Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Toxic Heart by Theo Lawrence (Review)

YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
Publication Date:April 8, 2014
Published By:  Delacorte Press
WebsiteToxic Heart on Goodreads

Theo Lawrence Website
My review copy: From Publisher for honest review

Where to get:

The second MYSTIC CITY novel . . . it's Romeo & Juliet in a dystopic Manhattan.

A city in flames. A trust betrayed. A perfect love destroyed. Has Aria lost Hunter, her one true love?

Ever since rebellion broke out in Mystic City, pitting the ruling elite against the magic-wielding mystics, Aria has barely seen her boyfriend. Not surprising, since Hunter is the leader of the mystic uprising, and he'll do whatever it takes to win freedom for his people—even if that means using Aria.

But Aria is no one's pawn. She believes she can bring the two warring sides together, save the city, and win back the Hunter she fell in love with.

Before she can play peacemaker, though, Aria will need to find the missing heart of a dead mystic. The heart gives untold powers to whoever possesses it, but finding it means seeking out a fierce enemy whose deepest desire is for Aria to be gone—forever.(Goodreads)

  "You probably won't need them," Ryah says. "But just in case." She closes the hidden safe and turns back to me. "We're going to have dinner in a bit. Why don't you rest up, put on some fresh clothes, and come down? Really, take anything in the closet you want. We're family now."
  She trots out of the bedroom, calling "Later!" over her shoulder.
  Family.  What a loaded word.
  I sit up and watch him disappear from the bedroom, his lingering scent the only reminder that he was here in the first place.  Well, that and breakfast in bed.
  He's not the boy I fell in love with.  And I'm not the girl he fell in love with,  Have we changed too much to stay together?
  Maybe our love wasn't meant to last a lifetime.

  I made no it no secret that I enjoyed Mystic City and eagerly awaited (for two years!) the release of Toxic Heart.  The thing about a wait that long is that you begin to forget what you enjoyed so much about the first novel.  This did not however detour me from being excited about the moment that it finally arrived at my doorstep.  I waisted no time in starting this book and was rewarded with something greater than Mystic City, something that had me finishing the book in a night.  The wait for this book was more than worth it and Theo Lawrence blew me away with developments that I could have never seen coming.

  With a underground war now being openly fought and people unsure of who is right and who is wrong, the plot in this one thickened.  In Mystic City, the lines seemed so clear cut and the intentions of both groups black and white.  However, as we know there is often no black and white, but shades of grey spanning across the board.  Nothing is what it was, but how could it be with the truth so openly displated and the people that were oppressed now fighting for their freedom.  The plot was so thick with deception, action and truths that it was hard to see what was coming next.  I dare say that Theo Lawrence created a second book that blew the first book away.  There is nothing about the plot or pacing that I could possibly complain about.  However, there is a twist that I can not share with you that semi shattered me.

  Aria was spectacular in this book.  She was a bright light in the middle of a hurricane.  If you want a character that has exponential growth, and becomes stronger and more independent that you could have ever seen coming, this is your girl.  She is not the sweet and slightly naive girl from book one, she is seeing everything for herself and not relying on others to care for her.  There are a few points where she can't even handle being kept in the dark or treated like a dried flower waiting to fall apart, where I thought that she might cave but it only proved to make her stronger.  There is so much to say about Aria, her growth and her losses in this book but to spill everything, would ruin the book for all of you. However, you should all know this: if you though Aria was a weak and annoying character... THINK AGAIN!

  So, the romance in this book is massively toned down.  That's right, say goodbye to the twisted Romeo and Juliet that I mentioned in book one.  Hunter is not the boy that he was in book one.  His focus is now on the rebellion that he feels is now his responsibility.  Normally, this would not be such a horrible thing but the guys heart is not in the right place.  The secrets and omissions are almost too much and you know that he is inadvertently killing what they had.  This is not to say that Aria doesn't hold on to hope and try to make him see she is not the weak girl he takes her for.  I must also mention that though part of me wishes that they figure it all out and I was semi heart broken by certain events... I also have a new hope.  That is all you are getting from me.

  Toxic Heart was amazing and I still stand by the fact that dystopia and fantasy lovers will enjoy these books.  Theo Lawrence has once again pulled me in and captured me with his wonderfully crafted world and growing characters.  I now can only hope that I will not have to wait another two years to get my hands on the next book! Pick up these books when you are ready for some serious character growth and twists that will leave you wordless.

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