ARC Review: “Mystic City” by Theo Lawrence

Mystic City (Mystic City #1) by Theo Lawrence

Goodreads | Amazon

A magical city divided.
A political rebellion ignited.
A love that was meant to last forever.

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.

3 1/2 stars

Thank you to Edelweiss and Random House Children’s Books for this eARC! You can pick up a copy for yourself on October 9th, 2012!

Well that … was exactly what I expected.

I mean, of course I’d hoped for something more, but at least my expectations weren’t unfounded, right? …let me explain.

After you read that blurb, you have a ridiculously good idea about what’s going to happen in the novel. You’ve basically got this backwards Romeo and Juliet thing going on. (That was actually mentioned several times.) (I hated Romeo and Juliet. Just sayin’.) ANYWAYS. Right from the get go, something is clearly amiss. They say that Aria got the memory loss because she overdosed on drugs, but she is clearly not the kind of girl who does that sort of thing. The fact that she even partially accepts that story completely boggled my mind.

I’m going to attempt not to make things any more obvious than they are, but I guessed the reason for Aria’s memory loss from the very first chapter. It was not entirely subtle, or even halfway concealed. If you can pick out YA clichés, you can pick out where this is going to go from a mile away.

You know what? I’m fine with novels that draw the readers to conclusions the narrator is too stupid to grasp right away. IF IF IF we don’t take too long before we bring the narrator in on the secret before you start screaming, “ARIA YOU IDIOT HE-LLO!” My major critique of this book is that it gave us a very obvious plot line and then took an overly long time to spell it out for Aria.

That being said, though, I am usually the first to critique slow pacing in a book and that’s not at all what happened here. Aria may have remained far too clueless for far too long, but there were ALWAYS things happening. I could almost, ALMOST forgive her slow brain because of the fast plot. Again, none of the revelations were particularly surprising for the most part, but they were presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. The plot was not complex, but I still enjoyed what I was reading.

The world building was also nice. I didn’t find too many obvious plot holes, but then it wasn’t particularly complicated, either. You have your mobster elite who rule the city, their supporters, regular people, and then you’ve got the mystics they drain to keep from being dangerous. I would have loved to have spent more time in the mystic underground than we did, but I guess that’s for the second book. And there was plenty of magic usage, so that makes me happy.

And, of course, let’s talk romance. Awkward semi-love triangle/square? Check. Clichéd lines? Check. It didn’t annoy me–which is a good mark!–but I certainly am not about to sing its praises, either.

The second half of the book is where it really gets interesting in places. It did manage to surprise me a few times, and I always love a good display of magic, especially when there’s fighting involved. 😛 There was a distinct attempt to give several characters depth, which I appreciated, but most of the characters–including Aria, Hunter and Thomas–remain fairly unimpressive. They were okay, yes, but just not very unique. Although, I must say Aria DOES pick up some heavy machinery in the final battle that is impressive, if a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t LOVE it, but I certainly liked it. It was a very fast read that was an enjoyable way to spend the day. If dystopian romance is you thing, then you might like this one! Actually, it reminded me very much of Matched by Ally Condie. (See my review HERE.) Very, very romance centric, but there is also plenty of guns and magic flying around. If you’re looking for a quick read with an easy plot that doesn’t require much thinking–EXACTLY what I wanted when I read this!–then this is for you!

The second and yet untitled book in the Mystic City series is slated for a 2013 release.

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Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

(Yes, I am aware that this is last week’s topic. I had this post done up but then things happened and I never got to posting it, and as you will see down below I am WAY behind on reviews SO– Here’s a feature on just how behind I am. :P)

So, I talk a LOT about my “have-but-need-to-read” shelf on Goodreads. It’s … long. And I’m behind on reviewing, so I have a LOT of books to get through. Here’s what’s coming at you this fall! …at least, the first ten of them.

1. Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Blog tour time! 😀 This post is coming at you this week, actually, on September 13. No, I don’t actually have it read yet – that’s what I’m going to go do RIGHT NOW, when this post is done. I’m that behind. >.>

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Being contacted to do this by the publisher was possibly the happiest day of my life. This hits the blog Sept 17 and I literally couldn’t be more excited. I’ve heard nothing but good things, and it just SOUNDS like the best thing.

3. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Another blog tour! This one coming at you Sept 20, and it promises to be awesome as well. Don’t know if you’ve checked it out yet, but it sounds rather Hunger Games-esque–which can either be a good thing or a bad thing, really, but you know. I’m excited, at least!

4. Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

I’ve been sitting on this one fore a while and it’s KILLING me. The review is finally coming out Sept 21 and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve sort of outgrown my dystopian fad for now, but this one still has so much potential I can’t pass it up. (Besides, I’ve been told it’s dystopian but it doesn’t SOUND dystopian.)

5. Crewel by Gennifer Albin

GUYS. GUYS. HAVE YOU NOT HEARD ABOUT THIS BOOK YET? Because now would be a FANTASTIC time to start. Not only am I reviewing this book on Sept 24, but I’m ALSO a part of the Crewel Street Team which is FANTASTIC. I’m so in love with this book that I’m not actually participating for the points thing; I’m just doing it for idea love and worship. I cannot WAIT to read this.

6. The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

I have high, high hopes for this one. It sounds really interesting. Of course, I could do without the “complusive love” bit in the synopsis on Goodreads, but you should all know how I feel about those. And, if you don’t, if you check out my review on Sept 27, you’ll hear about it, I’m sure. I can never NOT comment on insta-love.

7. My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

BLOG TOUR AGAIN! I’m reviewing book one of this series on Oct 1, but a whole bunch of other blogs are reviewing and otherwise featuring the two other books in the series as well. Sadly, I couldn’t get a handle on all three of them like I wanted. 😛

8. The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges

Do you know how awesome it is to have Random House email you and ask you to review an ARC? I know a whole bunch of people will tell you that happens to them all the time, but this is the FIRST time it’s happened to me and EEK! So happy. PLUS, not only am I reviewing this one on Oct 4, on Oct 5 I’ll have an interview with Robin Bridges AND a giveaway of The Unfailing Light coming at you and it will be THE BEST. 😀

9. Katya’s World by Jonathon L. Howard

This sounds darker than my average fare and I LIKE IT. I’ve been looking for something a little different, and I think this could be just the ticket. Review goes live Oct 8!

10. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I have been sitting on this one for FAR TOO LONG. I cannot wait to read it because it sounds SO SWEET. (Er, that’s a switch from Katya’s World… XD) I’ve heard good things, and I hope to add my own on Oct 12!

Stacking the Shelves #3

Welcome to My Life is a Notebook’s 3rd Stacking the Shelves, as hosted by Tynga’s Reviews! I have 6 books to share with you guys this week, plus tons of insider information on two blog tours (with giveaways!) and an ARC I’ve already read…

Bought:

Possess by Gretchen McNeil – Goodreads

Changeling by Philippa Gregory – Goodreads

For Review:

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang – Goodreads

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence – Goodreads

Blog Tour:

Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb – Goodreads

Amateur Angel by Karri Thompson – Goodreads

Top Ten Books I Have But Need To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

So, this week’s TTT is a freebie, so I chose a topic very close to my heart. We bloggers are used to our TBR lists being out of control – that’s normal! However, it is our CHOICE to make the list of books we need to review get out of control as well, and I have so definitely done so. So, I figure, I can tell you guys all about the books I need to get around to and maybe y’all can provide some encouragement or sympathy. Or, you know, laugh at me. (All title links go to Goodreads.)

1. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I don’t want to tell you how long I’ve had this one from NetGalley. However, since it isn’t published til November, I keep pushing it back in favor of reviews I have to get done first! Still, can’t wait to read this one. Sounds so good!

2. Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

This one isn’t so bad, because I did just get this from Edelweiss like yesterday. But still, I never should have requested it in the first place. Yet, I did. And I’m not sad about it at all. I’m way too intrigued by this.

3. Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Scholastics bombarded me on NetGalley the other day with THREE different review acceptances, when I’d requested the books all at different times. Oh how I’m not a fan of that. I already finished one of them, but I’ve still got this one and…

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE THIS. Just … eeeek! I’m dying to get started on this one, since it’s next in my que to go! 😀

5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

This one begins the books that isn’t from NetGalley or Edelweiss, but it’s still really important I read this one soon. Why? I’M GOING TO MEET THE AUTHOR. (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you guys all about it.) Speaking of which…

6. Fudoki by Kij Johnson

This is another author I’m going to be meeting, at the same event as Catherynne Valente. I’m going, by the way, to the Alpha Fantasy, Scifi and Horror Writing Workshop for Young Writers. It takes place in Pennsylvania and is SPECTACULARLY AWESOME. I will also be meeting John Joseph Adams and Tamora Pierce there.

7. Tithe by Holly Black

I got this in a book swap a few weeks ago for good reason: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan are doing a book signing in my area! I’ve read her stuff before, but I don’t own any of it, so I had to make sure I get on that. Oh, and actually reading this would be nice. Not to mention…

8. Valiant by Holly Black

This one as well! Thank you Vivien (@deadtossedwaves on Twitter) for making this possible! 😀

9. Morning Star by Desiree Finkbeiner

You guys may or may not remember that I interviewed Desiree a few months ago! Well, she also gave me an ecopy of her book the read and review at my leisure, and I’d like to make my leisure NOW because I’ve been dying to read this since she sent me the blurb! Still just haven’t gotten there, though.

10. Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Got this for my birthday because I’ve been dying to read it for FOREVER. I’m still taking my sweet time getting around to it, though! I wish I read so much faster.

BONUS ROUND! (Otherwise known as where I show you how insane I really am.)

Rounding out my have-but-need-to-read-list on Goodreads are:

Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson ~ Chime by Franny Billingsley ~ Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce ~ Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray ~ The Iron King by Julie Kagawa ~ Crescent Dawn by Clive Cussler ~ Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick ~ Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce