This is a book that I’ve had on my shelf for quite a few years now, but like so many, it was left on my shelf until now. Being less into YA than I used to be, I was a little worried starting Mystic City, but it was better than I expected it to be.
Our story begins following Aria Rose, the daughter of one of the two biggest rivals in New York. She is in love with Thomas Foster, the son of one of her family’s rival. But together, the star crossed lovers have brought the feuding families together to bring peace to the city, and rule side by side. Supposedly.
Aria wakes up with a huge gap in her memory and can’t remember anything of Thomas, only shadows. Everyone tells her she loves him, why shouldn’t she believe them? But when she meets Hunter, a rebel mystic from the depths, her memories slowly start coming back to her. And nothing is making sense. She’s been told all of her life what is right and what is wrong. But what if those were lies? She must decide for herself, and her choices will go on to determine the future of New York.
Set in the future, in a world where global warming would have destroyed the world if not for mystics, magical beings whose power is harnessed to keep it all running, the concept itself is extremely interesting. The mystics themselves feel like a mix between warlocks and mutants, a pretty spectacular combination. But we see so little of them in the novel as a whole, and the politics and trivial worries of Mystic City are far from exciting.
This book is filled with twists. Many of them I saw coming, but there were a few that did come out of nowhere, giving a slight balance. Hunter, and the few other mystics we met were interesting and decently developed, and I only wish we had spent more time following them. As a protagonist, I found Aria Rose lacking a lot. She seemed to be a very stereotypical heroine, though heroine is a title she doesn’t deserve. While some of the things that happen to her are terrible, a lot of the book feels a little…spoiled. She’s a part of one the richest families in New York, living away from the heat and the poverty, and she seems really ignorant about the fact that the rest of the world suffers as much as it does. Not only is she naive, but she makes very poor decisions. Her naivety makes her appear less than intelligent on more than one occasion, and as a lead, she doesn’t inspire much love.
That being said, the premise itself along with the mystics are enough of a draw for me to give the second book a chance. My best hope is that Aria smartens up and that we see much more of the mystics than the spoiled Rose and Foster families and supporters. I’d give this book a solid 2.5, or maybe 3 out of 5. But until I read the sequel, I’m not sure I would recommend it.