Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review: Arcadia Awakens (Arkadien #1) by Kai Meyer

Title: Arcadia Awakens (Arkadien #1)
Author: Kai Meyer
Pages: 452
Publication: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Summary taken from goodreads:
To New Yorker Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when tragedy strikes, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where her sister and aunt have built their lives and where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa wastes no time falling head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both intrigue and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem. 
Ancient myths brought to life in the Sicilian countryside, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a long history of familial bloodlust prove to Rosa that she can’t trust anyone—not even her own family. Torn between loyalty to her aunt and love for her family’s mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love . . . or run as far and as fast as she can.


It was pretty slow in the beginning, and I didn't really see how their romance really developed, especially enough for him to tell her that he would die for her after knowing her for a few weeks at the most. But the pace finally picked up after the first 150 pages, and it became much more exciting and intriguing as more clues are revealed and new threats arrive.

And Rosa is a pretty awesome character. She's not a total badass but neither is she a helpless little girl. She's stubborn and willful, and she has difficulty trusting people because of her past which continues to haunt her.

I just wished that the other characters could have been more fleshed out, especially Alessandro. Then again, he was made out to be all mysterious in the beginning, so I knew that it'd be unlikely to ever see his true motives.

As for the writing, it wasn't bad. Meyer described Sicily beautifully and provided lots of details when describing scenes. However, there were many times when there would be long info dumps in the form of conversations explaining to Rosa the history of certain events and families, which got boring very quickly, especially since many of them took place in the beginning of the book.

Overall, ARCADIA AWAKENS wasn't a bad first book in a trilogy. It didn't end with a huge cliffhanger like most series/trilogies, but it also didn't leave me that engaged enough to want to go read the sequel.

Also, when I first saw the cover for the US version of the book, I instantly loved it because it was so unusual and dark. Then I read the book and found out that Rosa has blond hair. Could they have changed the cover to actually fit the book's description for once?

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