Arcadia Awakens

Arcadia Awakens

4.3 8
by Kai Meyer
     
 

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To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn falls apart, she must travel there to her family's ancestral home, where centuries of secrets await her. Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian

Overview

To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn falls apart, she must travel there to her family's ancestral home, where centuries of 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 intrigue and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is using Rosa. 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—even her own family. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the lethargic first book in a planned trilogy from Meyer (the Dark Reflections trilogy), 17-year-old Rosa Alcantara leaves Brooklyn to join family in Sicily, uncertain whether she’s running away from her problems or trying to find herself. After meeting Alessandro Carnevare, the two explore their attraction, even though the Alcantaras and the Carnevares are rival Mafia families. But this Romeo and Juliet story has a paranormal twist: the clans are shape-shifting predators descended from the legendary Greek Arcadians, making the politics downright bloodthirsty. As Rosa and Alessandro find a potentially game-changing clue to their families’ history, the truce between their factions explodes. Despite the fresh premise, Meyer’s characters aren’t engaging—Alessandro is a cipher, and even with an ugly backstory and a bruised psyche that have turned Rosa into a passive-aggressive risk junkie, she is short on depth. The Mafia aspects of the story are realistically ugly, and mature themes (rape, abortion, human trafficking) run through the plot, but Meyer’s flat story unfolds slowly before finally sparking late in the book, leaving threads hanging for the second installment. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Constant, shifting peril from multiple antagonists keep the tension high and the plot barreling forward, and readers will be clamoring for the next installment from this veteran German fantasist.”
VOYA - Shana Morales
Secrets, lies, betrayal, love, family—Rosa Alcantara finds herself facing all of these. Family secrets and a long-standing feud place Rosa between familial obligation and a newfound love. On a plane bringing Rosa from her home in Brooklyn, New York, to Italy, Rosa meets mysterious Alessandro Carnevare. Upon arriving at her Aunt Florinda's home in Sicily, where her sister, Zoe, resides, Rosa is faced with a whole new world, one where her family's mafia ties matter and making friends with the enemy is frowned upon. Despite this, Rosa befriends Alessandro, and Rosa's world is shaken. Mix star-crossed lovers, the mafia, and shape-shifting, and you have Arcadia Awakens. Teens new to shape-shifting fantasy may want to begin elsewhere, as this story is such a mix of genres. Those interested in stories of forbidden love and family secrets will enjoy reading as Rosa is faced with her family's mafia ties and dark secrets. This is a worthy addition to any teen collection, especially those who find their patrons gravitating toward darker fantasy. Reviewer: Shana Morales
Kirkus Reviews
When a Romeo and Juliet mobster romance just isn't enough. A year after a terrible experience, 17-year-old Rosa Alcantara is leaving home. She's left Brooklyn for Sicily, where she will be joining her sister in the family business: organized crime. An unlikable petty thief, Rosa thinks she's prepared for joining Cosa Nostra. But there are reasons beyond the Mafia to fear her ancestral home. Her attraction to Alessandro Carnevare, the scion of a rival (and stronger) Mafia house, can only get her into trouble. Both the Alcantaras and Carnevares are hiding an unbelievable secret. Alessandro, like the rest of his family, has a feline form: a monstrous panther. Meanwhile, Rosa discovers that the Alcantaras transform into enormous snakes. The shapeshifting makes for a more deadly rivalry--or a more twisted romantic pairing. On top of everything else, there's a kidnapped mob schoolgirl, a murdered mother, an attempted coup, family betrayals, a tragic lesbian relationship and whispers of a conspiracy, all told in choppy, infelicitous prose. (It's possible the clunkiness of the prose may be laid at the feet of the unidentified translator from the German.) A smaller subset of plot threads might have allowed room for Rosa to grow into a more than just a survivor. Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake. (Paranormal romance. 14-16)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Constant, shifting peril from multiple antagonists keep the tension high and the plot barreling forward, and readers will be clamoring for the next installment from this veteran German fantasist.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Constant, shifting peril from multiple antagonists keep the tension high and the plot barreling forward, and readers will be clamoring for the next installment from this veteran German fantasist."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Constant, shifting peril from multiple antagonists keep the tension high and the plot barreling forward, and readers will be clamoring for the next installment from this veteran German fantasist.”
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—As this novel opens, 17-year-old Rosa Alcantara is traveling from the United States to Sicily to join her older sister, Zoe, and their aunt, Florinda. The Alcantaras are longtime Mafiosi, with Florinda the reigning head of the family. Rosa is morose and self-absorbed, but these traits submerge when she becomes entangled with Alessandro Carnevare, heir to his father's Mafia empire and vicious rival of the Alcantaras. Rosa's attraction to him and his determination to discover who murdered his mother put them in danger not only from criminals but also from the shape-shifting Arcadians who infiltrated the mob centuries ago. Rosa's discovery that she and Alessandro are also shape shifters (she's a snake, he's a panther) with an ancient connection combines with gang warfare, chases, and murders that leave Alessandro and Rosa the heads of their respective families. The characters are puddle-shallow. The revelation of Rosa's previous rape, subsequent pregnancy, and regretted abortion seems included merely to justify her kleptomania and general lack of personality, and Rosa and Alessandro's forbidden love is an unsupported given. However, readers willing to fully surrender their disbelief will be rewarded by a palpable sense of place and revved-up and roaring pace. Romanticizing the Mafia is nothing new, but Meyer mixes mobsters and the paranormal with flash and flair, leaving Alessandro and Rosa poised for sequels.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062006066
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/14/2012
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kai Meyer is one of Germany's most successful authors, with millions of books sold worldwide. His novels have been translated into thirty languages. The British edition of The Flowing Queen (published in the U.S. as The Water Mirror) won the 2007 Marsh Award for Best Children's Book in Translation, and his historical novel The Vow was turned into a movie by celebrated German director Dominik Graf. Kai lives in Germany

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Arcadia Awakens 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Tawni More than 1 year ago
Kai Meyer molds such a unique and powerful world in Arcadia Awakens! Every time I cracked this book open, I just couldn’t get enough of it. The mafia aspect is incredibly realistic and weaves these opposing families together in an ancient legend. I really, really loved that it was extremely different than other shape shifting books out there! Rosa has a troubled past and just needs to be distracted. Setting out to Sicily seemed like the perfect getaway for her. Of course, its not just that simple and anything that can go wrong, does. She’s thrust into a crazy twist of mafia animals (literally) feuding over power and her own feud of feelings for the enemy. Rosa is a kick-butt kind of girl who isn’t really afraid to be her true self. She’s a character who was hard to grasp at first, but the readers grow with her as the story goes along. She’s smart and serious, and then Alessandro comes in and she gains power and strength with him. Alessandro was one beautiful guy (in my mind at least) and even though he is considered by all to be an enemy of the Alcantara clan, he’s so hard to resist. I loved that his and Rosa’s relationship wasn’t overbearing, or sappy. Mafia business…crazy! I mean crazy. I can only imagine that things like this happen in real life and reading Arcadia Awakens is so full of action and so realistic that reading it is almost scary! The storyline never once faltered and was as strong as ever straight through the end. The shape shifting was incredible! Meyer’s writing was different than any I’ve come across. The writing is gender-neutral, so it doesn’t matter who is reading. Its written in a 3rd person format that’s incredibly detailed and in tune with the current character. I really enjoyed the writing and will be looking for more from Meyer. Overall, this is a MUST read…as in the moment it releases. A fantastic, action-packed, suspenseful book that’s sure to keep you on edge – I think I can safely guarantee that! Review based on ARC
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book tht i enjoyed every second of :)
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