Few of you may actually know this about me, but I am a huge comic book fan. Now, normally…this fun (and completely random) fact has very little impact on my obsession with literature. Let’s just say they are more of a “visual stimulation” (hot dudes, incredible powers, inexplicably obsessed with one woman…tights.) Rarely (if ever) do they pop into my head while I’m reading. So imagine my surprise when, then entire time I’m reading Theo Lawrence’s novel “Mystic City,” all I can think of is Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. It’s not all that far-fetched, I assure you. Just take a look at the cover art. See all those twinkly shiny spires in the background? Tada…crystal fortress! (See, not random. Ok…maybe a little random.) Of course they aren’t actually crystals (they are something much more depressing) but have no fear…there is still a cute boy (minus the tights) with magical powers!
“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.”
Much like the story of Superman (geez…I am really trying to hold on to this comparison) Mystic City (which, for the record used to be Manhattan until it ended up underwater) has two very defined characteristics to it. Good vs. Evil.
Aria, having a very vague idea of who she is (or anything that has happened to her in the past few weeks) wakes up to find herself inundated with two questions:
Who are the bad guys?
Where do my loyalties lie?
But, it’s not just Aria’s journey to discover “herself” that drives the story, it’s the elitist mentality of the people around her, and the ungodly lengths they are willing to go to protect their
money future, that propels the story into hyper-speed. This story is not just Aria’s. It’s the story of the rich, the poor, the mistreated, the misunderstood and the enslaved. This is a story of what happens when the mob meets magic in a classic dystopian setting.
As for Lawrence’s characters… I was impressed. While Aria could have very easily been written as a pushover due to her circumstances, she generally withheld judgement until she heard both sides of the story. Allowing her to exude a strength even her parents were wise to take notice of. Thomas and Hunter both had the makings of A-typical male protagonist, yet they both (at one point of another) did something so unselfish that I was taken aback by their bravery. (Doesn’t mean that I like both of them…it just illustrates the expert writing ability of Lawrence.) In some stories, the characters take center stage and cast shadows on the plot that surrounds them. In this case, I think they added color to them.
Two thumbs up to a book I read in one sitting and am eagerly awaiting the sequel to. It’s time that magic makes a come back and this is the perfect book to do so.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Family is supposed to build each other up, not tear each other down.
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