Toxic Heart by Theo Lawrence

Toxic Heart by Theo LawrenceSince Aria and Hunter started a rebellion in Mystic City, Aria has been in hiding outside the city while Hunter has been underground in the city leading the rebels. Aria is growing more and more restless because she misses her boyfriend and feels like she is not helping anyone by hiding out. When she is forced to return to the city and Hunter, she realizes that the Hunter she fell in love with has changed. Aria believes that he can still be the leader they need, and she tries to reunite the city rather than cause more destruction.

Mystic City was a really unique story so I was looking forward to reading this sequel. However, it seems that this book fell into the sophomore slump. The romance between Aria and Hunter, which basically drove the entire story of the first book, completely died in this book. Hunter was distant and cold and had a completely different personality than in the first book. He kept pushing Aria away and doing things that the old Hunter never would’ve even considered in order to win the rebellion. Basically, he became extremely unlikable.

Aria herself became kind of annoying also. She seemed even more naive in this book than in the first, and kept putting herself in obviously dangerous situations and then is shocked when her life is threatened. She wants the city to reunite and everyone to live in peace and harmony, which is all well and good but more than a little bit impossible. I was glad that she finally started learning to fight though, instead of relying on everyone else to save her all the time.

The story as a whole was a bit dragged out, with Aria basically searching the city for the heart of her dead mystic friend for much of the book. The whole book was basically Hunter telling Aria to stay put and do nothing and Aria going out and doing what she wants instead. The ending was definitely different than I expected, and I may still read the next book just to find out how it all ends.

Overall, Toxic Heart was not as good as the first book in the series. I was really surprised that Hunter, such a pivotal character from the first book, had such a diminished role in this one. The romance that was so important to the first book completely fell flat in this one, and I honestly don’t know what will happen in the next book.

Toxic Heart was released on April 8, 2014 and is the second book in the Mystic City series.

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Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

“It is dangerous, this face, this boy. And not simply because he’s a mystic, though that is danger enough. He already has a hold onĀ  me. I’m not sure if it’s attraction or fear. Or both.”

Mystic City is a fantastic debut novel by Theo Lawrence. In Mystic City, which is actually a futuristic New York City, global warming has caused the water to rise so much that the city streets are flooded. People eventually built the skyscrapers up even higher, so that the upper class of Mystic City lives above the flooded streets and travels from building to building in a sort of air train. The city is powered by energy from Mystics (people who possess magical powers) and the city is divided into East and West, with a different family ruling each side. Mystics are forced to be drained of their energy twice a year so that they are unable to revolt and use their powers on anyone else, and they are forced to live with the rest of the poor and destitute down on the flooded streets.

Aria Rose is the daughter of the ruling family on the West side of the city. She wakes up in the hospital, not knowing what has happened to her, and is told by her parents that she overdosed on mystic drugs and has amnesia. According to her parents, Aria had been carrying on a secret romance with Thomas Foster, the son of the ruling family on the East side of the city. When Aria was taken to the hospital, Thomas apparently told Aria’s parents about their relationship and that he wants to marry her. Even though the Fosters and the Roses have never gotten along, they both agree to join their families together and allow Thomas and Aria to get married. The only problem? Aria doesn’t remember even meeting Thomas, let alone carrying on a forbidden romance with him.

Aria knows that something fishy is going on and does not just take her family and Thomas’s word that she has been in love with him for months. She decides to discover the truth and find out why exactly her family is so desperate for her to marry the son of their sworn enemy. She ventures into the depths of the city for answers and meets Hunter, a rebel mystic who seems to know more about her than he’s letting on. She begins to realize that there is more at stake than just her memories and that her choices no longer affect just her, but the whole city.

Mystic City was full of fantastic plot twists and was a huge page turner. I really like Aria and how she grew from a girl who would just follow her parents’ orders without question to a girl who would defy her parents to uncover the truth. This book definitely hit home with me because global warming is becoming a bigger threat every day, and after what just happened up here with Hurricane Sandy flooding parts of Long Island and New York City it is not hard to believe that global warming could cause flooding and put the entire island of Manhattan underwater. It is definitely a scary thought and Mystic City was an interesting and frightening take on what could become of our city if it floods (magic and mystics aside). Overall this was a great debut for Lawrence and an interesting start to what promises to be a fantastic series.

Mystic City was released on October 9, 2012 and is the first of a series. The sequel, Renegade Heart, is due for release in 2013.