Monday, January 5, 2015

TOXIC HEART by Theo Lawrence

Rating: B-
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.

My thoughts on the book:
Toxic Heart was a good follow-up to Mystic City, but the book wasn't without its flaws. The most glaring flaw, in my opinion, was no fault of the author's. There were copy-editing mistakes throughout the novel. I really hate when books have shoddy copy editors, especially when they come from major publishing houses. Also, some parts of the story just didn't flow. However, the characters were fantastic and evolved throughout the course of the novel. The plot itself was intriguing, and the writing was well-done. Even though this series and the Black City series are almost identical (I prefer this series), the story and characters stood out enough that I enjoyed the book and will continue the series. 

Aria was a really inspiring character in this novel. While she did pine away after Hunter some, she really spent most of her time and energy focusing on what needed to be done. Her thoughts, actions ,and feelings seemed realistic, and she really showed her strength several times in this book, especially in the third section. Aria grew into someone who I could root for. She carved out her own space in this messed up world that Lawrence created. Hunter turned into a giant jerk, and I wasn't his biggest fan. He went a little crazy, and then acted surprised when people didn't support his ridiculous ideas. Kyle, Aria's brother, turned into a worthy and terrible foe by the end of this novel. I feel like he's more of a threat than his parents are. Turk really won me over. I absolutely adored him. I can't wait to see what happens with him next. The new characters were all intriguing in their own way. While Shannon got on my nerves, I really loved Ryah. I can't wait to get to know these new additions better. 

The plot itself was pretty strong, though the story didn't flow perfectly. Some parts were choppy and just didn't fit right. Also, Lawrence introduced a love triangle, and I absolutely hate love triangles. However, Aria already made a decision, and her decision was different from what most YA heroines would choose, so I did like that. We'll see what she does next. The pacing was pretty spot on. Nothing really dragged for me. Some things felt rushed, and some of the decisions the characters made were a bit dumb, to say the least. I'll be interested to see the repercussions of those decisions in the next installment. The ending tied things up nicely and finished this novel on a strong note and gave a huge hint as to what the third book would cover. I'm looking forward to seeing what Aria does next. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who loves Dystopians. As previously mentioned, this series doesn't really stand out. It's very similar to the Black City series, but I enjoy the characters and writing more in this series. Either way, Aria is a stronger female lead than most YA novels have, and that alone sets this series apart. If you like Dystopian novels, give this series a try. 

Order Toxic Heart

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