Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Arcadia (#3 in Advent Series) by James Treadwell

Review based on an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy received for free in exchange for an honest review).

I re-read the first two books in the trilogy in order to "prepare" for the third and final installation. I again enjoyed Advent and continued to be impressed with Treadwell's creation of the world we know so well, as affected by magic in a way that we could not predict. I love some of the people and non-peoples he created, and the depth he gave some of his characters.

I again particularly enjoyed Anarchy. I thought Treadwell did an excellent job of showing the chaos experienced by the reintroduction of magic in our world. I loved the new stories and new characters he introduced, and I liked how it all tied together in some way or another.

So I was a bit disappointed with Arcadia. Arcadia begins about a year and a half after Anarchy ends, so magic has been well-incorporated into our world, and we have well screwed ourselves almost completely trying to deal with it. It's a sort of post-apocalyptic story in that sense, which is definitely my speed. But then Treadwell focuses our attentions on a single small island off the coast of England and we don't really experience the chaos of the world. Not that that is a bad story, it's just not what I was expecting. After the development in Anarchy, I was expecting Arcadia to be a bit more... exciting.

Instead, we follow a ten-year-old boy who knows that he is likely to be the next (and last) "man" to die in his universe (the island), as a result of Them. If you have read the first 2 books, ****NOTE: THERE IS SOME SPOILER'ISH LANGUAGE IN HERE. IT'S NOT VERY SPOILER, BUT I DID HIDE IT ON SITES. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. it is clear rather quickly who They are. If not, I can imagine this might actually create some uncertainty that could have been interesting. For me, though, it felt like the first 50-60% of the book was just repetition of how boring life on the island is; how scared everyone is of Them; how likely it is that the main character is going to go off to Them anyway; how crazy his mom is; and how frustrating the rest of the characters are. Treadwell's gifted writing is still rather evident, but it was just a bit of a (long) lull.

That being said, when we MORE SPOILER>>>>  get to the mainland and see more of the after-effect of the introduction of magic, and especially when we arrive in the Valley, the magic (heh heh) of Treadwell's writing is fully exposed. I *loved* the Valley and I loved how uncertain and creepy that whole part is.

Ultimately, I felt that the end was a bit of anti-climax as well, but I also felt that Treadwell did a very good job of wrapping up... much. (but not all) All in all, I still definitely recommend the book as part of the trilogy.  It is worth completing the trilogy and, overall, the trilogy is a great one. I like that it is involved and hearty and satisfying.

So, overall, FOUR of five stars. Thanks to NetGalley for the copy!

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