Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer

“Romeo and Juliet meets Twilight by way of the Godfather” is how the Guardian describes the first book in the Arcadia Trilogy by the best-selling and award-winning German author, Kai Meyer, whose other works include the Wave Runners Trilogy.

Though from the beginning of the book, including the blurb, themes aimed at teenage girls were presented, I still saw it as appealing to both genders, the “Romeo and Juliet” of the novel’s romance not taking an integral role in the plot line, yet nevertheless dipping in and out of the storyline to complicate matters and to generally wreak emotional havoc. The part that I saw to appeal to boys more was how Meyer wove in the Mafia families of Sicily, a few flecks of doubtful mysteriousness and the occasional dollop of casual violence in gang fights between the main character’s families.

Some may liken this book to Twilight  spouting that it’s the same except they’ve all got supernatural powers (spoiler alert! though if you’re smart enough you’ll guess by the blurb). Whilst it can be compared to Romeo and Juliet slightly and only because of the main character’s situation, Arcadia Awakens can only be compared to the wrist-slitting read of Twilight by what Stephanie Meyer should have done, lessening the theme of romance for the sake of a better book, Kai Meyer (no relation) being arguably the better Meyer.

The book follows main character teenager Rosa Alcantara as she escapes her life in New York to stay with family in Sicily. However, little does she know as she stumbles into the sinister Mafia underworld that the Alcantara clan has surrounded itself in, rivalries and corruption running deep in the clan’s relationships with one another. And as she arrives she encounters mysterious stranger Alessandro, soon to become enemy as he is about to become capo of the Carnevare clan, though bitter and hateful uncle, Cesare, stands in the way of his inheritance. And at the heart of it all sits the ancient myths and legends of the once-mighty island empire of Arcadia, its people cursed by the old gods themselves to walk as both man and beast.

Review written by Rory Hawkins, Year 10.

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