‘Arcadia Burns’ is the second book of Kai Meyer’s Arcadien Trilogy. A Reader’s Review Blog received this novel gratefully from Templar Publishing in return for an honest review. After not having read the first book of the trilogy, ‘Arcadia Awakens’, I was conscious that there may be some gaps in my knowledge of the story thus far and the characters. However, once I began to read I found that the introduction was really great. The reader is made aware from the very first chapter of Rosa and Alessandro’s family history and their relationship with one another. This in itself made me feel that this book could be read as a stand alone.
Rosa and Alessandro are both from Mafia clans, albeit different Mafia clans. This does have a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ effect in that members of these families want their relationship to end and will go to great lengths to see this happen. Their love for each other is a very strong bond and although some secrets are kept from each other, it is only with the others’ interests at heart and so they do not allow these to come between them. The novel focuses mostly on Rosa who has recently become head of her clan and is, therefore, expected to oversee quite a few decisions regarding her clans businesses, illegal activities and family problems. However, Rosa does not really want any of this. Rosa returns to New York to find out about her family history in Sicily from her mother. This does not necessarily go according to plan as she later finds that she is being chased from members of Alessandro’s family.
There is also a great paranormal twist with Rosa and Alessandro not always being human. Under certain situations of duress they transform into different creatures: Rosa, a snake, and Alessandro, a Panther. Throughout this novel we learn that Alessandro seems to have more control over his transformation, whereas Rosa still needs to learn how to control hers. It doesn’t help matters when Rosa is injected with a serum, against her own wishes, from a member of Alessandro’s clan, that prevents her transformation from happening for a period of time. This is a fascinating read.
‘Arcadia Burns’ is recommended for young adults, or those age fourteen and over, quite rightly so as there are dark action scenes. However, it is a gentle introduction to some Mafia activity. It allows the reader to absorb what is happening without terrifying them. I think that Kai Meyer has written this very carefully to ensure that this book is suitable to it’s targeted audience.
On opening the book initially, I noticed a beautiful chapter layout, making it very easy to navigate to the last page that has been read. Although the book as a whole is quite lengthy each chapter isn’t so, allowing busy readers to be able to read the story in their own time without having to put the book down during a vital scene. This also added an air of lightness, which is rather nice considering the darkness of the story.
Throughout reading this novel there were occasions when I felt that the chapters didn’t always flow nicely into each other. Sometimes the reader is left wondering what is happening. But, with a little patience and perseverance within a couple of pages my questions were answered. There were also times when I felt that the story was moving a little too slow, however as the story unfolds and we begin the latter chapters everything is put into persepctive and the reader becomes engrossed with the action, hoping for the best possible outcome. Originally written in German, ‘Arcadia Burns’ was translated into English by Anthea Bell. It would be unfair of me to say how the translation has affected the story as I do not speak German, and therefore haven’t read the original. However, the story is very good, beautifully written with some really strong characters.
‘Arcadia Burns’ has left me hoping that Rosa and Alessandro make it and are allowed to live their life together without intervention of others. I have no doubt in Alessandro’s love for Rosa and hope that it stays this way. This novel has been likened to ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Godfather’. Whilst it is a diluted version of ‘The Godfather’ and has a strong love bond between the two main characters from opposing family clans, I feel that it’s likeness to ‘Twilight’ is not so apparent. I can only assume that this is due to the paranormal sides of the story, but personally I found ‘Arcadia Burns’ to be completely different and original.
Kai Meyer’s ‘Arcadia Falls’ will be the third and final instalment of the Arcadien trilogy and is due to be released in 2014.
Publisher’s website: http://www.templarco.co.uk/
Cover art by kind permission of Will Steele
Reviewed by Caroline Barker
For another take on ‘Arcadia Burns’ please take a look at Tina’s review.