Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Mystic City, by Theo Lawrence

Title: Mystic City (Mystic City #1)
Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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. 
Manhattan is not what it once was. The corrupt rulers and upperclass live in the luxury of the Aeries, with it’s skyscrapers floating high above the eroding landscape below. The technology of the city runs completely on an energy drained and collected from the registered Mystics, the magic-wielding lower-class forced to live in the poverty of the Depths. 

We’re immediately introduced to Aria Rose, the daughter of one of the two ruling families of the city. She finds herself engaged to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies, without any memory of meeting him, much less falling in love with him. She’s told the gaps in her memory are due to her alleged Stic, a drug created by Mystic energy, overdose. Their union will erase the division between the two political rivals and ensure they retain their possession of power. Romeo and Juilet, anyone? Yeah, not so much. As Aria struggles with regaining her memory and believing in her “passionate” romance, she meets Hunter, a rebel Mystic from the Depths, and discovers the world she was forced to forget.
- - - 
I’m not even going to pretend to not judge a book by it’s cover. I mean, just look at it, it’s gorgeous. Possibly one of my favorites, ever. And the premise of this book was wonderful. It had all the elements of an exciting story - dystopia, magic, romance. Also, I am actually obsessed with New York City, so I was really interested as I began reading. I thought the author did a great job a painting a vivid picture of the revamped city, referencing streets and specific Manhattan landmarks. Other than that, I felt as though there wasn’t much depth to the story or characters. 

While the book was written from Aria’s point of view, I didn’t feel as though we had much insight into her feelings or emotions. There was only a few times when we saw her get passionate about something or stand-up for herself. Oh, and she was extremely naive and gullible, and that was slightly irritating. 

I’m not gonna complain about the story being predictable, because I sort of had an idea of what was gonna happen before I even began the story. However, I thought there could have been a plot twist or two to keep things interesting. The vibrant world-building is definitely the highlight of this book. Despite the unlikable characters and shallow relationships, I was compelled to see where the story was going to go and finish the book. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommended for: Fans of X-Men, the dystopian genre, and Romeo and Juliet like retellings.
Review also posted via GoodReads and Tumblr

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Title: Requiem (Delirium #3)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.
Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing.
Going into this book, I was actually kind of terrified to read it. Saying goodbye to such a beautiful story is always difficult. After finishing it, I knew I’d have to take awhile before writing a review on it, because otherwise this is what that review would have looked like:


Now that I have reeled in my emotions (At least trying to. Don’t judge me, okay?!) I can give you guys an honest and [somewhat] rational review. Without giving too much away for those of you who haven’t read it yet!

(But you probably shouldn’t read this if you haven’t read Pandemonium)

In the third and final installment of the Delirium series, the dual narrative provides us with insight into two totally different worlds; we get to experience Hana’s new life with the cure and Lena’s struggle in the Wilds.
Requiem begins shortly after Pandemonium’s bombshell ending and Lena is faced with a decision - her past or her present. There’s Alex, the golden-eyed Invalid from the Wilds; the one who taught her to love. But he’s not the same boy that read her poetry under the stars. He’s changed - hardened from his capture. He returns to the Wilds, stunned to find that Lena has moved on and his cold actions break her heart even more. (More on Alex later!) Then, there’s Julian, the boy who abandoned everything he believed in and followed Lena to the Wilds.

I have to admit, I was totally boycotting Lena’s relationship with Julian inPandemonium, but he grew on me in Requiem. He handled her situation with complete understanding and grace - I found that to be so admirable! He was so sweet throughout Requiem and I could tell he loved Lena, but I didn’t feelthe connection on her end since Alex’s return. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much interaction between Lena and Alex in >Requiem. This was one of my major complaints. Pandemonium left us with a huge cliffhanger when we found out that Alex was alive. So naturally, I expected such a pivotal character in this series to have a bigger role in the final book. He didn’t. And that bums me out, guys. A lot. Where is the compassionate, auburn haired boy that we all fell more in love with every time we turned a page in Delirium?! UGH. Ending my Alex rant now. (I’m Team Alex, if you couldn’t tell)

And although this book was centered around love and fighting for the freedom to have that choice, there wasn’t much romance in the finale. I would have liked to see more relationship development (be it Tack and Raven’s, or Lena and whoever’s)

As for Hana’s chapters, I wasn’t sure how I felt about them initially. I thought they were rather boring at first - talking mainly of her engagement to the new mayor and explaining her indifference to things she once cared about. We get to take a peek into the mind of someone who has undergone the cure. As Hana discovers the frightening secrets of her husband-to-be, her world begins to turn upside down. I realized I was just as hooked on Hana’s story as I was Lena’s and couldn’t wait to see if they would meet again.
I felt like the story was going wonderfully until I realized I didn’t have many pages left and we were just getting to the main action - we were just getting to know Lena’s mom, Hana was beginning to accept and act on her feelings, and Lena hadn’t made a decision between Alex or Julian. Then, guess what? A few pages later, the book ends…


I know some people loved the ending. Some people hated it. I don’t know how I feel about it. I NEED CLOSURE, GUYS. I love these characters, I need to know what happened to them?! SPOILER ALERT » (What happened to Hana after she just WALKS OFF? Where did Alex go when Lena leaves him to go help tear down the wall? Did she even really make a decision? AND WTF. RAVEN?! *throws book out of window* I’m not sure about any of this.) « SPOILER ALERT But while I was sobbing uncontrollably and freaking out frustrated right after I read it, I still understand that Lauren Oliver wanted the Delirium series to live on instead of just ending it completely inRequiem, and I can appreciate that.

Rating: 4/5
Review also posted via GoodReads and Tumblr