Toxic Heart * Theo Lawrence

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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.


The Roses and the Fosters have been political rivals for generations. The marriage between Aria and Thomas would have united their families just in time for the August mayoral election, which Garland Foster was favored to win against Violet Brooks, the registered mystic who many felt was the voice of the poor people of the Depths, mystics and nonmystics alike. The surprise here has been Aria Rose’s shifting alliance. Her engagement to Thomas Foster seemingly broken, she has publicly declared her love for Hunter Brooks and her support for the mystic party.

Aria has gone into hiding at a rebel base while Hunter stays in Manhattan to organize the Rebels. After certain events happen, Aria finds herself back in Manhattan but she still barely ever sees Hunter because he is so busy. Still Aria finds herself a symbol for the rebellion and is determined to do all she can to orchestrate peace between the Aeries and the Rebels. Added to this is the strange mystery of what actually happened to the Mystic Heart of her former nursemaid.

Aria is just plain stupid in this book. She constantly lies, makes rash stupid decisions, and is just generally slow on the uptake. I wasn’t even the only one to see it!

“Don’t pretend to be dumb, Aria. It’s not flattering. Besides, you’re not that smart to begin with.”

I do not like her as a heroine. Point in case..she wanders out on her own when she knows people are trying to kill her…she also imbibes a questionable substance on her way to a vitally important meeting. Just one dumb thing after another.

Water, I think. That can put out the fire.

The dialogue is childish and awkward and filled with wonderfully witty comebacks (being sarcastic here). For example when Aria is confronting one of her biggest enemies her wittiest comeback is “Well, you’re a liar”. Um, is this a bunch of five year olds fighting? It is just sooo awkward.

“You’ve been a pretty little fool, Aria Rose. You had it all, and you sacrificed it for true love. And where did that get you?” Elissa motions to the rest of our group. “I don’t see your dearly beloved here. Trouble in paradise?”

“At least I’m not a liar,” I say. “Or a murderer.”

Hunter has turned into a power hunger jerk focused only on revenge, his epic love for Aria is missing.

He motions to the throngs of people in the buildings above and below us. “I’ve been working so hard to get control—you shave your head and send one little crybaby message and suddenly everyone loves you.” He purses his lips. “I hate you.”

He is also missing, Hunter is in the story very little. His place is taken by Turk who is assigned to protect Aria. Turk is best thing about this book he is daring and fun, yet caring and thoughtful. Turk and Aria spend a ton of time together. Turk ends up being the most supportive of Aria and the most sensible of the characters in this story by far.

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