Goodreads Link: The Prophecy of Arcadia (Arcadian Wars #1)
Author: M. H. Soars
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Being a teenager is tough, especially when you have to pretend to be something you’re not, and you’re in love with someone you shouldn’t. 115 years ago, a small planet called Arcadia was invaded by a vicious alien race and nearly destroyed. Cut off from their resources, the Arcadians turned to Earth for help. A group of Arcadian explorers discovered a Prophecy that claimed their salvation lay in the hands of two children from Earth. To ensure their safety, the Arcadian Council sent their most gifted youngsters to Earth to act as protectors. Samantha is one of them.
To succeed in her mission she must learn to control her Arcadian powers and keep her true identity from her best friend, and the girl she swore to protect, Alexia. But Samantha will soon realize that nothing is as it seems. Someone is trying to prevent the Prophecy from taking place and the prophecy boy hasn’t been found yet. There is also a new drug circulating at school that is turning students into freakishly strong menaces.
To make matters worse, distractions keep getting in her way. Such as her love/hate relationship with her “cousin” Matthew. Or her confused feelings toward popular and mysterious Julian. She wants nothing more than to be free to live her life. But the survival of Arcadia depends on her and her friends. Free will is not an option.
*Note from the author: Due to strong language and mature content this book is recommend to readers 17+. This is a Sci-Fi Romance novel.
First off, I think this book might have been marketed under the wrong genre. The book description claims it’s Science-Fiction/Romance. However, even though it’s talking about “aliens” from another “planet”, there’s nothing that I recognized as sci-fi in the story. The book is actually about supernatural beings with magic powers who are trying to fulfill a prophecy, which is much more firmly in the fantasy genre. There was no attempt to even give the “powers” a pseudo-scientific explanation. I think re-labeling this book’s genre might help it find an audience that can appreciate it better.
Second, it does warn about strong language and mature content, but this isn’t very specific. I expected from the romance label that it would have teen sex and the supernatural powers would lead to some violence (and people did die). However, there is also an attempted rape scene which involves drugs and alcohol. While it’s not very long or graphic, it was enough that some readers could still find it triggering. This is less about age and more about personal comfort level so I want potential readers to be aware of it.
Okay, onto the story itself. I liked two of the three main characters, Samantha and Matthew. They have to make some hard choices in order to do the right thing, and it’s not obvious who they can actually trust, but in the end they follow their hearts and I respect their strength. Both of them struggled with powerful emotions as well as magic that they couldn’t fully understand or control. The development of their relationship also felt realistic to me, not too fast or too slow despite the obstacles between them. I really enjoyed the parts of the story that were about them and the other Prodigy as they learned about the Prophecy, their magic, the mystery of the drugs threatening their school, and everything else going on.
The character that I didn’t like was Alexia, which was disappointing, because she seemed the most important since she’s the Chosen One of the Prophecy. However, Alexia doesn’t know anything about the Prophecy for most of the book, and she’s mostly treated as a pawn by the other characters. Therefore, the chapters from her perspective were mostly about her assuming the wrong things about what was going on (since as the reader I knew what she didn’t) and feeling unhappy/confused about it all, while everyone else manipulated and lied to her. The relationship between her and Ethan wasn’t as compelling, because she falls for him pretty much instantly (of course, due to the Prophecy), and it should have been obvious to the others what was happening. But Alexia tries to keep many things a secret for no good reason, which means other people take too long to figure out the truth. I found Alexia’s chapters to be frustrating from the lack of communication.
If I read future books in this series, I hope Sam and Matthew stay as compelling. For Alexia, I hope that she either becomes a more active character or stops being a POV character. In this book, her role was mostly reactionary, and her POV could have easily been replaced by someone more involved in the plot or simply removed.
(I received this book in exchange for an honest review.)