Date of Publication: October 9 2012
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.
Oh my. If I was snarkier and more clever, this would be a review for the ages. Mystic City was sort of a train wreck. It failed at almost every category, except it was entertaining. You know when you watch those awful cheesy horror movies and it's obviously awful quality but you watch it for fun and to see where the ridiculousness leads? That's what I thought of Mystic City.
However as bad as Mystic City is, there's nothing offensive about it. I never once harboured too much negativity towards the novel because I was asking to be entertained and it did just that, even if the quality of said entertainment left a lot to be desired. Also, there's nothing that flunks the book singularly in terms of plot, characters, or world. Collectively it's bad, but individually it's all pretty meh.
I'll give a little rundown of the story. Mystic City is about a futuristic New York where people called mystics have magical powers that normal people are terrified of so much that they drain them of their powers which help run much of the flooded, broken down city. The city has been divided into two elite political groups, the Fosters and the Roses who used to hate each other. But now there's a third group that wants equality for everybody lead by a mystic who seems to be gaining popularity, so the Fosters and the Roses feud is ended by their children, Thomas and Aria's star-crossed romance. Except Aria can't remember anything (including her love for Thomas) since she OD'd on a drug made from mystic energy called Stic.
This sets up the story for quite a lot of drama, in the style of a sitcom. It's quite entertaining actually because it doesn't make any sense at all.
Aria is pretty like a princess. She's sweet, kind, smart, brave, sociable... She's way too perfect to be believable and lacks a personality. She's a collection of adjectives, not a person, and incredibly predictable at that. Aria is also incredibly annoying. She takes crazy risks and nothing bad ever happens to her. She's rebellious but is silenced by her father's look. She is smart except she has never done anything with her life to this point until a guy came into it. She has no past and falls into instalove, with friends that make no sense.
These friends are both also rich. Kiki is such a cliché. She's rich, Aria's friend since forever, kind of fierce, and all she cares about are clothes and looking good. There was absolutely no substance to her personality. Same with the other friend, Benni (I think that's her name. She was so unmemorable I don't even care to remember her). The friends had no purpose other than to accompany Aria places, make Aria seem vastly more mature than she actually was, and to prove that Aria was likable.
Aria's character and relationships had no depth whatsoever. What's funny is that there actually is a family in this book except there may as well not be because they have no history or bonds. Aria's life just seems so insignificant until a certain point that I won't spoil, except it was obvious.
This is another issue. I don't see any possible way that you couldn't guess exactly what would happen in this book. Everything was incredibly obvious, especially the mystery due to Aria's lost memories. Thus, there is no suspense. Just a lot of giggling as Aria acts hilariously oblivious until she finds something out, and then she says everything makes sense. No. It doesn't. It's overly dramatic and ridiculous. The characters have no depth and the plot no nuances. The only one plot event that semi-surprised me was one of the characters at the end, and I couldn't even feel betrayed because it was way too easy of a plot twist and the character became evil in like, five minutes, what with their evil laugh and machine guns.
Of course people die. You can't even feel sorry for them because Aria doesn't. She almost does, but oh, they sacrificed themselves for her and she owes it to them to make sure their sacrifice isn't for vain. And why would anyone die so easily?
The thing that got closest to truly pissing me off was the world building and the politics. The world is ridiculous. They have "TouchMe"s or whatever, and apparently Twitter still exists even though it wasn't mentioned once. It's a futuristic world with no cameras or microphones in rooms, which is just BS. There are TVs and the technology is just a massive fail. Also, they collapse buildings for fun, which is actually cool in a creepy way, except when you hear that sometimes, people don't get the message and are still inside it as it collapses and then they die.
Also, while there is supposed to be such a divide between the rich and the poor, I don't see it. Okay, Aria lives up high and has nice clothes and food. The only poor people we ever meet are either drug addicts, or they have motorcycles.
The politics especially had me facepalming. PEOPLE ARE NOT THAT IDIOTIC. Gosh, I hate how little credit voters get and books like this don't help. Mystic City pretends that there is a good side and a bad side even if I have heard NO concrete plans promising any sort of change. They're selling ideals, not ideas, and the fact that no ideas are actually set forth kills me a little because how can you actually trust them? Maybe they're just as bad as what you have already.
I could probably go on, but I don't want to. This book failed in many ways. I can't even mention some of the most ridiculous aspects without spoiling. The story is not believable. The characters have no depth. The plot is ridiculous. It's entertaining, sure, but I want more quality entertainment. Alas, I can't imagine wanting to read the sequel.
I feel it's necessary to offer the disclaimer that this is just my subjective opinion. Maybe there are people that thought Mystic City to be incredibly well thought out and stuff. I'm not one of them. 1 heart.