Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer

Hi all!

YA from Germany, promising :)

Author: Kai Meyer
Series: Arkadien #1
Release date: 1st of March 2012
Published by: The Templar Company Limited
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 332 in Hardcover
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository


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.


YA mafia story with fantasy elements? Count me in, you don’t really come across many YA regarding organized crime families in the beautiful backdrop of Sicily. Ever.

This wasn’t a fluffy romance with some mafia stuff as wallpaper and make belief guns to make it slightly more interesting and exiting, this story was a flat-out full of cruelty, blood, disgusting crimes, difficult choices, people cheating to stay on top or just for the hell of it, while not overly too dramatic, shocking or gory it certainly isn’t your typical cute YA romance and I would definitely recommended it for older teens.

While the plot was unraveled kind of slowly in the beginning, once the action starts, it never lets up and while I had issues with many of the characters in this book, what they lacked was made up by the colorful plot and mysterious on goings which left more questions than gave answers in a good way.

I also liked the fact that the love story was not the main focus of the book, usually I might mind but the setting was so promising and exotic, full of intrigue and questions and had so much to offer that it would have been a shame to overlook all the possibilities it presented. Luckily, that potential was met. With the addition of the paranormal element, which is quite ingenious to me, this book was a win.


My biggest issue with this book were the characters, yes, there were some intriguing and unusual ones but my inability to fully relate to or even like Rosa, the heroine, was the hardest obstacle for me. Yes, she wasn’t your typical cookie cutter heroine, but she plain and simple wasn’t very likable or easy to swallow. Ok, she was someone I could respect for her attitude: not bowing down to anyone, rebellious, does what she considers right, not easily manipulated - even though everyone wanted to and succeeded on some levels -, fared quite well in the life threatening circumstances she found herself in, had a kind heart under all that snarky, smart mouth, low level of self-preservation, anger and traumas. Still, she was too jaded and hostile for my liking but I do have to admit she was exactly what was needed for the story, circumstances and dangerous surroundings.

Alessandro was an interesting hero and I was fond of him - tall dark and handsome, but I felt that I didn’t really know him at all by the end of the book. There is something mysterious and somewhat shady about him even though he was nothing but heroic and devoted to Rosa despite their family feud. I can’t put my finger on it but he makes me uneasy and swoon both at the same time. Hmmm, I have to see if there is some basis for me being suspicious about him in the other two books to come – at the same time I have no idea what I’m suspecting him of. The one thing I didn’t quite like about him was how quickly his feelings developed for Rosa, then again the same thing can’t fully be said about Rosa and, in regards to her, there was more than enough development, so not exactly insta love in this story.

This book was packed with mysterious characters, all of whom you have to view with some speck of mistrust, it’s difficult to be clear of anyone’s intentions or even who works for who and what are everyone’s interests. I definitely have to mention Fundling who was someone intriguing and I can’t wait to know more about him.


An extremely enjoyable mafia YA from a German author. Luckily, the second book will come out really soon. Recommend!

4 stars!



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