Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 27 April 2010
Boarding school in the wooded Catskill Mountains, secret compartments, weird "pagan rites," unconventional relationships, untoward deaths--if these ingredients are your cup of tea, then "Arcadia Falls" is for you. And the mood-driven Gothic revival novel will keep you reading to the end, even though the author perhaps leads the reader down one too many twisting paths in her story line.
The main character is likable, but the novel is structured in such a way that any reader familiar with the genre will be way ahead of Meg in jumping to the expected conclusions as well as in recognizing when she is being manipulated, not only by the other characters but also by the author. And while improbabilities and coincidences are par for the course in such novels, the ending is so pat as to be beyond belief.
Curiously, the most effective part of the novel is the changeling fairy tale, which is so beautifully written that one can picture it mentally, complete with 1920s wood-block illustrations. And although it later became apparent to me that the main character narrates the story in the present tense in order to distinguish her story from the fairy tale and from Lily's journal--written in past tense, use of the present tense in the central narrative bothered me (I also found that while Lily's 'journal entries' were necessary to organising the plot, they interrupted the flow of the narrative). Mention of several actual brand names during the course of the story also gave me the feeling that I had become the victim of commercial product placement.
Bottom Line: "Arcadia Falls" is an entertaining book to take with you to while away your tedious hours of waiting at the airport in the unlikely event that your flight is delayed.
Reviewed for Vine; Amazon.com