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Mystic City by Theo Lawrence (2012)
Mystic City (2012)
by Theo Lawrence
Hardcover Edition
Publication Date: October 9th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Buy a copy via Amazon.
Synopsis from Goodreads.

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.

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.

My Thoughts:
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 a bunch of secretive letters in her house, then instead of stuffing it 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 the 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.

WHY IS IT SO PREDICTABLE?:
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.)

Action?
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 ends 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.

Romance
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?

World-building:
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 turned into 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.

Rating: C-

SPOILERY THOUGHTS I NEED TO GET OUT OF MY SYSTEM (Click to view if you are inclined.)
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