Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Length: 397 pages
Source: eGalley via NetGalley
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.
Protagonist: Aria Rose daughter of one of the most influential families in Manhattan can't remember parts of her life. More specifically moments from the past few months. She's told about her relationship with the son of her family's biggest rivals, and about her impending wedding. At first Aria is naive, as most protagonists in a dystopian novel are, but in this case she's even more so, there's a spark of a rebel in her, something that's easy to see how squashed it is within her. As the story goes on and her eyes begin to open up to the world around her even more, she becomes a stronger character, someone who could incite change, who could lead her city, but the question is what kind of change is she willing to incite.
Romance: At first I expected there to be a love triangle in this book, and in some vague way I guess there is, however it's abundantly clear early on in this story that there is really only one romantic interest in this book. The relationship between Aria and her love interest was written pretty well, there was some great chemistry between them and the sweet and romantic moments they shared were just the right balance between sweet and grounded.
World-Building: Going into this book I expected it to be a fantasy since there is mention of the magic wielding Mystics, however this world is a mix between a dystopian future where global warming has decimated cities we know and love, and a paranormal series where magical beings have been integrated into our world and in this case our history. The story itself actual deals with some not so subtly veiled contemporary issues such as racism and classism. All of which I felt were handled very well, they weren't ever really shoehorned into the story, they were a part of it, it never felt too preachy and did a lot to add depth to this book.
Predictability: This author is not very good at leading up to a twist, or actually he can be, but I only saw evidence of it once or twice in this book. A lot of the main twists, or at least what I'm assuming were the main twists, were extremely predictable. I mean, almost everything I saw coming from a mile away. Like I said there were a few things that I couldn't but they were rather small, no matter the implications to the story, and while I enjoyed being caught off guard in those moments, they were nothing compared to the annoyance I felt at knowing some key pieces of information practically from the beginning. I kid you not, the prologue in this book did the overall story no favors it practically screamed the truth to the reader in just one page.
Ending: As this book drew to a close there was a lot on the line. I felt how high the stakes truly were, and then there was the final climax. Oh boy did it deliver. I just can't get over how crazy epic it was. There was a lot left in the air going into the epilogue, this is not an idealistic ending, it's not something where bad things seem to happen but there are no real repercussions. There's a lot of collateral damage and the story is deeply impacted because of it. I enjoyed the epilogue, it really helped tie this book, though not the story, up and bring it to a good close. The very end has one of those hybrid almost plateaued endings where depending on how you look at it it's either a cliffhanger or it's a traditional plateaued ending.
So I really enjoyed this story, though I''m a bit worried as the third book in the series has yet to get a cover or release date, but hopefully the story isn't dead and by the time I get around to book 2 we'll know more information on what I expect is the last book in this series.