Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review of Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

A Promising Dystopian Read
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley and Delacorte Books. Thank you to the author for an opportunity to read the book.

Spoiler Alert:

Mystic City is a YA Dystopian book set in a futuristic Manhattan about a rich teen girl that is manipulated into a semblance of an engagement  by her family and her so-called fiancĂ©e; although she knows in heart that all is not what it seems.

The story line is a great idea; action, intrigue, murder, drugs, sex, a secret love affair between two opposing families...what's not to like? Unfortunately the execution and development of the story not to mention the characters is what makes this YA although I personally feel it should be a New Adult read, go awry. 

It is Manhattan in the future and it is flooded, global warming has caught up with the world and there is a new species of humans called "Mystics", they possess special energetic powers and were the engineers of the construction of new cities above all the water, all over the world. When the powers that be saw that "Mystics" could take over and rule, a tragic explosion conveniently occurs and suddenly Mystics are being made to register and are drained of their powers; not only for the energy to sustain the city but to make a drug called "Stic" that temporarily makes ordinary humans feel "Mystic". 

Aria Rose, who comes from one of the two most powerful families in Manhattan wakes up and is suddenly being told that she almost OD'd on "Stic" furthermore she has some short-term memory loss that includes her secret love affair and engagement to Thomas Foster, the son of her family's long standing rival. At every turn her family preys on her sense of decency and they make her feel ashamed for taking drugs, manipulating her to doing what they want her to do however Aria feels that something is amiss with her supposed drug incident and her love affair with Thomas. Both families are involved in politics and the "Stic" business; they have united against a candidate who plans on giving the "Mystics" their rightful place in Manhattan. They "embrace" the supposed teens'love affair to bring "peace" to the city after a centuries long war against one another. Only Aria and Thomas' love affair is a facade made up by Aria's father so their families could unite voters to keep the "Mystic" out of office and continue their oppression of mystics to secure their energy source and their lucrative business in the worldwide distribution of "Stic". 

Aria seems unaffected by her station, making her character likable however all the other characters are just flat,insipid, and her parents sound just hateful. The story starts off really slow, and Aria eventually evolves and develops some backbone but everyone else including her true love interest, Hunter is just stagnant. Not until the very end of the story when Aria finally gets her memories back, do we get glimpses of what her love affair with Hunter was really like and the other characters develop through her eyes. The story suddenly takes off and just when it really begins to get interesting it ends abruptly.

It is so frustrating when a great idea begins to develop but then doesn't quite come to fruition. There is drug use, a quite sensual scene, murder, and violence; the tag states a read for ages 12 and up but personally I think it should be 16 and up. 

Rating 3.5 of 5 Stars

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