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Synopsis from Goodreads:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.
She could save the world—or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….
I want to start off by saying that the audiobook version of this book was presented amazingly well. Emma Galvin was fantastic as the main narrator and conveyed a real sense of Evie's character. Keith Nobbs did his part so well it was scary - he embodied creepiness itself.
I love the premise of this book and how tarot cards are used to hold it all together - it is brilliant. Evie has hallucinations and her mom thinks she's crazy, just like her grandmother. However, it turns out that Evie is one of the Major Arcana, the power cards, of a tarot deck.
When the apocalypse comes, Evie and her mother realize that the hallucinations were actually visions. There are voices in Evie's had that speak to her. Then Jack comes along, a poor, rough, Cajun boy. Evie and Jack have to work together to try to find Evie's grandmother in the craziness that is left of the world - bagmen (zombies), soldiers, cannibals, plague, no vegetation,...
I alternately liked and disliked both Evie and Jack. There were many times I found them extremely frustrating. Evie spent a lot of time being weak and confused and even whiny. I can see why this was, and I appreciate her growth (and anticipate she will be a much stronger character in the next book), but felt it did go on a bit.
Then there is Jack, the ultimate bad boy. He and Evie clearly love each other, even if they can't stand each other. He is rude, rough, tough, can fight and survive on the land, drinks, rides a motorcycle. You get the picture. Again, I found that maybe this stereotype went a bit far.
However, I loved the parts about the visions and the tarot deck, the voices and the Arcana. And Cole's writing is beautiful. Her use of language is stunning and completely drew me in. Her descriptions are vivid and engaging.
I think those who like dystopian novels will enjoy this different, almost paranormal, take. Despite my frustrations with the two main characters, I did like them and the book enough to eagerly anticipate the next installment.