Thursday, January 31, 2013

Connecting With Your Spirit Animal

"They make us forget that Arcadia 
isn't only about barbarism and bloodshed. 
There's also something else. 
Something...beautiful."
--Kai Meyer, Arcadia Burns


Genre: YA Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, 424 pages
Publication Date: February 12th, 2013
Source: ARC won from Epic Reads :)

Goodreads Description:

Following the brutal deaths of her sister and aunt, Rosa Alcantara has become what she never thought possible: the very rich and very powerful head of the Alcantara clan. Saddled with this immense responsibility, Rosa must now conduct all business matters--legitimate and not--while negotiating among the greedy, bloodthirsty members of her own family. Not to mention convincing everyone that her blossoming relationship with enemy Alessandro Carnevare won't put the family business in danger.

But loving Alessandro comes at a price. As Rosa continues to fall for him, she discovers the dark secrets of his family's dealings and how they intersect with her own painful past. She wants to believe she can trust Alessandro, but they're so different: Alcantara and Carnevare, snake and panther. How can she love someone whose family wants her dead?

When Rosa and Alessandro uncover an ancient conspiracy intent on destroying both clans, they will do anything to stop it. Racing to put the pieces together, evading their relatives' murderous feud, and learning what it means to control the most influential families in all of Sicily--the two teens must risk everything to love each other and survive.


My Thoughts

*Sigh* I have mixed feelings about finishing reading this book. Half of me and my Sicilian soul is sated for the time being and the other half is screaming in Sicilian rage that I have to wait probably another year until the final installment. Curse you year long waits in between books!! Grrr...anyways. The follow-up novel to Arcadia Awakens did not slow down, settle down, or disappoint in any way, shape or animal form, wait, what? OK, so if you have not read Arcadia Awakens I would suggest starting it immediately and come back or keep on reading and be aware of spoilers from the first book. You've been warned.

The plot line continues its snakelike twist through the double dealings and ancient secrets that are commonplace in Rosa and Alessandro's mafioso clans. Can I say first I just love the name Alessandro. It sounds so mysterious and sexy and just so Sicilian, I can't get enough! Anyways, oh wait! One more digression. The cover?! Love, love, a million times love! It flows graphically similar to the first book and I just love this. It is so hardcore and sassy. Ok, now I'm done. Rosa finds herself in many a crazy situation as she tries to uncover what exactly happened to her that awful night a year and a half ago while also trying to wade the very treacherous waters that is her own flesh and blood. Alessandro is doing the same to keep his clan under control and be respected as their new capo. 

I absolutely loved the advancement in Rosa's characterization. Awakens finds her an emotional wreck and not always sure of her own feelings and choices. Arcadia Burns she is still uncertain but there is also a determination in her that wills her to make difficulty choices and also live with the consequences. I felt like cheering for her every time she came into her own and demanded that things be done her way. She really developed as a character and as a woman and her take charge attitude was amazing to see! Maybe it is the Sicilian rage that I know I have hibernating beneath my skin but seeing her go all Mafia badass with her guns and no mercy made me proud. I know it sounds weird but when it is your family that has been wronged or the person you're in love with, that would send me into a blind rage any day of the week...just sayin'. Alessandro was similar. He took command of his decisions and behind the scenes made some decisions that would not be popular by popular vote, but he does what he has to do. 

The description of the landscape was just as beautiful this time around and I fell in love with reading this book. The plot changes were incredible. Things occurred that I would have never seen coming and am still in shock over. The constant shifting of trust and alliances has you guessing at every turn of the page and I couldn't flip them fast enough. Rosa and Alessandro's relationship development was a guilty pleasure of mine. It is so nice to read about characters that trust each other because they feel it is right and do not listen to outside variables. They grew to need each other and not in a co-dependent and nauseating way. Refreshing. It felt like a mature relationship development rather than an immature declaration of naive teenagers.

The theme of loyalty is still very present and persistent. I loved seeing this explored and develop even further during this book. I also love the discussion of right vs. wrong. Clearly these people all play their part in organized crime but Rosa and Alessandro seem so different about it. They do what they have to do based on their own moral code no matter who the wrongdoing person is. They do what is right based on morality, not blind mafioso tradition. This was so interesting and such a different look on what objectively would solely crime and illegal activities.

I cannot WAIT to see where the final book takes us and what secrets will be revealed. Ugh, I'm so sad I have to wait another year! It's ok, I will drown my sorrows in many more books that I want to read...*sigh*


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