Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 416 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Mystic City series
Source: eGalley from netgalley.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
This is the first book in the Mystic City series by Lawrence. I got an eGalley of this book to review through netgalley(dot)com. I really enjoyed this book; it was a fun blend of dystopia, high society, mafia-politics, and magic.
Aria is a socialite and daughter to one of the crime lords who runs Los Angeles in a post-apocalyptic setting. The city is flooded and the wealthy live in Aeries in the sky. The wet Depths of the city are were the normal population and the dangerous Mystics live. Aria has lost her memory due to a supposed drug overdose and can’t remember being engaged to their enemies crime lord son, Thomas. As Aria looks into her past more carefully she finds out that things around her are not as they seem.
This is a very entertaining dystopian read. It blends a lot of interesting genres. The stories have a high society taste to them (think Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz). They also have a mafia theme (since Aria’s father is a crimelord). Added to this is an interesting post-apocalyptic world in which a fascinating race of people called Mystics can use magic in wonderful ways; when they are not having it drained out of them. On top of all of this Aria is dealing with horrible memory loss.
Imagine being thrust into an engagement with your sworn enemy in a complex post-apocalyptic world. People tell you, you love this man Thomas but you can’t even barely remember him. Aria is a fascinating heroine that handles all of this fairly well. She has many aspects to her personality and I really enjoyed her. She can handle the faking it in high society, she can handle the adventure of the Depths. Despite her crime-based family she questions the morality of things around her and wants to do what’s right. She is determined to find out the truth. Aria comes off as likable, realistic, and easy to engage with I really enjoyed her a lot.
Hunter is the Mystic who saves Aria’s life on a balcony, and keeps popping up places. Hunter is also a very enjoyable character; he is funny, capable, and mysterious.
The relationship between the two is absolutely amazing. I love how they interact and buck all of societies trends to find out the truth and try to fix things. You have two people from two absolutely different parts of society, but their placement within their societies is such that they could change the whole world.
This is a very creative world. The specifics of what is going on to create this post-apocalyptic type situation aren’t gone into in much detail. We know the water level has risen because of rising global temperatures. We know because of this vast portions of LA are under water. The biggest thing I loved about this world though were the Mystics.
The Mystics can use magic in fascinating ways but are persecuted as a danger to humanity. I loved the scenes with the Mystics and their awesome magic. I love how the Mystics presence is integrated into the history of this world and its past. Even more interesting is how the crimelords who run the city drain the Mystics for power to keep the city running.
There are some fun twists in the story. Parts of the story are a bit predictable but there was enough going on that I was never bored and could never fully predict what would happen next. The book was excellently written, there are wonderful descriptions throughout and excellent pacing.
My only complaint is that I would love to know more about why this world is how it is. I would also like to know more about the world outside of LA.
Overall I really loved this book. The idea of throwing a magical race of humans into a post-apocalyptic setting is lots of fun and something I’ve never read before. I love how Aria has to struggle not only through politics and daily life, but with her memory loss to piece together what is happening. Aria and Hunter have a wonderful relationship and I enjoyed how it built over time. I am so excited to see what happens next with the Mystics and their struggle for equality. Highly recommended to those who love fantasy and YA dystopian novels.