Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Arcadia Awakens

Title: Arcadia Awakens
Author: Kai Meyer
Series: Arkadien #1
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Published: March 2012
Source: Publisher for review

To 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 her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate 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. Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their 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.

Moving to Sicily to live with her older sister and aunt, Rosa Alcantara finds herself trapped in the middle of a mafia war between her family and the Carnevares. Although the two have a truce, their history of mistrust and the ascension of a new boss leads to deception, dangerous rule-breaking and secrets between them. When Rosa takes notice of Alessandro on her plane, never did she think he would become her enemy, that he was the dead capo's heir, or that she would fall in love with him. Get ready to be whisked away by the thrilling adventure, intriguing mystery and romance as you delve into the world of Arcadia Awakens.

Even though I've never been to Sicily, just having been to Italy made this book seem very realistic. Aided by Meyer's great attention to detail, the atmosphere and story will jump out at you immediately! While the descriptions do, at times, affect the pace, it overall gives the book a lot of depth so it's not difficult to imagine the beautiful Sicilian landscape or the dark operations of the mafia. These are mafias with a twist though. Rosa can't stop encountering animals that display human qualities and…I'm sure you know where this is going. I think it's a brilliant concept that's explored well in the book, but I still can't wait for more!

I love Rosa as a character, I really do. She's strong, determined and quite the rule-breaker! Shrugging off the disapproving looks and lectures, she lets herself befriend Alessandro, even though both of their families are less than pleased with the development. Although Rosa is hesitant about the enemy at first, she soon learns that maybe he's the only one she can trust. Their relationship develops slowly but I loved the layers of tension that surrounded it! Alessandro is protective and charming, yet sweet? No way. This is too good to be true! While the romance isn't a huge part of the novel, it ties the elements of mystery and action together perfectly, as well as balance the amount of history and mythology in it too.

Yes, this review is somewhat vague but you'll want to unveil the mysteries of this book yourself. Arcadia Awakens is filled with the kind of shocks and twists that can only be found in fast-paced action novels, and you'll especially be holding your breath when things get serious between the families towards the end. This edge-of-your-seat suspense will have you itching to see the final outcome but be warned - Meyer isn't afraid to kill off his characters or cruelly toy with their lives! The story is spellbinding with its dark romance and you'll find your inner-gangster itching to come out and play. Sequel-wise, I'm excited and ready for complicated romance, special animals, mafia politics and more!

I love this cover! Much better than the old UK version ;) Oh, this storyline makes me giddy...

Find Kai on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and his website.
Buy Arcadia Awakens from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
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