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Arrowheart (The Love Curse) Paperback – 14 Jun 2018
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Arrowheart has a really perfect blend of Greek mythology with a modern day backdrop... I'll definitely be looking out for sequel books in this series. (Sammy's Shelf blog)
What if you had the power to make the boy of your dreams fall in love with you? Addictive romance with a fantasy twist for fans of Holly Smale, Ally Carter and Zoe Sugg.See all Product description
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Recommended reading age would be fourteen and up, due to mild adult themes and some very mild violence.
It runs for three hundred and forty two pages. It has forty two chapters, and an epilogue.
It's the story of a girl called Rachel Patel. Who narrates the whole thing in first person present tense. She goes to a very special school, with her friend Marissa. A school for people like them, who are descendants of a cult from the time of the Greek gods. They have the power to make someone fall in love with them.
Rachel doesn't want this power, and is appalled at the way others use it and exploit those they turn, as they call it, making them pretty much their slaves. Rachel wants a different life. Nobody else wants her to do that. But when Marissa's use of the power attracts unwanted attention, and things spiral out of control, Rachel finds herself on the run. Along with a boy. And she might just be finding love blossoming naturally. But the cult has secrets, and things are about to come to light...
A nice read regardless of your age or gender if you're fourteen or older. Rachel is a sympathetic and likeable lead from the off. Marissa is a bit more problematic, starting out very headstrong and selfish. But she does have her moments. You follow Rachel through a situation where she is the only one who can see a great wrong, and then you root for her as tries to survive and take control of her life.
The plotting is pretty clever, as bigger secrets and issues do come to light, showing you the early scenes weren't as cut and dried as they might have appeared. And her relationship with the central male character is just perfectly written, as they have a great and believable chemistry, and all that happens comes from that rather than the needs of the plot.
This being the first in a series does mean it ends with lots to be resolved, and with one of those cliffhangers which will make you scream and want the next book right away. A very good start to what should be an enjoyable series.
Unusual and different, this novel skilfully combines Greek myth (which generally I'm not keen on) with modern teen life, resulting in an engaging and interesting read. This is to be the first in a series, and thus ends on a big cliffhanger, which I shall be very interested to see resolved, given the events preceding it. The characters were realistic and engaging, particularly Rachel, and the romance elements were not overly heavy-handed (impressive, given the subject matter!). A good read.
Now this is where I have my first problem. The blurb specifically mentioned boy, so what happens if Rachel kisses a girl? The only time this is mentioned in the book is in relation to a Hedoness’ powers not working on another Hedoness (no mention of human girls anywhere).
The other problem I had was that some of the characters fell a bit flat. Rachel’s best friend Marissa was a caricature of a mean girl with no reason why she treated Rachel like shit except a hint that it was because her mother wasn’t around. It was mentioned that Rachel and Marissa had no choice but to be friends with each other (because they’re not allowed to pick their friends at the Hedoness school they go to) but it was never mentioned why this was the case. Marissa was written to be the exact opposite of Rachel and never really as a character in her own right. Rachel hated the idea of controlling a boy, so Marissa revelled in it. Rachel wanted true love, so Marissa wanted meaningless adoration. Rachel wanted to question authority and poke holes at things that didn’t make sense, so Marissa wanted to blindly follow the rules because they were the rules.
All in all, this would have been a solid 4 stars for me, if it wasn’t for the instances of racism throughout, and I don’t mean within the plot. Being a Gujarati girl, I was quite excited to read a book where the main character was a Gujarati girl, yet the more I read, the more I realised the only reason the character was Gujarati was so the white author could tick a diversity box (even though she could have done that by exploring the characters’ sexuality, which would have actually contributed to the plot). All the mentions of Indian characteristics seems to have been found through a quick google search, with little consideration for the accuracy or context. For example, it was mentioned that Rachel’s house is decorated in red because they are Indian. The only time red matters in Indian culture is at a wedding where the bride wears red for luck. That statement is the equivalent of saying an English character decorates their house in all white because they wear a white gown at their wedding. No, just no.
Another massive turn off for me was the fact Rachel’s mother, Priya always wore a saree just to draw attention to the fact that she was Indian (I will tell you now, most Indian women were age would never wear a saree every day because they are impractical and not really fashionable (at least not the every day sarees). Priya kept “adjusting” the pallu of her saree every so often. I’m not sure what she was “adjusting” but the last time I wore a saree and the pallu needed adjusting, I had to do it in the bathroom with five of my aunts to help. A saree is not a ‘one second adjustment and everything is fine’ kind of clothing.
If you like Greek mythology, give this a read, but be warned if you are Indian because all these little ‘look at the Gujarati character I have created’ details will throw you out of the book.