First of all, I have been SLACKING on my blogging. I’ve read Life of Pi by Yann Martel, in preparation for the movie, which I give 4 stars – the first 100 pages were a little rough to get through and I found myself thinking “Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of shipwreck at some point?” And then it happens. And suddenly you’re thrust into the middle of the ocean with a boy and a tiger in a lifeboat. And from that point forward I couldn’t have put the book down if I wanted to. Highly recommend!
I’ve also read Juliet by Anne Fortier. Also 4 stars. The only reason this book didn’t get 5 stars is because I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to like it before I read it. The ending seemed a little convenient and honestly the main character was a little hard to love. But the story was interesting enough and had everything I normally look for in a historical(ish) novel – flashbacks between past and present, an ancient yet lingering curse, deep dark secrets hidden within deep dark tunnels… it was all very Indiana Jones. I would definitely recommend it, but I wouldn’t put it on a pedestal.
LUCKILY I’ve read some really good books recently because Mystic City was a bit of a flop. Here’s why.
Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
The premise of this book is actually very interesting; it’s set in the not-so-distant future where global warming has increased to the point that all of Manhattan is under water and it’s residents have taken to the skies. Literally. The elites live in the Aerials, tall skyscrapers that tower above the city, and they never leave. The poor and impoverished live in the Depths where they’ve constructed rickety walkways above the ever rising water. For the most part these are normal people and, despite their futuristic setting, their technology hasn’t really increased too much (granted they get everywhere and pay for everything with a swipe of their finger but, big whoop, my dad has a finger swipe on his laptop). However, there are Mystics in the city – people with magical powers who are forced to live in the Depths, in what used to be Central Park. The “mayor” has demanded that all Mystics register with the city and be drained of their powers twice a year… enter Aria.
Aria is the main character, she is a member of the richest family in Manhattan. Aria is also naïve and a liiiiittle bit slow (in my opinion). Aria is told that she overdosed on Stic, a drug made from drained Mystic energy. She is told that her overdose caused her to lose part of her memory. She is told that she is in love with Thomas (a member of the opposing political family) and that they will be married right after the big election in which Thomas’s brother will become mayor and the two families will unite to rule with an iron fist. And, against her better judgment, she believes them (even though the truth is right in front of her). Enter Hunter.
Hunter is a rebel Mystic; he has never registered with the city, he has never been drained, he still has magic powers… which he uses to save Aria’s life several times as well as appear mysteriously on her balcony. Something about Hunter seems so incredibly familiar to Aria… but she just can’t place it. While everything about Thomas feels so wrong, everything about Hunter feels so damn right. She spends basically the ENTIRE book trying to figure out this mind-bending mystery. *rolls eyes*
Throughout the entire book I found myself getting increasingly more angry at all the characters for being so dang stupid. Hunter uses his magic powers to get out of a jam ONE TIME. Which would be great if he wasn’t getting himself into a jam in every other chapter. “Come on!” I would think. “Use your powers! You could escape so easily!” But no. In the meantime, while Aria is trying to figure out where her memories went, she is ignoring the obvious solution. In fact she waits until all hell breaks loose (which is partly, if not MOSTLY, her fault) to finally do the right thing. The thing she should have been doing all along.
However, I realize that easiest solution does not make for a good story. Despite my frustration and resentment towards the characters, there were some interesting and thrilling plot twists. As with every other teen book Mystic City promises to become a series. Perhaps, now that Aria has her head back on her shoulders, the second book will be more action packed and less… irritating. Go ahead and read it, even if only to prepare for what I hope will be a better sequel.