Publication Date: October 9th 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Scifi, Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
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.
I am going to admit that I read the back of Mystic City, looked at the taglines and wasn't entirely sure how I felt about it. On one hand "Yes! Dystopia! Oo! Messing with memories!" and on the other hand "Oh god, not the true love beats all tagline." Don't get me wrong, I like corny (I am quite a fan of Hunter's rendition of the "Flying Dachshund"), but most of the books toting that tagline are not well written or at least written in an enjoyable way that I can take seriously.
As I began to read however, I began to really enjoy the world being created here. I think of it as an Alternate Universe, X-men type world where they came out, them being the Mystics. In shows and comics where people with powers come out there is always the whole "normal people will not accept us" but as they are usually "beginnings" stories, we never quite see what would happen if people didn't accept them due to fear and prejudice. Mystic City is that world.
The plot itself follows the daughter of one of the major politicians who have been pushing down the Mystics and using their powers to fuel the city. She wakes up with no memories and is told that she had had a drug overdose, but before than had revealed that she had been sneaking around with her father's political rival and are now engaged, a true Romeo and Juliet story… right?
I really enjoy the idea of telling the story after the true courting already happened. It also takes care of that pesky insta-love issue Young Adult Romance books tend to have. It also gave the main character, Aria, a good sense of paranoia to begin with, instead of a naïve rich girl that she could have been.
There are many parts that the mystery is completely obvious, but there are others that took me completely by surprise. The pacing is well done, and the end had me gripped. I don't know if there's sequel planned, but honestly I wish the book had gone further, setting up for Aria's next step as opposed to just rehashing the aftermath.
Overall this book was not the most amazing book I've read in my life that blew my mind, but I also enjoyed it and I'll probably read it again at sometime and recommend it to friends who enjoy a bit of romantic escapism.