Hylary Locsin's Reviews > Arcadia Awakens

Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer
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's review
Sep 26, 2012

really liked it
Read in September, 2012

Originally posted on my blog: http://libraryladyhylary.blogspot.com ! Check it out for more reviews!

Life for seventeen-year-old Rosa Alcantara has never been simple. Part of one of the most powerful Mafia families in Italy, Rosa’s parents moved her and her sister Zoe to New York City to escape the crime and murder that is part of everyday life for the Alcantaras. After tragedy strikes, however, Rosa decides to move to Sicily, and join Zoe, who already left New York to live with Florinda in the Palazzo Alcantara. As head of the Alcantaras, Florinda is far from warm and fuzzy, but Rosa hopes that a new life in Sicily will be what she needs. Everything changes, however, when Rosa happens to meet handsome and charming Alessandro Carnevare. As the son and heir of the Carnevare family, Alessandro is an enemy of Rosa’s, but the two are instantly attracted to one another. Alessandro’s father has recently died, and he is set to become the next head of the Carnevare family. Alessandro informs Rosa, however, that he believes his father’s advisor and right-hand-man, Cesare , wants to overthrow him and becoming the new leader of the Carnevares. Rosa wants to help Alessandro, much to the distress of Florinda and Zoe who don’t want her anywhere near members of a rival family. Things are further complicated when, one evening, Rosa encounters a massive, powerful tiger in the forest surrounding the Palazzo, a tiger with very human-like eyes who seems to know who she is.

Originally published in Germany, this novel from renowned author Kai Meyer is the first installment in the Arcadia Awakens trilogy. Part Godfather part paranormal romance, Arcadia Awakens is a truly unique book for teens. While there are paranormal elements to the story, the bulk of the novel is made up of the conflict between the Alcantaras and Carnevares, two rival Mafia families and members of Cosa Nostra. Readers who are unfamiliar with the Mafia might be slightly confused by many of the terms and references, although the novel could be incentive to learn more about one of pop culture’s most commonly depicted organized crime groups. For those who aren’t as interested in the Mafia aspects of the story, the very Romeo and Juliet romance between Rosa and Alessandro, as well as the paranormal elements, will be intriguing enough on their own. The author does a good job of creating a story that appeals to a broad audience, and one that definitely has enough potential to warrant a trilogy. The second book in the trilogy, Arcadia Burns, has been released in Germany and will be released in the United States in the near future.

This was one of those books that really left me stumped on what to expect. I knew it was about the Mafia, I had a pretty good guess that it had to do with shapeshifting of some kind, and I knew it was by a German author. What I didn’t know, and was pleasantly surprised to find out, was that it was one of the most unique books I’ve read for the young adult audience this year. The Mafia isn’t something you find too often in books for teens, and I really enjoyed the way the author dove headfirst into creating a very Godfather-¬y tale. The mythological and paranormal aspects of the story kind of took a backseat for me as I was reading the book, but I am hoping they will be expanded upon in the second and third installments because I think they hold loads of potential. One minor (and annoying) detail that I felt compelled to mention, was the frequent use of the word “supple” in the novel. I don’t have a problem with this word and maybe it had something to do with the book being translated from German to English, but it seemed like everything in the novel was “supple.” A little strange. There is also a decent amount of swearing, violence and gore in the book, which would make it hard for me to recommend to middle school-ers. For older teens, however, I would definitely suggest Arcadia Awakens as a unique and enjoyable read, chock full of romance and adventure.

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