Book Review: ARCANA RISING by Kresley Cole

ARCANA RISING doesn’t always progress as much as we’d like it to, but it’s a whirlwind of romance and fierce entertainment!

Kresley Cole is taking us back into the wild mythical world of The Arcana Chronicles in the fourth novel of the series, Arcana Rising!

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for books 1-3, so it’s NOT a good jumping-off point if you haven’t read the series yet!

At the end of Dead of Winter, the war between the young adults fated with Tarot powers came to a head with Richter destroying Selena (The Moon Card), half an army, and the man with which protagonist Evie had just chosen to spend her life, Jackson Deveaux. Arcana Rising picks up in the moments following Richter’s attack, when Circe’s counter-attack forces Evie on her own wild path. She must confirm what happened to Selena and Jack. She must find Tess aka The World, the only card that can bring them back from the dead. She needs to annihilate Richter. She also needs to get to her grandmother, who is currently in the possession of her former beau, Death. But first, she needs to find out where the heck she landed after Circe’s flood and make her way back to her friends and allies.

13906869_1030354720346669_2053273280602417141_nOf course, it’s never that easy. Along the way, Evie meets a formidable new cult and some new Arcana who huddle on the line between friend and foe. It doesn’t help that as the game goes on, that line becomes increasingly blurred as new information from past games reveals that beloved friends may, in fact, be old enemies. Evie the Empress has betrayed nearly everyone in the past and some of them have betrayed her, as well. When Evie finds herself surrounded by the Arcana and the game once again, the anticipation of betrayal is palpable, but you never know if or when it will strike.

Kresley Cole has said that the book is modeled after the ten of sword tarot card, which is all about endings and loss. There’s certainly a lot of grief and heavy-hearted goodbyes in this addition to the series, and not just on Evie’s part. However, we did struggle with the way she worked through her grief– There’s an underlying notion throughout that Evie could never be happy after the loss of one love until she wound up giving into another and, in our eyes, it made her look a little too dependent on the story’s love triangle. Like previous books in the series, this book is mature Young Adult or perhaps New Adult. There’s a lot of passion involved in the story and the romance is WOW. While we’ve always appreciated that, it shouldn’t be the focal point. Evie is a fierce, badass Arcana and as such, we need to see her shaping her own destiny more. Holding back and depending on others seems to be part of her larger character arc, but it’s been going on for a little too long for our tastes.

13658635_268889660163204_600289211_nThat issue aside, the book is a ridiculously fast read. We’re introduced to two new players in the game, each of which bring their own wits and challenges to the playing field. Evie’s reunion with her Tarasova grandmother also means she’s learning a lot of new tricks and plenty of history on the games– It comes with some unwanted advice, but it’s important all the same (and that advice may be, too). Unfortunately, we don’t see a ton in terms of actual game progression. Right now there are at least five books in the series and we imagine there will have to be more to keep things from getting too rushed and avoid killing every almost other existing character off at once. We’re typically not big on series with no definitive end point, but we’ll make an exception for Evie and her crew.

Kresley Cole isn’t giving up any signature style cues, either. That’s right: This book ends with another cliffy, cliffy cliffhanger. One that will leave you reeling more than all of the others combined. It adds a completely new element to the story and man, things get complicated. You’ll have to read for yourself to understand!

It’s not our favorite in the series, but if you loved the previous Arcana Chronicles entries, this book is probably going to make you happy– or at least very curious for what’s to come.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Arcana Rising is out now.
Buy it via Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

arcana rising

When the battle is done . . .
The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

And all hope is lost . . .
With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

Vengeance becomes everything.
To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

By Molly

Molly is a proud Canadian who is currently attending university in Scotland. She loves to read, write, watch films, and talk about Sarah J. Maas books. If not snuggled up with a book, Molly can usually be found tapping at the dance studio, or writing yet another essay.

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