Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Arcadia by James Treadwell

Review of Arcadia by James Treadwell
Yo guys!
Sorry for the short break I’ve had, I’ve been a bit under the weather and feeling meh.
But I’m back, so yeah! :)
Todays review is going to be on James Treadwell’s ‘Arcadia’.

Here’s a bit of the review to intrigue you:
On a tiny archipelago out of sight of the rest of the world lives Rory, a ten-year-old boy. He and his mother and a handful of survivors live an exhausting and precarious existence, entirely isolated. The sea is alive, and angry. Every man Rory can remember has been drowned. Everyone knows he’ll be next.
The publisher, through Bookbridgr, sent me this book for an honest review.
I’m going to say it now; I generally could not finish this book.

Ughhh… I have so many concerns and painful dislikes for this book, which I really shouldn’t have had because this book had such an awesome premise and presentable ideals…

The first thing I have to really call-out was the description page for this book on BookBridgr.
So I was searching the genres of BookBridgr to see if I could find a few books, when I came across James Treadwell’s book ‘Arcadia’, I read the little blurb it had, I got really intrigued by it and so I ordered it.

(Skip a week) It finally came! When I took it out of the package, I realised that it said ‘Advent Trilogy Part 3’ on the spine, I thought it was odd because on the website it said or had no relevance to any series.

So I checked, double checked and even got my brother to read it out to me; there was no reference to any other notion of this series, so I generally felt a little awkward and out of place to read this book.
I was quite surprised because BookBridgr’s site is normally well formulated and well presented.
But I did anyway or at-least attempted to finish it!

I wish I could hit re-wind, all the way to the day I saw it on BookBridgr and stop my-self from clicking on it, harsh but very true.

The main story is a shambles honestly.
It started off very linear and very simplistic which was okay because there was a plot, a set path for the story that turned out to be quite a good premise.

If you haven’t read the previous books (like myself) then I should clear up that the world has been devastated by Magic. I believe (I could be wrong though) that somebody in the first book opened something that may have represented Pandora’s box and released some vicious plague/magic and mermaids/siren type creatures onto the world.
I did subtly skim-read a review for this book, which stated that it could be read as a stand-alone book because it doesn’t really focus around the first bunch of characters in the first two books.
Because I hadn’t read the first/second book, I had no idea these animals in the oceans were Mermaids/Siren creatures? But after thinking over some statement referring to things such as all the men dying and how the male children weren’t allowed to look out over the sea just incase and how all the survivors were female it all slowly made sense.

Arcadia starts off with a small community stuck on an island (the Isle of Scilly to be exact) consisting mostly of females with the exception of ten-year-old Rory and another boy who was a few years older.

Now, after the whole explanation of the things in the ocean being Mermaid/Siren type creatures, we are brought to the death of the other boy.
From then onwards the story becomes slightly interesting as we lay witness to this small civilisation cut-off from the world, surviving through teamwork and friendship.
The main character, Rory, lives with his mother after his father and two siblings tried to escape the island on a boat to the Mainland, they were never heard from again.

At this point during the story… I did start to get quite intrigued and quite apprehensive about the story, as it seemed to be going really smoothly that it wasn’t really going anywhere? Everything started to revolve around how day-to-day life was maintained and how the men would die/died if they went out into or near the ocean.

Rory’s mother isn’t certain that she can keep her son safe on this island so creates a plan to travel to a island just off the coast and obtain a boat to take Rory and leave for the mainland, risking his life on the ocean.
After this point, Rory’s mum returns from her travels and turns slightly crazy and deluded.

This makes the story become a bit creepier and more enjoyable! I liked how Rory’s mum snapped and became this selfish, carless woman who believes her son’s safety is to be thrown in to the danger she once kept him from.

And from here onwards, the story just fizzles out.
I really lost all sense of plot and idea for it as soon as the Angry Italian man was introduced.

The author tried to integrate so many little twists and turns it became a boring cesspit of trip hazards, The wording was a-bit haphazard and I really hated how he kept translating things into ten-year-old speech for Rory.
In-fact, I became so mad at the writing style and the entire plot it put me into a reading/reviewing slump (which then was topped by an illness… luck!)
I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it, I got to the third act and I figured that there was about 150 pages left that I could push myself to it, but after the introducing and losing so many different characters, I had lost myself and tripped over myself at a point where I thought certain characters were other people.

The characters in my head were quite good; they probably were the majority of my happiness in this book.
That isn’t to say there weren’t contradictions or dislikes though.
I’ll go into two characters that I both liked and disliked.

Rory. Oh Rory, how easily manipulated you were.
Rory was an okay character honestly, being a ten-year-old he was easily manipulated into doing things outside of his actual intentions, but he was so easily the most annoying character aswell.
I don’t understand what went went on with his thought process? When his mum wanted to take him away from the island he was super against it and really grounded about staying at the island, but when the new mysterious people turn up and offer to take him he jumps on the chance? I don’t understand what the difference is between the two? I’d personally go with mum… cause ya’ know, Mums know best!
I also didn’t like how the author was trying to get Rory to follow one of the mermaids, which are supposed to lead men astray from their ships/vessels into the abyss we know as the sea, as he is a child; yes Rory is a male, but sirens and mermaids steer men away from their ships/boats due to their sexual attraction and the men’s sexual desires, stating that Rory doesn’t want to go with the mermaid doesn’t make him strong-willed or anything, it just states him out to be what he is, a mere kid of ten.

The next character was Lino, the Italian angry but-yet sweet softie for Rory guy.
We’re introduced to Lino near the start as an angry shadow of a man who constantly threatens Rory with killing him if Rory doesn’t do these things or help him.
After all of the constant threats and anger, Lino is re-introduced as the sweetest person ever? Making jokes, laughing and protecting Rory really made me forget that he threatened to slice his throat.

I liked ‘Her’ as a character (who I will want to refer to as Ariel but will not due to the fact she is a mermaid/siren who can walk)
She was very systematic when speaking, she always chose the right words to in-trance young Rory into some sort of spell. I also liked how she was explaining her past and background about how her father was a human and how her mother was the ocean and how bad things happened when she was little, which makes me feel as if she’ll play a much bigger role throughout the book (sadly won’t find that out) Honestly; she/it was my favourite character throughout this entire read-through.

Overall, the first quarter of the book started off really fresh and idealistic with its values! There was charisma and enthusiasm and mystery for the author to divulge into and keep the book on a nice linear path with slight twists and turns to make it dramatic.
But instead the book contained so many different obstacles and ideals that made it a troublesome read, t’was a shame.

Just to quickly add in, the copy that I received from the publisher that contained a couple printing and writing errors, which I really-really doubt mattered but really distracted me.
At one point during the first chapter a location called Briars Point (which is the exact way to spell it on the map at the start) changes to Bryhers Point? Not to sure if Rory was unintentionally calling it that or it generally did just change as the descriptions are the same and there is no place on the map called Bryhers Point.
Also, the last page splits between the end of Act 2 and the beginning of Act 3, which really threw me after skimming through, because Act 2 Chapter 23 finishes with ‘but he still keeps going across the’ and abruptly stops.
Flick two pages over (past Act 3 ‘Fairy-tale’) we find the last chunk of paragraph just chilling there.
Not to sure if anyone else had this problem, or I’m stuck with a one-of-a-kind book, which is quite neat honestly.

Thank you for the Publisher’s and the Author for sending me this book; I really urge you to try this series as it maybe your cup of tea, sadly and unfortunately it wasn’t mine.

Thank you for reading!
Joe :)


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