‘Rachel Patel is a Hedoness – one of a strong group of women descended from Greek God Eros, who wield the power to take the will of any boy they kiss. Unfortunately, this makes true love impossible for Rachel. The last thing she 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 realises there are darker forces hunting them…’
As a Classicist, I love reading novels that include takes and twists on ancient mythology, and though I went into reading Arrowheart mostly blind, I had heard a good deal about it from TeamBKMRK and went book shopping with the intention of finding it – and found a signed copy too!
The concept of the Hedonesses – how their powers work and the influence they’ve had on society – is an engaging one that feels unique in a market of YA fiction referencing mythology. Quite often, such stories seem to introduce the gods and goddesses and inadvertently end up making them the focus of the story rather than the intended protagonist(s), which isn’t a trap that Arrowheart falls into. The reader stays with Rachel, who struggles to accept the ‘gift’ she’s been given and has well-grounded moral objections to using it, while almost everyone around her is intent on encouraging or manipulating her into it. Though she sometimes feels sorry for herself, she feels more sorry for those who end up suffering at the hands of other Hedonesses, so making her not appear self-pitying or self-obsessed – unlike her supposed best friend. It’s easy to side with Rachel, given the examples she has around her, who seem to inflict suffering and humiliation on others, though sometimes out of necessity or accidentally. Her best friend, Marissa, uses her gift indiscriminately and without considering the consequences, only highlighting to both Rachel and the reader that one shouldn’t exploit others simply because they can or could.
Arrowheart is a well-paced novel that does a good job of reeling you in (I started it with the intention of reading a couple of chapters… then 20 chapters and 2am happened). There are no real lulls in the story, helped by Rachel’s growing understanding of her gift and the increasingly difficult obstacles it presents for her. Though it ends on a cliffhanger and sets up the next in the Love Curse series, not everything is left to the third act, yet enough loose threads are left hanging and created in its closing pages that it somehow feels both complete and leaves the reader needing to know what journey Rachel is going to undertake in the next novel.
I very much liked the references to family and how none of the characters has a particularly easy or typical home life, leading them to explore what family means to them and acknowledge that it isn’t always about blood ties. To me, this was one of the most interesting themes in the novel and what I hope receives the same kind of attention in the next book (especially as regards Marissa’s behaviour and the life of Rachel’s father).
A fun read on the whole and not too heavy, I’ll be recommending Arrowheart to young students of Classics in particular, as I’m sure they’ll enjoy it!
Pub date: June 14th 2018