Charlie Blake is a 14-year old orphan who, after four years of hoping for a family to take him in, goes to live with a man named Jacob. Jacob is nice, caring, and opens up his home to Charlie. Charlie goes to school, and while he is bullied, he befriends a girl named Alex, and his life starts to take a turn for the better. Charlie soon realizes, after being forced by Jacob to participate in a robbery, that his new life may not be as great as it seems. During this robbery, Charlie meets a homeless boy named Richmond, and becomes friends with him.
Charlie, Alex, and Richmond accidentally stumble across a man that Charlie has dreamed about, Derkein Odessa. But this Derkein is a little different - he's a 27 year old man trapped in the body of a 60 year old, and he keeps aging.
The foursome enter Arcadia, a world in the core of the earth, filled with angels, demons, gods, and magic, to try and stop Derkein's aging before he dies, and to find Derkein's father. While there, Charlie finds out that everything he has thought about himself and his deceased parents might not be the truth.
I loved this book. The world building of Arcadia was phenomenal. All the descriptions were so vivid, and I almost wanted to draw everything, because I felt like I was seeing it all play out right in front of me. The names were inventive (I might name my first child Derkein. If Mike will agree...) but at the same time not too unique where I stumbled over pronouncing them. The characters were all lovable and had me wishing I knew them all personally. If I had to choose a favorite, I don't think I could decide between Ash, Derkein, or Richmond. I loved that Alex wasn't a cookie cutter girl, like in so many fantasy novels. She wasn't a damsel in distress, wasn't too "princess-y", but wasn't tough to the point where she was a stone wall.
I also loved that the angels, demons, and gods weren't too biblical, and kept more along the lines of mythology. I've always loved reading about Greek and Roman mythology, so I was extremely happy to see it in the world of Arcadia.
My only complaint was the hierarchy of Arcadia had me a bit confused at times. I couldn't keep straight which level had which abilities. I had to write it down and refer back to it quite a bit. But that was so minor, it didn't detract from the plot itself.
Mike, my boyfriend, literally had to force me to put the book down at night because he wanted to sleep and I wanted to keep reading. As soon as I finished, I told him he had to read it, despite the fact that he doesn't read much. I can't wait until he does, so he can be a new fan of this trilogy like I am.