Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Delacorte Press, 2012
YA Fantasy Romance
Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
This book grabbed me with its cover and further pulled me in with its one page prologue. It was a great start that was not entirely sustained but kept me well enough entertained to put the second book on my to-read list.
After the prologue, we jump back in time opening on Aria as a real-life Juliet, engaged to be married to the son of her family's biggest rival. However Aria has no memory of seeking through the depths of the city falling in love with Thomas, having overdosed weeks ago or so she's been told (honestly it's pretty obvious that she's being lied to especially if you've ever read a book before). All she knows is that this marriage will unite the wealthy and powerful as they fight off a threat from the magical lower-classes (the mystics who are largely under control but who also exist outside of the government's thumb).
But those troubling non-memories continually plague Aria with her confusion only multiplying after meeting mystic Hunter. He seems to fit the Romeo bill far better than Thomas but the machinations of her family run deep. Since one of my favorite plot elements is the role of family, I loved exploring that side. As is made explicitly clear to Aria by her father, family comes first: "If you do not choose your family, Aria, then we do not choose you" (pg 121, ARC-will need to check with finished copy to confirm accuracy). I can't begin to explain all my love for this but it's just so good. It made me think of All These Things We've Done and the family there although of course there are many differences between the stories.
On a more humorous note, I loved Aria's attempts to sneak through the underground of the city. She has one of the most famous faces in the city (made even more so by her "romantic" love story) and zero skills, getting recognized, caught, harassed, and/or chased every time. Girl may not be very bright (her memories have been tampered with after all) but she is very persistent. I'm not sure if the author meant to portray her as a bit incompetent or if that's just my reading after so many YA novels with similar sneaking arounds.
Some other elements of note would be action and romance. The beginning is a bit slow with Aria struggling with her memories but the ending has a lot of movement and revelations. The romance was also lacking. Thomas did nothing for me although I did picture him as quite cute (think BBC Robin Hood if you want to know who I was picturing). I was pretty bored with that part generally though, preferring the family drama and Aria's attempts to negotiate out of her relationship with Thomas.
Overall: This was a fine book with some cool world-building and action-y moments but it was not true love between us. Still I am anxious to know what comes next and will thus plan to read the second book.