! I had more than a few "OH MY GOD!" moments.

There's no shortage of dystopian-like stories out there today and many of them fall short. However, Mystic City was a great start to what I believe will be an amazing trilogy. Love, loss, political unrest, rebellion, magic... what more could you ask for?! It was an incredibly exciting read and the twists and turns will keep readers completely hooked from beginning to end!

*The only reason this isn't a 5 star book for me is because the beginning felt a bit confused. I wasn't sure what kind of world the author was trying to build. The way the world/people were described in the beginning left me feeling a bit confused and having a hard time picturing the characters and how everything would make sense. The way the author began describing the characters with tattoos on their faces, etc. made me think of something similar to Hunger Games, where the wealthy were decked out in ridiculous fashion made to stand out. But then there were paparazzi and other aspects of this "world" that felt a bit too normal and real to exist in this story. After the first few chapters, I felt like it all came together and made sense and the story was so amazing that I couldn't focus on anything else, so it really didn't take much away from the book as a whole.

Reviewed at thebooklistreviews.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Kagama-the Literaturevixen.
792 reviews123 followers
Want to read
May 10, 2012
Was super excited until the other guy was mentioned and that always means a love triangle. Now im less excited.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,003 reviews3,311 followers
December 9, 2012
Aria Rose is the daughter of one of the ruling families in Mystic City engaged to Thomas, the son of the rival ruling family. With an upcoming election, their marriage is the perfect way to unite the humans against mystics, humans with magical powers who are drained of their powers. The only problem with the engagement, is that Aria has overdosed on Sic, a mystic-infused drug causing her to forget her entire relationship with Thomas.

As Aria pieces her memory together, she meets Hunter, a handsome rebel mystic who she’s instantly attracted to. She uncovers a political battle between her family and the mystics, and finds that everything may not be as it seems as her family will do anything to win the election.

I quite enjoyed the lies and the deception within Mystic City, and it was interesting following Aria’s story as she unveiled her memories. You find that her memory loss is very targeted towards her relationship with Thomas, and the real secrets behind her Sic overdose are really easy to spot from a mile away. There were enough elements of the story to keep me going however, such as her star-crossed romance with Hunter and the rebel mystics. The mystics were very Xmen-like, with each having their different powers.

Continued on my Happy Indulgence Blog...

Check it out for more reviews!
Profile Image for Tuçe Kibar.
130 reviews20 followers
January 23, 2016
Kitap boyunca sıkıldım, son 100 sayfasını da atlaya atlaya okudum. Kitap mı kötüydü yoksa ben distopya türünü çok okuduğumdan mı böyle oldu anlamadım, biraz distopyalardan uzak durmam gerekiyor sanırım.
Profile Image for Alatea.
484 reviews41 followers
June 26, 2017
I really wish I'd liked the book more. It wasn't a bad book, but it simply wasn't convincing enough. I loved the idea of a dystopical world, almost destroyed by the global warming, humanity, its fears and intolerance.

I loved that people feared and hated mystics and I wanted to love and adore the rebels. But there were so little told about them! We, readers, need some instructions. I know that the author tried, but I needed a bit more world-building and history and a bit less Romeo&Juliet crap. I got it - they were from different families, different political parties, etc. And they STILL fell in love *sights*. That's very impressive. Or at least it would be if I ever had believed that there were something between Hunter and Aria. I know, I know, this is me, so maybe people who have heart and can love believed it...

There were something in the characters and I bet that with some development they could be quite interesting and lovable, but their story didn't convince me. The whole plot - event though I said that the idea is interesting - is not convincing. The style and the wording is to blame (you know, the "show instead of tell" crap), but even some plot twists were just too comfortable and some of the character choices were plainly stupid. And I always felt rushed through the story.

I hope the second book improved though.
Profile Image for Tina ♥ Bookaholic.
782 reviews109 followers
February 5, 2015

Meine Gedanken zum Buch:
Ich habe relative unbefangen mit dem Buch gestartet, da ich gute, wie auch schon schlechtere Rezensionen dazu gelesen habe. Daher war es dann für mich doch überraschend gut und hat mir von der Atmosphäre, sowie den Charakteren und generellen Handlung wirklich gut gefallen.

Aber fangen wir am besten von vorne an, wo wir Aria begleiten, als sie auf ihrer Verlobungsfeier ist. Eigentlich sollte das ein glücklicher Moment für sie sein, doch Aria hat ihr Gedächtnis verloren und jeder sagt ihr, wie sehr sie in ihren zukünftigen Gatten verliebt war und was sie alles für ihn riskiert hat – aber Aria kann nichts davon fühlen, so sehr sie sich auch bemüht. Schon bald kommt man als Leser darauf, was hier gespielt wird, und rasch danach hegt auch Aria ihre Zweifel an der ganzen Sache, an ihrem Leben. Sie möchte endlich Antworten – ehrlich Antworten, nicht wieder welche, die sich falsch anfühlen.
In diesem Punkt konnte ich sie gut verstehen und ich fand Aria toll als Charakter, besonders dass sie erstens nicht einfach alles so akzeptiert hat, wie es ihr gepredigt wurde, sondern für sich selbst die Dinge herausfinden wollte. Hier geht sie untypisch für ihre reiche Klasse sehr mutig an die Sache ran, was mir zusätzlich gefallen. Klar, ist sie leider auch etwas naiv und braucht manchmal ein wenig länger, um Dinge zu sehen, die sich direkt vor ihren Augen befinden, aber das fand ich persönlich jetzt nicht allzu schlimm.

Auch ihr Gegenspieler Hunter war einfach nur ein männlicher, herber, mutiger, wilder Traum und ich konnte nicht genug von ihm bekommen, besonders da er ja nicht so oft vorgekommen ist. *schade*
Hier fand ich es zugegeben etwas schnell, wie sich das alles entwickelt hat zwischen den beiden, aber wenn man dann die gesamte Hintergrundgeschichte kennt, kann man es verstehen.

Ansonsten gab es aber eigentlich keine Charaktere, mit denen ich viel anfangen konnte. Die einen waren mir unsympathisch, wie Kiki, Arias beste Freundin, und die anderen waren zu kurz anwesend, wie Hunters Freund Turk.

Der Schreibstil der Autorin in der Gegenwart war rasch zu lesen, da sie zwar schöne Formulierungen verwendet, aber dazwischen immer wieder ganz kurze Sätze mit eingeknüpft hat. Außerdem passte es zur Handlung, die in einer fantasiereichen Dystopie spielt, in der Mystiker (wie Magier, wobei jeder ganz spezielle Kräfte hat) von den Reichen unterdrückt werden. Ganz klar, dass diese sich das nicht auf ewig gefallen lassen und sich ein Widerstand im Untergrund bildet, um für Gerechtigkeit zu kämpfen. Und diesem Kampf für Gleichheit, aber auch für ihre Liebe, schließen sich Hunter und Aria an, was natürlich nicht ohne Folgen bleibt. Hier möchte ich nicht zu viel verraten, nur so viel, dass es wirklich spannend war und es am Ende ganz schön heiß/ gefährlich her ging.

Das Ende war wie bereits gesagt schon sehr Nervenaufreibend und ich habe – ehrlich – schon mit dem Schlimmsten gerechnet, zum Glück ist das aber nicht passiert und man konnte ohne Cliffhanger, halbwegs zufrieden, das Buch schließen und zur Seite legen. Es war zwar am Ende total vorhersehbar und hat mich dann nicht mehr überrascht, aber trotzdem reizt es mich sehr, gleich und sofort weiter zu lesen, besonders da ja auch Band 3 bald draußen ist. Ein weiterer Pluspunkt bei den ganzen Reihen, die momentan nicht weiter übersetzt werden. (Aber das ist ein anderes Thema)

Ich liebe, liebe, liebe das Cover. Es ist einfach wunderschön gemacht und war definitiv einer der Gründe, warum ich das Buch lesen musste.

All in all:
Ein überraschend gutes Buch, das die abgegriffene Romeo und Julia-Geschichte mit neuen fantastischen Elementen und düsterer Dystopie vermischt und es dadurch zu etwas vollkommenem Neuen macht. Auch wenn das Ende sehr vorhersehbar war, freue ich mich schon auf die nächsten Teile und empfehle das Buch allen Lesern, die eine Mischung aus magischer Fantasy und dunkler Dystopie mögen, in der die Liebesgeschichte eine tragende Rolle spielt.
Profile Image for Samantha.
409 reviews16.7k followers
October 13, 2014
This story had a lot of potential, but it got lost on the way.

It had a very interesting premise. Two "mafia" type families. Mysterious memory loss. Star-crossed lovers. Futuristic New York City. What's not to love, right?!

The setting was not properly worked out. It was set sometime in the future when global warming has taken over and people with mystical powers have made themselves known. Everyone can pay for items through their fingerprints, not needing to carry money. But texting and tweeting was still referenced. What? 100-150 years in the future and we are still tweeting? I think not.

The love story was not believable. Not to mention that the male lead had no kind of continuity. He would act and talk one way in one chapter, and completely different in the next. I could not get a beat on his personality.

The magic system was not explained and was completely random. There was no method to the madness.

You can see the twists coming from a mile away. The "big twist" is easily seen from the readers perspective in the first 10 or so chapters, and it still takes the main character until the last 50 pages to figure it out herself....

OVERALL, the story had a lot of potential, but didn't live up to it. I do not plan on continuing this series.
Profile Image for Liz.
600 reviews505 followers
September 18, 2018
Oh damn, that was bad.

Seriously. This book takes immaturity on a whole new level.

1. Seemed like a cheap spin-off of Hunger Games with a terrible write style.
2. It had some Gossip Girl elements as well.
3. I think the author just decided to throw all the successful series and books of the last years into a mixer and then hoped for a bit of success as well.

I won't write a summary. I won't even write a proper review, let me just say that after I read how the protagonist innerly whined:

"But I don't want to think."

It was over.
Damn. So annoying and childish, the entire novel. I can't even.
An awful read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,353 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.