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Book Review; Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Mystic City

Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Corgi Books
Published: October 11th 2012
Pages: 397
Format: Paperback
Source:: Complimentary Copy from Publisher
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon US

For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

Things Aren’t Always

As soon as I heard about Mystic City I was instantly intrigued. It sounded like such an amazing read with a really interesting premise, so it was with disappointment that I finished this book feeling that it had not lived up to its potential. This was a book that I had really wanted to work out well but it, unfortunately, just really fell flat off the mark and I have to admit that I almost gave up on the book entirely part way through but decided, instead, to preserve but found that it never got any better. I can see how others may enjoy this book, but it just simply was not a book that captured all of my interests.

What They Seem

It was described in the press release as “an epic Romeo-and-Juliet style tale of a magical city divided”, which is a large reason why I was so intrigued by this book and I have to admit that this part of the book I did enjoy. I liked the divide within the city, it gave a very interesting setting for this book but that was where my enjoyment ended. The Romeo-and-Juliet style relationship didn’t quite cut it for me, and the journey that our main protagonist, Aria, goes on just was not appealing to me. There was enough action and suspense and mystery to keep me reading, and I was curious to find out where it was all going to lead eventually but by the time I reached the end, I just found I was disinterested in the story and just became annoyed with how it ultimately ended. I feel that because I like a story to be driven wholly by the protagonist, and not for the protagonist to simply be there, I struggled to fully enjoy this story.

We Must Question

One of the major reasons I really struggled with finding this book entertaining is due to how irritating and frustrating I found Aria to be. From the start she is disoriented – as you would expect her to be – but instead of really thinking and acting on her predicament, she simply seems to let things happen around her instead. I found her actions and her naivety throughout the novel to be utterly grating and while her character did grow slightly towards the end of the novel, she definitely was not the heroine I had hoped she would be. I feel like she just needed to show a bit more of her personality and she may have been an easier character to get along with but all in all, I just could not like her character.

On the other hand, Hunter was a character that I quickly found myself enjoying. He was mysterious, quirky, and incredibly protective and charming. There were many things that he did not just for himself, but to protect every one he loved and cared about. For me, he was the character that actually made small parts of this book readable. There were a few scenes that involved him that I found myself truly enjoying, so it was a shame that he couldn’t redeem the rest of the novel for me.

And Challenge

Alongside Hunter, another aspect of this story that I did actually find intriguing was the magic hidden beneath it all. I loved the city setting with the underground city beneath it, I adored the idea of the Mystics and everything that they represent and I loved the fact that they all protected one another and stood their ground. It was a really great part of the novel and another reason why I continued to read it as I really wanted to know what would happen in the end. Would it be that the world would change again? Would it be good or bad? These questions kept me turning the page and reading on. So it was disappointing when the ending finally came around and I found myself irritated, leaving me to question why I had continued reading instead of putting the book down and walking away because it really wasn’t a book that worked out for me.

All That Arises

All in all, Mystic City had a great premise, it had an amazing setting and a few interesting characters to balance it all out but the storyline just was not enough to keep my attention, and ultimately the ending just really ruined it for me. I feel I may be looking at the book in a harsher light then I should simply because I had been so very excited to read it and it is always difficult when such excitement then suddenly falls flat. However, I do still see the appeal in the book and I feel that if you like books that have a little magic, can see past a heroine that is naive and gullible, and like a little romance then this book may just be the perfect read for you. Plus, it does have a spectacular setting that may be able to redeem the book for you. I’m not sure yet if I’ll read the second book in this series when it comes out, but I do know that despite disliking it I am glad that I read Mystic City and I only hope that your experience reading it will go down better than mine did.

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

two out of five hearts



  • Nikki @ Foil the Plot

    It’s funny b/c my thoughts immediately went to Romeo & Juliet after reading the summary more so than The Hunger Games or Blade Runner! And it’s a shame this book didn’t leave quite the impact that you expected, I know the letdowns are always the biggest bummer. I think weak protagonists are one of my biggest pet peeves and when the secondary characters start to outshine them, then that’s a huge problem. Oh well, you can’t win em’ all, I guess.

  • Alexa Y.

    This one sounded so good in theory! While I might read it, just to satisfy my curiosity about the storyline, I’m thinking that I might end up just being annoyed at our main character. I have issues with passive main characters if there’s no good reason for them to be passive!

    • Faye (Daydreaming_Star)

      Yeah, she did do things, but she was just so naive about them, using her memory loss as an excuse every time and it just grated on me too much. I do know others who have really enjoyed this book, but it just didn’t sit right for me unfortunately :(

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