Arcadia Awakens, Kai Meyer (394 pages) – Rosa Alcantara comes from a New York Sicilian family. On a visit back to the home country, Rosa is introduced to the world of the Mafia, but with a large twist. Not only is the underworld of crime and deadly family rivalries alive and well, but there seems to be a mysterious, supernatural element to it: strange beasts roam the hills of Sicily, and the feuding families have dark, dangerous secrets. It is perhaps unwise, then, to fall in love with a member of the enemy family. But then who’s wise? (Not Rosa, nor Alessandro.)
First sentence: “One day,” she said, “I’ll catch dreams like butterflies.”
The Convent, Maureen McCarthy (419 pages) – “Peach is nineteen and pretty happy with the way things are. She has her university work, two wildly different best friends, her sister, Stella, to look after and a broken heart to mend. But when she takes a summer job at a cafe in the old convent, her idea of who she is takes a sharp turn – into the past. Where once there were nuns, young girls and women who had fallen on hard times, Peach discovers secrets from three generations of her family. As their stories are revealed, Peach is jolted out of her comfort zone. But does she really want to know who she is?” (Book cover)
First sentence: My sister and I often rode past the convent that summer.
Another Faust, Daniel & Dina Nayeri (387 pages) – this novel is a companion to Another Pan, and Another Jekyll, Another Hyde. Set in an exclusive academy (which we like). Five children from various cities across Europe mysteriously disappear, only to turn up seeveral years later in New York, together with an unusual governess. Together they attend the Manhattan Marlowe School, exhibiting unusual powers bestowed on them by their governess. Having unusual powers is a bit of a head rush, but there’s a dangerous side, which they may discover to their detriment.
First sentences: Victoria didn’t have time to play. She didn’t have time for friends or laughing or jumping or any other things little kids do.
The Kill Order, James Dashner (327 pages) – For Maze Runner fans. Before the Maze, there were the sun flares, and the infectious disease of the mind that drove the people of the eastern United States to madness, threatening humanity. Amongst all the chaos, Mark and Trina wonder if there is something they can do to stop the devastation of civilisation as they knew it.
First sentence: Teresa looked at her friend and wondered what it would be like to forget him.
Such Wicked Intent, Kenneth Oppel (310 pages) – the disturbing story of young Victor Frankenstein continues (after This Dark Endeavour). Victor has turned away from alchemy, but can’t resist the temptation when another possible way to cheat death presents itself. He, Elizabeth, Henry and Konrad travel through a portal into the spirit world and “unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return” (cover).
First sentence: The books flew open like startled birds trying to escape the flames.
Endless, Jessica Shirvington (449 pages) – the fourth Violet Eden book. “Angels are real. They aren’t always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori – part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question ‘Can love conquer all?’ will finally be answered.” (goodreads.com)
First sentence: What do you do the moment your father discovers your dead mother is still alive, standing in his apartment looking not a day older than the day she died – over seventeen years ago?
Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas (405 pages) – Celaena is an assassin, freed from hard labour by Crown Prince Dorian, provided she defeat 23 other assassins and assorted killers in a gladiatorial competition. The winner becomes King’s Champion. Sounds simple enough, except that before the competition begins the competitors all start dying in mysterious and horrible circumstances. Something evil is afoot, and can Calaena find the cause before her world is destroyed?
First sentence: After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Calaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.