I can't lie, I stopped by the library on the way home from a run, and grabbed this book lightening fast due to rushing and a pretty cover. Imagine how pleased I was when it turned out to be a VERY enjoyable read while I watched my NCAA bracket fall to pieces.
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.
Originality: 5/7.5, it is in a way a retelling of Romeo and Juliette's story, but not in a sneaky way because at one point there are code names and they use R and J, but it is a story of class, feuding families, politics, love, and Manhattan (with some Gossip Girl style Upper West Side vs. Upper East Side tensions, and dont forget the East Village....)
Absurdity: 8. Ok, so there are mystics with power... fine accepted. but we never find out when this power developed how, who gets it, who doesn't... it is just plain old not explained which I just have a hard time overlooking. Give us some ANSWERS, when world building you can't explain it all, but I need a little more.
Paranormal Romance: 8. Forgotten memories, fancy balls, baffling clues of her past life, Aria is in deep with the paranormal romance, with some excellent steamy kisses and motorcycle rides with the bad boys of slums.
HarryPottery-ness: 7. Perhaps not the most solid of story concepts, I was still able to get swept up in their R&J/Gossip Girl-lite/5th Elementish story about first love. New Yorkers will enjoy the city in a climate change world where the lower streets are flooded and gondolas replace taxis and there is a lot of sweat. Though, come to think of it, NYC with more sweat in the summer sounds like a version of hell.
AND.... the author is a 29 year old guy from Columbia/Fordham! Very neat Theo, very neat.