Rich and Ensnaring: A Review of MYSTIC CITY by Theo Lawrence

Mystic City (Mystic City, #1) MYSTIC CITY
Theo Lawrence
416 pages
Publisher: RandomHouse
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher

For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever..

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.

   In a world where global warming is reeking havoc – raising sea levels and temperatures to unbelievable highs, Aria Rose prepares for marriage. Rich families like hers live in the Aeries, high above the filthy Depths where the dangerous Mystics roam. As the daughter of one of Manhattan’s two most important (and rivaling) families, Aria should be ecstatic and excited to be with the boy she risked everything for. Why shouldn’t she be?

   She’s supposed to be madly in love with the son of her father’s worst enemy. But that’s the thing. She’s supposed to be. Because when she wakes up after a drug overdose, she doesn’t remember anything. At all. And suddenly, things don’t add up. Things don’t make sense. And suddenly, lies begin to slip from almost everyone’s lips.

   With fantasy and hints of dystopia, MYSTIC CITY had me ensnared from the moment I set eyes on the gorgeous cover. Like it’s cover, the interior of MYSTIC CITY is full of richness – in the writing, in the world, and even in Aria. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a simplicity to it all that makes everything just so much better. Oddly, Theo Lawrence’s debut was vaguely reminiscent of Bethany Griffin’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. I’m not entirely sure why I found myself comparing the two, because MYSTIC CITY is completely, and utterly unique.

   There were times when I found the plot mildly predictable. Stripped bare, it seemed like the same old story – during the first half of the book. But soon, Aria’s world tipped, and I fell with her. Nothing was as it seemed. No one was who they said they were.

   While I ending up liking the story more than I expected to, the fact that I didn’t connect to Aria wholly still nags at me whenever I think of MYSTIC CITY. Her dialogue could be described as bland at times, and her character, simply washed out. But then again, the whole world of MYSTIC CITY has that washed-out effect to it. Hazy, muddled, and hidden under a mist.

   In the end, I have to say I really enjoyed MYSTIC CITY, especially because the concept of the novel is pretty unique. Theo Lawrence’s debut is rich, ensnaring, and kept me hooked until the last page was turned with a plot that kept moving.

Add MYSTIC CITY to Goodreads
Find Theo on Twitter


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Amber Elise

    October 13, 2012

    I love that you used the word “ensnared!” :) Sounds like a great read, even if it is a little predictable.

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  2. Reply

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

    October 13, 2012

    Yayyyyy I really liked this one as well!! It was such a great read. I can't wait to see what she's going to come up with next :) I do agree with you about the predictability of some things, but I still loved it :P

  3. Reply


    October 13, 2012

    I love the cover and concept of Mystic City. I hope it lives up to my expectations!

  4. Reply


    October 13, 2012

    I am absolutely loving the sound of this book. It has a mixture of just what I'm looking for. I bet I'll love it :D

  5. Reply


    October 14, 2012

    *Hazy, muddled, and hidden under a mist* – WOW!
    That's one of the best descriptions I've read in a long time,
    you need to be writing a dystopian! <3
    Anyhoo, Mystic City sounds & looks great,
    it's already on my wish list lol ;D
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

  6. Reply

    Jesse Burgoyne

    October 14, 2012

    The cover totally got me hooked too! Haven't read it yet, so I'm glad to hear you really liked it :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

  7. Reply

    Kailia Sage

    October 14, 2012

    I loved the cover when I saw it so I'm glad that the story was good too! I'm not the biggest fan of predictable plots but I guess I can live with that! Great review!

  8. Reply

    Sara (of the Page Sage)

    October 14, 2012

    “But soon, Aria's world tipped, and I fell with her. Nothing was as it seemed. No one was who they said they were.”
    Mystic City seems intriguing and amazing! I'll definitely have to get my hands on this one!

  9. Reply


    October 15, 2012

    I really loved this one. I know that it was hard for her to piece things together but I don't think she had enough information so it didn't bother me much. I loved the setting and world and loved that Aria didn't do what she told. And I thought the romance was great. I had a lot figured out but I didn't feel like it was suppose go be a secret.

  10. Reply

    Jaime Lester

    October 16, 2012

    I am very much looking forward to Mystic City. And that amazing cover might have just an itty bit to do with it. The story itself does sound very intriguing. I have heard some mixed reviews about it, which is definitely disappointing, but this is one that I will read regardless of the reviews it gets. It has been on my radar for far too long for me to kick it off now. Thanks for the great review!

  11. Reply


    October 17, 2012

    Not sure how you really felt about the book. I know what you mean by”. It's hard to describe, but there's a simplicity to it all that makes everything just so much better”! Those are the books that keep me reading.

  12. Reply

    Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf

    October 17, 2012

    It does sound like such a unique concept…but I worry about the inability to connect to the characters or setting…

  13. Reply

    Christina K.

    October 31, 2012

    LOVE how this is a blend of different styles and a retelling! The society seems so unique:)

  14. Reply

    Jennifer Messerschmidt

    February 23, 2013

    The world building sounds really interesting in this one. I'm guessing they wanted to trick their daughter into thinking she was in love with the enemy's son to create an alliance?! I am curious to know what all is lies and why the mystics are considered so dangerous.