Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Mystic City

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Mystic City

Mystic City
by Theo Lawrence
Expected Publication Date: October 9, 2012
by Delacorte BFYR

Source: ARC provided by Random House as part of KidLitCon 2012. Please see my FTC disclosure here.





My summary: Aria lives in a futuristic Manhattan, a city in which global warming has turned the streets into canals and sent the rich to live high above the city in the Aerie as the disenfranchised Mystics huddle in the Depths below. Aria, a privileged resident of the Aerie, has amnesia. She can't remember falling in love with Thomas, the son of her father's political rival. She can't remember his proposal. But after a chance encounter with Hunter, a Mystic, Aria begins to remember snippets of her past -- secrets that someone is hoping she never remembers.

My take: I think my favorite part of this book was the futuristic world in which it takes place. Mystic City is another of those YA hybrids: a post-apocalyptic dystopian romance with minor fantasy and sci-fi elements. If I had to pitch it as a mash-up, I'd call it Matched + Gossip Girl  with hints of Romeo and Juliet and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The dystopic-fantasy elements come into play with the Mystics -- people with special powers who are forced to have their mystical energy drained every two years so it can be used to fuel the city.

I also loved the whole East Side vs. West Side political rivalry that's set up in the book. A bit of that already exists in Manhattan already and it serves to strengthen the whole Romeo and Juliet theme. Aria and Thomas are children of two different political dynasties who are now joining forces against political unrest from the lower classes. There are lots of furtive meet-ups on balconies, something I am completely in favor of!

The post-apocalyptic aspect of the book has to do with the flooding of Manhattan and the resulting devastation. A while back, I posted about the fact that, to me, the scariest post-apocalyptic stories are the ones that I could actually picture happening.  New York City has a lot of low-lying areas and Manhattan is surrounded by water. Yes, I could picture the whole Manhattan-becomes-Venice scenario that's set up here.

As a heroine, Aria starts off a little bit passive. She's rich and sheltered and sort of terrorized by her father. Gradually, she comes to develop more strength of will. You might read my synopsis and think, uh-uh, love triangle. Don't worry. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that there isn't one. Aria only feels a connection to one of the guys, not both.

I'd say the only part of the book that didn't quite work for me is that the Mystics' magic is explained bit by bit and, at times, felt like a plot device that got characters out of sticky situations unscathed. But there are also some truly chilling moments -- Aria describes her father as "leader of thugs" and let's just say she was not exaggerating. By the end, there was some resolution of events, but it seemed to me that the ending of Mystic City left things open for a sequel.

Tell me in comments: how do you feel about literary hybrids?

And ... tomorrow this ARC will be part of my Hot off the Presses giveaway!

47 comments:

  1. I LOVE literary hybrids and the way you pitched it as a mashup has me dying to read this one!

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  2. This sounds really good, I wasn't really sure if I would pick this book up but I think I'll give it a shot. Great review! :)

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  3. I love literary hybrids too! Matched, Gossip Girl, and Romeo and Juliet are all stories I enjoy playing with and your review makes me so excited to dive into this!

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    1. The mash-up worked for me -- I really enjoyed it.

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  4. This one sounds really good. I love literary hybrids because it brings something new and fresh. I think that it makes it easier to be creative with things which keeps all of us who read a lot interested. I am going to be reading this very soon. Thanks for the fab review.

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    1. I completely agree -- glad you're going to read it and let me know what you thought!

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  5. Yes I like hybrids! Throw in all kinds of good elements! I agree that the scariest apocalyptic books are ones that I can see happening! But a Venice Manhattan sounds kind of cool. lol Glad there is no love triangle. Based on the synopsis I kind of figured her family tricked her into believing she was in love with him when she probably isn't. Anything part Gossip Girl is a win. Last season starts tonight! hehe This sounds like a fantastic read and I'm glad Aria becomes so strong and stands up to her family to get the answers she needs.

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    1. I think you would like this book! Yeah, Venice Manhattan sounds kind of cool to someone who likes to float around in a raft!!!

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  6. Now I want to read this book! Thanks for the review and for sharing!

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  7. I am down with the hybrids. And I can admit that I have read all the Gossip Girl books with little shame. ;)

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    1. I read the first one with no shame at all. I thought it was good -- and somewhat different from the series. Then I fell behind...

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  8. Great review, Jen! I love it when an author mixes things up in a book AND I love a good dystopian where it actually feels like real events. AWESOME!

    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. To me, this did feel realistic -- perhaps because it takes place close to home!

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  9. I am LOVING this new "trend' in genre mash-ups (I'm writing a discussion post about it in fact!) so that's exciting to read that Mystic City falls under this as well.

    I have this on my Kindle and I am really looking forward to reading it:)

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  10. So far I've enjoyed literary hybrids, the one that comes to mind is Starters, which I loved. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more genre mash ups! Mystic City sounds like one I want to read for sure =)

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    1. Yeah-- Starters is kind of sic-fi-thriller-dystopian. I like the mash-ups!

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  11. I don't think I have read anything with hybrids but the concept intrigues me. I'm looking forward to reading this one. The Romeo and Juliet aspect is what hooks me the most. :)

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    1. That part of it was good. I'm a sucker for forbidden love!!!!

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  12. Awesome review! Mystic City does sound pretty cool. I love dystopians, and this hybrid thingie sounds like something I'd enjoy!

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  13. Literary hybrids can be exciting when they work well.

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  14. First- I love the cover. Second- I love a good hybrid, mostly because I feel like an author can't commit to one world well anyway. you may as well throw a little but of this,a little bit of that to mix it up and make it more fun :) Thanks for the great review! I will be adding Mystic City to my TBR list!

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    1. Sometimes genre books can be forumlaic, so I love the hybrids!

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  15. I enjoyed this book but I felt like it took a while for the action to really get going, once it did though the book got pretty dang good and I'm excited to see what Lawrence does with the sequel.

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    1. True -- but I liked the worldbuilding so I didn't mind!

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  16. Great review! I've been dying to read this book forever. I love that it's a hybrid - it makes it all the more intriguing!

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    1. I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed it!

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  17. The cover, your review, the name Aria, well now I want to read the book!

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    1. Dang -- I forgot to mention the cover, which is gorgreous!

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  18. Jen this book looks amazing! Thanks for the great review :)

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  19. Awesome review! I've been wanting to read this book for a while. I'm really glad you enjoyed it, hopefully I will too! As for literary hybrids, they are awesome! Those books are usually the best ones.

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  20. Fantastic review..love the east/west analogy. The world building rocked for me.

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    1. Yes -- the East West rivalry in NYC is REAL!!!

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  21. I love literary hybrids! :) I guess on example that I can think of is Stormdancer - it's Steampunk with dystopian and fantasy elements. :) Love that this Mystic City has dystopic-fantasy elements. I'm sure I'll enjoy this. Great review!

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  22. I was hooked by the Goodreads description: "Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush". Yes please, sign me up!

    Excited to read this one!

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  23. Mystic City sounds like an incredible *mash-up* of all the best elements possible! <3

    And yeah, it's almost TOO easy to imagine lower lying metro areas like Manhattan eventually becoming seriously flooded if not submerged. According to science, roughly 12K years ago the US east coast and Great Britain were both far more extensive out into the Atlantic. O-0

    Anyhoo, excellent review and I can't wait to read this!
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

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    1. Yeah, Mary, just scare the crap out of me!!!
      Off to practice holding my breath in the tub!

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  24. Good review, so far I've enjoyed literary hybrids, so i can imagine that i will enjoy to read this

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  25. I've been wanting to read this, and I'm happy that you pointed out that there isn't really a love triangle! Love these mash up genre books too!

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