Thank you Delacorte Books (Random House) and Netgalley for allowing me to review an advanced reader's copy of Mystic City
I don’t know how I missed the memo that Mystic City by Theo Lawrence is a dystopian re-telling of the story of Romeo and Juliet. But I somehow did miss the memo so when the theme kept coming up at first I was a little baffled. I went in to the story expecting one thing and got something else, not that that was a bad thing I actually ended up enjoying Mystic City once the action really started.
Aria Rose is a daughter of one of the two infamous families of the Aeries (think mafia families), the other family is the Foster’s. Aria wakes up one day with her memories missing. Her parents claimed she overdosed and that she had been having a secret relationship with Thomas Foster and that they are now engaged. From the beginning Aria is suspicious about this but doesn’t really know why her parents would lie to her so she goes along with the engagement. That is until she meets Hunter and begins having some small snippets of memory.
I liked the idea for this story- a futuristic New York city partially underwater with the “haves” living in high rises and the “have not’s” living in the depths. Lawrence creates a really vivid image of what this life would be like and I liked how often stifling heat was mentioned, I wish that dystopian books talked about the weather more with the way things are going we are in for a hot one! Unfortunately I kept finding holes in the world building, like how is it possible for people to live underground when the sea level has risen? How is Manhattan there at all? This really bothered me early in the story and by the end I just gave up trying to wrap my head around the situation.
I liked the relationship between Hunter and Aria, you could tell that the two really had feelings for each other and I liked the fact that even after her memories were wiped Aria still knew what her heart felt for Hunter. I also liked Hunter’s dedication to the rebel mystic cause and the fact that Aria makes her own decisions about her parents and the rebel mystics.
What I didn’t really like about this story was that you could basically telegraph the plot, it was too formulaic and I kept hoping something would happen that would surprise me. For example in one scene they are at a party and everything that happens at the party is just completely stereotypical, it is exactly what you expected to happen. It felt like I was re-watching the party scenes from Mean Girls or 10 Things I Hate About You minus Julia Stiles dancing on the table. I was really disappointed. It wasn’t until probably 80% into the story that we finally got some really original material and I started enjoying the story. I would actually give the last quarter of the book 4 or 5 Stars but the first ¾’s made the story really more of a 3.
Overall, I enjoyed Mystic City but it was really only an “ok” read. There were some plot holes that I just couldn’t get over and I wished that Lawrence had made the story more original and gotten away from the re-telling aspect. But once Lawrence did stray away from re-telling the story got pretty dang good and I’m interested to see what happens in the sequel.