Friday 24 August 2018

Review of Arrowheart by Rebecca Sky

Author: Rebecca Sky
Pub. Date: June 14, 2018
Publisher: Hodder
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 384

Kiss the boys and make them cry...

The gods are gone. 
The people have forgotten them. 
But sixteen-year-old Rachel Patel can't forget - the gods control her life, or more specifically, her love life.

Being a Hedoness, one of a strong group of women descended from Greek God Eros, makes true love impossible for Rachel. She wields the power of that magical golden arrow, and with it, the promise to take the will of any boy she kisses. But the last thing Rachel wants is to force someone to love her . . .

When seventeen-year-old Benjamin Blake's disappearance links back to the Hedonesses, Rachel's world collides with his, and her biggest fear becomes a terrifying reality. She's falling for him - a messy, magnetic, arrow-over-feet type of fall.

Rachel distances herself, struggling to resist the growing attraction, but when he gives up his dream to help her evade arrest, distance becomes an insurmountable task. With the police hot on their trail, Rachel soon realizes there are darker forces hunting them - a group of mortals recruited by the gods who will stop at nothing to preserve the power of the Hedonesses - not to mention Eros himself, who is desperate to reverse the curse . . .

Rachel must learn to do what no Hedoness has done before - to resist her gift - or she'll turn the person she's grown to love into a shadow of himself ... for ever.


There are sometimes when I wonder if I, a 20-something who is several years out of university, am told old for Young Adult novels. I no longer have to deal with the struggles of coming of age – it came and went already. But then I read a YA and get to reminisce about how young and hopeful I was – how naive I still am. It’s interesting, approaching high school stories from the other side; I remember what it was like and yet, I find myself yelling at the pages, begging the characters to make better choices. Sadly, they never do – because they're young and hopeful and naive – and I find myself turning to the next chapter only to start the process over again.

I say this because Arrowheart by Rebecca Sky is one of those times when I started the novel yelling and screaming at the young adults and ended up falling, quite ironically, in love with them.

Cliffnotes Version: Rachel Patel is a Hedoness, a girl descended from the Greek God Eros who has the ability – or the obligation according to some – to turn men into their love slave with only a kiss. Rachel is wholly against it but trouble starts when she ends up on the run with her best friend, and a boy who’s recently been turned: Ben. She falls head over heels but knows that she can’t do anything about it; and if running from the police, hiding your secrets, and generally breaking all the Hedoness rules isn’t complicated enough, they throw in a tragically hot cousin, piles of sexual tension, and vampire aliens to round out the adventure. And then a God shows up and I can’t wait for Book 2 (coming in 2019).

First of all, I love the concept. Anything that reinterprets or represents mythology in a present setting is my favourite thing in the entire world - especially Greek mythology. The idea of girls with the power to remove a man's will is an interesting moral dilemma to present to teenagers and I think Rebecca did an amazing job of laying out the world and its rules. Plus Eros is not a very common God represented in contemporary fiction so I was happy to see an entire mythos based around his exploits.

I have so many questions I want to ask Rebecca about the world she's created because it's inspired me. But it didn't start out that way.

As I said, I came in with a bit of a grumpy attitude. A lot of my Random Notes While Reading are a bit on the snarky side because I didn’t understand who Rachel was. It took a while to get to know these characters and for me to properly invest in their journey but once I did, I actually had a magical moment.

Stop me if I’m completely alone but sometimes when I’m reading, I get so into the story that I start re-enacting moments and talking to the characters as though they were sitting beside me. I caught myself playing Rachel as she tried to hide her attraction to Ben or fought with Marissa – I had more than one embarrassing encounter on the bus because of it.

Good books take you away; if you’re open to it.

I guess you could say, I had to willingly give my heart to this book. 

Amid my grumpy, grown-up reading in the early chapters, I noticed something and kept it in the back of my mind throughout the journey. Rachel – and all of the girls, really – never back down. They stick to their beliefs thoroughly, causing quite a bit of conflict. I sat there, yelling at Rachel and Marissa to just express their feelings and compromise in even a small way. But they don’t – not really. In fact, our protagonist sticks to her guns so much that the Gods literally have to come down and intervene so that she can have what will hopefuly be a happy ending (come on, Untitled Book 2!). In a way, watching our characters stay put was frustrating and, yet, I admire it. These teenage girls have a strong resolve and refused to give up their beliefs for the sake of complacency or group harmony. Some days, you just want a morally corrupt villain and instead you get a diverse group of teenagers with varying ideals. What are you going to do?

My Random Notes While Reading were a bit all over the place on this one. Check it out:

  • Wait, did you pay him?
  • No pressure
  • But you do because you wrote it
  • That sounds very dirty
  • I’m glad we’re learning about this but why are they?
  • Why can’t she do both?
  • How often do you think about him that he has nickname? :P
  • There is so much wrong with what just happened
  • I like the contrast between our cursed and uncursed boy. Makes it a moral dilemma
  • I appreciate that her mom is trying despite their differences
  • Me neither
  • No. I still blame you, Marissa
  • There’s a lot of off-stage action
  • To be fair, you kind of haven’t
  • I appreciate the cultural diversity
  • He is literally your cousin
  • …I guess it’s okay then
  • Finally
  • Just punch her. It’ll make you feel better
  • Well, it’ll make me feel better
  • You actually don’t know that
  • I suspected, but this little victory makes me happy
  • No!!!
  •  Just tell him
  • No! *kicks chair like a child*
  • He’s gonna be so mad when he sees the bill
  • No
  • That hurts my heart. Why would you hurt my heart?
  • It’s so cheesy and yet so perfect
  • I don’t know how else to explain my feelings except: giddy punches
  •  What? You can’t end it like that!
Good stories make you throw the book and flop on the bed in giddiness.

My only other contention is the resolution and how there isn’t one (at lease not one that I liked). I was confused for two whole pages before I understood what was happening and then it all happened so quickly. I need to know what happens next. Like now.

This is my problem with reading (relatively) new releases. I need the next part of the story right away even though I understand that writing a novel is a very stressful and intricate process that takes time, money, and energy to produce for a commercial audience and I can’t expect instant gratification from a product I had no hand in creating.

Knowing all that, I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the Love Curse series.

Here’s my hot take on Arrowheart: I may not be the target audience who directly identifies with the struggles of being a teenager dealing with romance and drama, but I enjoyed my time in this world and I became unexpectedly immersed. Really, that’s all I want. To become invested in my fiction.

And remember kids: good books make you throw things.

You can find Arrowheart by Rebecca Sky at GoodreadsAmazonTBD

About Rebecca:

After graduating high-school, Rebecca Sky set out on a five-year, 24 Country exploration to find herself. She slept in a hammock in the Amazon Jungle, skinny-dipped off the West African Coast, ate balut and climbed the chocolate hills in the Philippines, and fell in love in Cuba (then again in Brazil, and a final time to a Rocker from Canada). Rebecca returned home to the West Coast captivated by the world and ready for another adventure.

So she did what every wanderer does when standing still—began writing. Her work has since garnered over 20 million reads on Wattpad, and she’s had the opportunity to partner with some really great brands. She was featured in The New York Times and The Boston Globe, (check out those articles here). Her debut Arrowheart, book one in THE LOVE CURSE series is published by Hodder Children's Books a division of Hachette Book Group.

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