Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer (4/5 stars).

Title: Arcadia Awakens
Author: Kai Meyer
Publisher: Baltzer + Bray
Date Published: 14 February 2012
Genre: Fantasy
E-book: 464 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
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.

A lot of book lovers and bloggers were excited with the release of Arcadia Awakens last month and after seeing the cover, I too was caught up in the excitement! I thought the cover was badass but now that I've read the book, the cover doesn't tie up with the details in the story at all! Rosa's hair is blonde and the snake should be Amber with dark red markings! 

That aside, I enjoyed so many elements of the story and was particularly fascinated with the Cosa Nostra (Mafia) world Meyers has created set in a backdrop of exotic Sicilian landscapes. 

When Rosa saw a tiger who wants to kill her one night she was following her sister and recognized whose eyes they were, I was caught by surprise by the fantasy element of the story which I thought was perfect although it took a while for Rosa to catch on to what was happening and start to ask questions about it, and when she did get answers, it was a little bit of info dump from Alessandro.

Rosa Alcantara is a striking heroine. Because of her loss a year ago, she has become fearless and is resolute to have control over her life back. When she meets Alessandro, she doesn't fall instantly in love with him (thank goodness!) and when she found out who he was, the next capo of the Carnevares family, the enemies of the Alcantaras, she became wary of his intentions in seeing her. 

I would recommend ARCADIA AWAKENS to lovers of gangster action and fantasy because it's a fantastic mix of both! Complex, intriguing, and unique, this Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather story will mesmerize you and make you desperate for the next book!