Sunday, July 15, 2012
Book Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
Aria Rose has lost the last two weeks of her life, two weeks during which her family tells her she carried on a torrid love affair with Thomas Foster, the heir of a rival political family. They claim this affair has made them see the light, and that her marriage to Thomas will unite the families once and for all--against the mystic woman running for office. For mystics have been banished to the lower reaches of the city, drained for their power, and feared for their abilities. Now the mystics want equal treatment, and with Violet Brooks' bid for power, they look poised to get it--unless the union of Rose and Foster can allow the rich to crush the mystics once and for all.
Mystic City is a politically complicated novel with twists, turns, betrayals, and suspense. Based loosely on Romeo and Juliet--but with some twists--the novel follows the intrigues of city politics through Aria's eyes as she learns just how depraved her family and their supporters really are and just how badly they've been treating the mystics. For all the complications, however, it's never too difficult to follow or to keep track of the many threads running through it. The ending is surprising for a YA novel, going practically full Shakespeare (which will make sense when you've read it, but I don't want to spoil it).
The one (fairly major) complaint I have is with the romance. Not that it exists, per se, or even that there's a triangle--because it's not a typical YA triangle, which I appreciated. What bugged me was how long it took Aria to figure out who the person she'd really had the torrid affair with was (I apologize for that sentence). I had it figured out by page 50-something; Aria didn't figure it out until he came right out and told her. Despite lots and lots and lots and LOTS of clues. Ridiculous numbers of clues. The only thing that might excuse her is that the love letters she has from those missing weeks are overwrought and overly flowery, which isn't how the Boy In Question speaks at all.
Otherwise, there's a very good concept here that's executed rather well and promises more good books to follow as Aria and the Boy In Question rebuild their lives and prepare to fight for equality for the mystics.
Mystic City will be available on October 9, 2012.
3.5/5 stars (a note on my rating system)