I get a little concerned when a post-apocalyptic or dystopian book adds additional element. My thinking is that isn’t an environmental disaster or totalitarian government enough to provide action, suspense and an interesting storyline? So when I started reading Mystic City by Theo Lawrence I was prepared to be bothered by the additional element of mystics and magic – yet overall it worked.
Aria Rose is the daughter of a sort of mafia family that controls half of New York in a not too distant future. The city is divided between the 1% like Aria’s family, and the 99% who eke out a bare existence in the old city…all the rich have moved into skyscrapers called the Aeries. It was the mystics with their magic powers that saved the cities of the U.S. by building the Aeries and other infrastructures, it is explained that people with magic have always existed but been feared as demons or burned at the stake like witches, so they kept themselves out of the public eye until global warming got bad enough that they felt they must use their powers to save the country. Yet they have been banished to the Depths and are forced to have their magic drained from them. During the Conflagration before Aria was born, the mystics supposedly set off a bomb that killed innocent people. Not all the mystics register as they are supposed to and have their powers drained, some have become rebels.
Aria recently woke up in the hospital experiencing memory loss. She has been told she had overdosed on Stic, a drug made from mystic power. She can’t remember any of her relationship with Thomas Foster, her fiancée and the son of New York’s other powerful dynasty, who until the engagement was her family’s biggest enemy. Aria does her best to be the dutiful daughter and to slip back into her Sex and the City lifestyle with her closest friends, but something feels off. She is troubled by the mysterious locket in her possession and a piece of paper on which the word ‘Remember’ is written – that’s the problem, she can’t remember any of her secret affair with Thomas and feels like a phony posing for photo ops by the press since the story of the two families uniting through her marriage is the biggest headline of the day.
One night she decides to spend some time alone with Thomas, but since her parents are so overprotective she plans to sneak out and cross the city through the Depths before ascending back into the Aeries to Thomas’s family home. With her expensive clothes is an easy target for some rough teens who recognize her and resent her pampered lifestyle. As they attack her she finds herself rescued by the mysterious Hunter, who obviously is one mystic who hasn’t had his powers drained and she warms to him despite the fact that they should be enemies. Hunter makes sure she safely returns to the Aeries and Aria arrives at Thomas’s home only to be caught by her father and subjected to another mysterious visit with a doctor, though she thinks she may be recovering as she is beginning to feel memories of Thomas coming back, but there is something odd about them.
The truth about Aria’s past and how she ended up in the hospital is something you will have to read the book to find out.