In the US, I feel like you don't hear a lot about international books being translated here. You get a bunch of UK authors releasing stuff here but not much else. (Or maybe I'm just sadly misinformed / don't pay enough attention - you tell me.)
So when I heard that Arcadia Awakens by Kai Meyer was being published here and was originally published in Germany, let's just say I was more than a little interested. And I don't regret it in the slightest.
Things that I love about this novel:
-Even though I found it hard to empathize with Rosa, the main character, I felt like she was real. I could picture someone like her actually existing. She was her own, and I liked seeing her growing in the novel, seeing her trying to forgive herself.
-The romantic interest is more than a little scary at times. That's the thing about the characters though - Meyer lets them be who they are, which makes them more interesting IMO, flaws and all. Alessandro was a bit manipulative, and hell, he grew up in a mafia family, so some of his instincts... yeeeaah. But that's why he, like Rosa, felt real, and why I loved their romance.
-The setting. Oh gawds. I wish I could go to Sicily now.
-Mafia + paranormal romance + Sicilian setting = win.
-The writing was a little choppy (perhaps due to the translation?), and sometimes there were unnecessary scene breaks (I also wondered why the scenes were even there), but it was also lush and so descriptive I couldn't help but think that Meyer had to have visited Sicily at some point or has a very, very strong imagination to have brought that place to life.
Without further ado, here's some information on the book in case you're interested:
To New Yorker Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic, and wholly unknown. But when tragedy strikes, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where her sister and aunt have built their lives and where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa wastes no time falling head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both intrigue and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. 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—not even her own family. Torn between loyalty to her aunt and love for her family’s 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.
I'd say fans of Colleen Houck's Tiger Saga would like this as well as any fan of paranormal romance who's looking for something new and refreshing.