Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)'s Reviews > Arcadia Awakens

Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
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Unlike most other readers, the premise of this book did nothing for me, simply because I've never had any sort of interest in the mafia which is a big theme in this book. I was a little unsure about the shapeshifter element, another big theme, as I've not yet read any books about shapeshifters that I've really enjoyed. Why did I read this then? I'm not all that sure - I guess I just wanted to see if this was any different to other young adult books at the moment and I'd read some great reviews. I'm very glad that I did decide to read this one as it was a surprisingly engrossing read!

I'll start with the main thing that bugged me and that was the writing style. This book was actually written in German, so I'm not sure what was lost in translation and I can't blame the author for that. I just felt as though a lot of the sentences didn't flow well - note that I did read an ARC of this book though, so this may be slightly different in the final version.

Apart from the sometimes awkward writing, I found Arcadia Awakens to be a very enthralling read. This is a quite loosely based modern day Romeo and Juliet, set on the alluring island of Sicily, Italy. The backdrop to the story wasn't overly described but Meyer gave us a very good sense of the setting. Our two main characters, Rosa Alcantara and Alessandro Carnevare, are from opposing sides of the Sicilian mafia and they form a forbidden bond, falling in love with each other. Thankfully the love wasn't instant and instead, they gradually grew to trust each other. I actually did find myself wishing that there was slightly more chemistry between them, but I think that it was enjoyable enough as it was - it felt natural and unforced. There was potential for conflict between them and I thought that could've been explored more - especially because of the feud between the two families. Of course, there is certainly room for a lot more exploration in the next books in the series.

I really did begin to care for both Rosa and Alessandro, they were both very likeable and strong characters. I thought that Rosa was particularly fascinating. From the beginning, we see that she is quite head-strong and confident - however, she does have a somewhat fragile layer underneath which we can see from her recollections of what's happened to her in the past. Rosa clearly has a history outside Italy and the Mafia, which I would love to learn more about. I think that Alessandro and the mafia history were equally as interesting - something that I never thought I'd say! I did find it slightly confusing at points as parts of the clans, the history and hierarchy were explained but it wasn't overly heavy or difficult which I was thankful for - I am glad that it was explained to help me understand the story as it was quite intricate. Arcadia is a part of Greek mythology and it was interesting to see how this was interwoven into the clans lives.

As well as unexpectedly enjoying the mafia aspect of the story, I also really liked reading about the shape shifters. The Carnevares turn into different species of big cats (i.e. tigers, lions and panthers) and the Alacantaras morph into snakes. I thought that the transformation was very well described and I didn't find it 'creepy' like I have in other novels - although it's fantasy, it didn't actually seem that bizarre, it was almost mesmerising to see how the humans changed and how their animal sides acted.

I thoroughly enjoyed Arcadia Awakens and would love to see how the rest of the trilogy turns out. It's quite a unique, complex story which certainly brings something original to the young adult genre. I'd recommend this to anyone who simply wants a different fantasy read. If you're a little apprehensive of the subject matter like I was, I'd also urge you to give it a go - you'll probably be very pleasantly surprised!
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Reading Progress

03/07/2012 page 98
03/08/2012 page 144
43.0% "Reading this too slowly. Need to make more reading time!"
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Carolinka Izayi Here in Germany all three books are already out & I loved the whole trilogy! :) I'm sure you will love it and I'm looking forward to read your review! :)

Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page) It's good so far! Never thought I'd like a book about the mafia!

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