Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 19th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
“The beginning is nigh….”
FINAL DECISION: The book has a great prologue, then a little bit of a slow part while the story begins to spin out, but the ending is fantastic.
THE STORY: Sixteen year old Evie Greene seems to have a charmed life. She’s popular, has a handsome and nice boyfriend and is smart. But she has been having frightening nightmares and has so many delusions that her mother had her committed to a mental institution. She meets Jackson Deveaux, a Cajun boy from the wrong side of town and the two argue and strike sparks off of one another. When it becomes obvious the Evie is not having delusions but rather visions. When the world is hit with an apocalypse, Evie and Jack must find out the meaning of Evie’s visions.
OPINION: This is not my normal reading material. Although there are romantic elements, there is not a straightforward romance in this book. There is no resolution, no HEA — at least not in this book. But I am always looking for good books regardless of format or genre.
This book begins with a rocking suspense angle. I was dragged immediately into the drama of the story. Then the story goes back to the time before the apocalyptic Flash that begins the Arcana battle. I thought the worldbuilding and concept was amazing. I haven’t read a similar concept so I was captivated and my brain was engaged in trying to sort out the players. The agendas and motivations of the various characters remain opaque throughout this book.
I liked Evie as a character. She discovers that she is one of the Arcana which are depicted on the Tarot cards. She is naive, immature and spoiled as the book begins, but her experiences begin to change her. By the time the book ends, she has had an epiphany that makes me want to jump into the next book of the series. I liked how Evie develops. I like that she doesn’t start out as a 16 year old with a 30 year old’s mind. I believed her development.
Jack, the romantic interest as this book begins, is cocky and annoying and oh so attractive to Evie. A definite bad boy who has secrets of his own, he and Evie spend much of the book arguing and fighting with one another. As two very different young people in a horrendous situation and forced together, they are merely developing their working relationship. He is funny and annoying and I ended up liking him very much as well.
Once the prologue of the book ends, the book is a little slow for a while as the past is recalled and then the terms for this new world are defined and new characters are introduced. Then the book really takes off in action. The final third of the book was just extraordinary and the ending made me want to immediately turn to the next book in the series. I’d give 4 stars for the beginning, a 3 for the middle and 5 stars for the end. I’ve averaged all that to give the book 4 stars.
This book is not complete in itself as it is clearly intended to be only the beginning of a long journey.
WORTH MENTIONING: This is a young adult novel, but it has plenty to interest adults and in fact, I think it skews toward older teens rather than younger based on content.
CONNECTED BOOKS: POISON PRINCESS is the first book in the Arcana Chronicles.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.