Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

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. 


Mystic City was definitely a surprise love for me. It was also a surprise buy considering I bought it on impulse, only recognising the name and cover but not much else. Lately, I feel like each dystopian world is more similar to the last with their simply being so many on the market.

Contrastingly, the world building of Mystic City was my favourite aspect! It definitely feels very X-Men—however these mutants are called mystics and the majority of them live in the dwells. The easiest way to explain society here is that the third class citizens (mystics and rebels) live on the ground. However the ground is horrible after the destruction of the city.

Aria Rose, our protagonist, lives on the highest level. She’s also from one of the two most influential families in the city—and engaged to the son (Thomas Hunter) of the other family. For years the two families have been at a political war, diving the city of Chicago. However the engagement brings the city together. Aria however has no idea about Thomas—or their relationship as the previous weeks are missing from her memory after she overdosed on a drug called “stic”.

The loss of memory is what initially creates the tension and mystery, however I did find the plot to be rather predictable. There wasn’t much there wasn’t a surprise for me. Despite that, I still did find the unravelling to be compelling and interesting. I wanted to know how everything came to light and Aria’s own reactions. While the big spin about Aria’s memory loss wasn’t surprising, and I did find Mystic City to be overall compelling, I do wish that the plot had been quicker in the beginning. I simply found the orientation too long and it really was the writing and world building that pulled me through to the last pages.

I have read reviews where people said they found the devices and world building confusing, however I found it to be rather innovative and brilliant. In future Chicago they use a “TouchMe” (in my head I thought it looked like an iPad of sorts) and iPods were replaced with a “MuseMe” device which I thought was rather self-explained.

All the characters were memorable, including Hunter and even the ones we weren’t meant to like. I found Mystic City to be a surprisingly enjoyable and wonderful read and I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel.

Review: 4 stars
Date Read: January 2013
Date Published: October 9th 2012
Australian Publisher: Doubleday
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Series/Stand Alone: Mystic City #1


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