Futuristic novels are interesting and it’s even more interesting when there’s magic involved. Such is the case with Theo Lawrence’s Mystic City (Delacorte Press, October 9th 2012, 352 pages). The cover is beautiful with the side profile of a downcast girl. What could go wrong?
It turns out, a lot could go wrong. Aria Rose is engaged to Thomas Foster, the son of the sworn enemies of the Roses. The people of New York are happy as the Fosters and the Roses have been feuding for as long as they can remember. A marriage between the children of both sides would unite the Aeries, the privileged part of the city, and quell the uprisings in the depths, where the mystics, people with magic powers live. However, Aria Rose doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas and knows deep down in her heart that she loves someone else.
For the first 270 pages, I loved the book. The setting of the book is in a post-global warming world, where parts of New York are flooded. It’s an interesting setting, complete with gondolas, bright lights, and intrigue. Who is the person that Aria really loves? There is something going on that involves Aria but what?
Aria’s a kick-ass character and she’s not afraid of things. I loved that. However, she’s a tad bit on the dense side because I saw things coming 50 pages before she did. She repeats things like the fact that Tom is probably not the person who she’s in love with and I agree. He’s not. However, the person who Aria is in love with is obvious.
I was almost done with the book when it turned into a mushy romance. Starting out, I already saw tones of Romeo and Juliet (feuding families) but it just increased at the ending. I have a problem with books that assume that all teens care about is love. I saw a recent book with the lines “Love is all that matters” on the cover. Cue eyeroll, please. Mystic City literally turned into an I-can’t-live-without-you-or-else-I’ll-feel-miserable book.
Another problem I had was that the buildings are submerged in 30 something feet of water, yet people are still able to live underground. I’d assume that underground would be muddy places but apparently not.
I really, really did love the premise of Mystic City but it just fell apart in the end. It’s a little too formulaic (girl loses memory and goes on a search for her real lover) and it portrays life too simply. Aria is good and what her father stands for is bad. Everything is black and white and life isn't like that.
I wish that I could say that I loved Mystic City but I can’t. There are flaws that just can’t be overlooked. I did like the beginning and wish that the ending was better.