Book Review: Arcadia Burns by Kai Meyer

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: YA needs more mafia. And while Holly Black’s delightful Curse Workers series has ended, German author Kai Meyer returns with the second installment in his genre-bending mafia saga with Arcadia Burns, the sequel to Arcadia Awakens.

Arcadia BurnsFollowing 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.

Even more explosively awesome than the first book, Arcadia Burns lives up to everything I loved about Arcadia Awakens and more. Meyer continues his beautifully conceived concept of a mafia world ruled over by family dynasties with a legacy of animal shape-shifting. This genius blending of paranormal and mafia lore offers a compelling twist to both genres.

Meyer’s characters are fully realized, filled with complexities and flaws, yet incredibly sympathetic and likeable. The unflappable Iole, the courageous and maturing Rosa, the charming and oddly moralistic Alessandro … to other characters you’re only beginning to meet in this second installment. I love all of them — and even the villains are wickedly delicious. I love to hate them.

With Arcadia Burns, Meyer has built upon his own world’s mythology, added in new twists and additional layers of mystery, all while peeling back the cover on other surprises that will leave readers dying for more.

This book has just reaffirmed how much I adore this series, and I honestly can’t wait to see what happens next. I am certain I will not be disappointed.

Arcadia Burns is in stores now.

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