Mystic City: Review
I’ve read several mixed reviews on this one, and I will admit I can see where all of them are coming from. Some found the book confusing, some loved it, some hated it. I’m happy to say that I liked it a lot more than I loathed it.
The story is a bit complex (which in my opinion is a good thing) and handled well. Aria is the youngest daughter of the Rose family, one of Mystic City’s most powerful families. The Roses have a longstanding political rivalry with the Fosters. Think of it as a sort of futuristic Montague and Capulet rivalry. Both families rule heavily in Mystic City (a futuristic Manhattan), often through questionable means (they’re more like a Mob than law-abiding power figures).
When Aria wakes up after overdosing on a substance known as Stic, she has very little recollection of her past, and more surprisingly, how it is she became betrothed to Thomas Foster. She’s surprised to find that both families are at peace with the betrothal, and have agreed to put their family feud to rest should the two be married. They believe this will bring peace to the city and help them rise above the Mystics (magical humans who have the ability to do things like walk through walls, manipulate their surroundings, morph into things — think X-men). Regular humans fear the Mystics, yet they rely heavily on them. Mystics are drained of their powers regularly to supply the city with energy. It’s part of a long-standing agreement, but one several Mystics are not happy about.
As Aria tries to piece together her fragmented memory, she begins to unravel a web of deceit deeper than even she could have imagined. Searching for answers in the lower levels of Mystic, Aria meets a young man named Hunter who seems very familiar to her and conjures feelings that she should feel for Thomas. Hunter may hold the secrets she looks for, but the truth could cost her, and several others, their lives.
As I mentioned before, the story is a little complex, but I really liked it. The world is dark and gritty and dangerous, and the characters complex and engaging. It touches on themes of discrimination and acceptance and is a great study in power struggles in politics.
I did notice a few consistency problems, but this was an ARC and I’m sure they’ll be fixed before publication. I enjoyed the writing and the story. This is one I would recommend to lovers of fantasy and sci-fi. It also has a nice romance that even I was able to buy into. I will definitely buy a copy of this for my shelves.