Release Date: November 11, 2014
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Historica Romance | Fantasy
A romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.
Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.
Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.
But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.
With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?
I'll get it out of the way and mention that I know, the cover art does nothing for the story and yes, I agree that it needs a makeover to make it more snazzy. I'm only glad that I noticed the blurb first otherwise I would've missed out on a pretty awesome story courtesy of Jessica Leake. After a brief back and forth with JLeake, she said that this is book 1 of a series but she failed to mention what the series title is so I'll stand-by for that.
Now here's why I loved ARCANA:
- It's a fantasy story set in the Edwardian era and I saw that it's labeled YA but it felt more like historical romance because the magic was more of a backdrop. Also is there such a thing as YA historical romance? I believe that people back in the day skipped this part, the women were usually teen-brides and the men were encouraged to be promiscuous as soon as they understand the power of the peen.
- The pomp and circumstance were on point here, ball gowns, petticoats, maddening rules of etiquette, catty aristocrats, ARCANA has the whole shebang. If you love historical romance, you'll find this very delightful.
- The courtship between Katherine and the Earl of Thornewood was swoony, sweeping and bodice reaping! Goodness gracious, it's very typical historical romance that's guaranteed to get under your pantaloons!
- The supernatural aspect is subtle but present. The conundrum is keeping Katherine and her siblings' powers a secret lest they risk being shunned by their peers.
- The myth is fae-like, Katherine's half Sylvani and she draws her powers from the sun. Her mother was a princess but she gave up her immortality because she fell in love with a human. Oddly, Katherine's parents' love story reminded me of Aragon and Arwen (LOTR).
- Katherine's main power is to heal but doing much of it can be fatal. I wasn't awed by her magic, there's nothing fresh about it but it did add a nice layer of intrigue to the story.
- There are villains and antagonists galore. The villains being The Order of the Sun who are aware that Sylvanis exist and they want to harness their power for their own selfish reasons. The antagonist is a fellow debutante and Katherine's romantic rival, Eliza Grey, and she made me want to pull her ringlets out. The girl's a Bitch and a very effective foe at that.
- Katherine Sinclair is likable enough, she's headstrong, willful, can be arrogant at times, has a smart mouth and doesn't really heed to the "rules". As for Colin Thornewood, the dude is simply delicious!
I look forward to the next book in the series and I hope that the same balance will be maintained, more historical romance, less fantasy.