Series: Archers of Avalon
Author: Chelsea Fine
Length: 3531 kindle units
Rating: 4 stars
Scarlet remembers waking up in the woods at the age of fifteen, but her memory before that is completely blank. After two years she has come to accept that she may never get her memory back and has settled in for a normal life. Then she meets Gabriel, a boy who seems familiar to her but who can tell her nothing of her past. When she meets Gabriel’s brother Tristan, he seems even more familiar to her, but he hates her on sight. But as she grows closer to both brothers, she begins to remember the truth – that she is the victim of an ancient curse that is coming to claim her yet again.
Overall Anew was a compelling read. I stayed up and read the whole thing in one sitting when I really should have been sleeping. I got really drawn in, wanting to find out more about Scarlet’s past and the other mysterious things that were being hinted at. I also went back and reread certain parts a few days later, even though the lack of chapter formatting made this somewhat difficult.
My favorite character was Tristan and Gabriel’s friend Nate. He was immortal and in possession of large volumes of knowledge, and he served as a voice of reason to the lovestruck brothers. But he was also a very big gaming dork. He would sometimes lock himself away from other people for days at a time to improve his video game skills, and he would prioritize setting up his game system at least on par with advancing the plot of the book. I found him quite delightful
When I first saw the title of this series – Archers of Avalon – I thought it was going to be about kickass Amazon women. I was kind of disappointed when “Archer” turned out to be the name of the family. The mythology ended up being interesting and unique enough that I forgave it, but I still have a vague and unfulfilled desire to read a book about Amazons.
I found the writing style of Anew somewhat irritating at times. There were a lot of fragments and one-sentence paragraphs. To some extent this created a young and bubbly voice, but after a while it created too many pauses and made the writing appear choppy.
I mentioned my favorite character, so I feel I should also mention my least favorite. Scarlet’s friend Heather was extremely annoying. I had a similar issue with her as I did with the narrator in Tempus – she used too many italics and seemed to be drinking way too many caffeinated beverages. Scenes that she appeared in quickly crossed the line from young and bubbly into over-the-top. Fortunately, she didn’t do too much after the first third of the novel, so we got a respite.
A story about two brothers in love with the same girl cannot help but remind us of L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries series, but that’s completely acceptable because she is one of the classics of the YA paranormal romance genre. It’s a good trope and creates a good set of tension. I have to admit that I’m a little bit ashamed of the double standard I apparently endorse. In my review of Break Away, I observed that Dafne couldn’t steal her sister’s boyfriend without being a heartless bitch. But I am perfectly okay with Tristan stealing his brother’s girlfriend.
The story alternated between Scarlet’s, Gabriel’s, and Tristan’s point of view, and the brothers knew a lot more about what had happened in the past than Scarlet did. So for some sections we would get hints about what had happened, but we wouldn’t have these suspicions confirmed until Scarlet remembered them. One of the reasons that I stayed up reading as late as I did was that I was waiting for Scarlet to remember something that the boys kept hinting about. But then she never did, which was rather irritating. I’m hoping that this means it will be a major theme of book 2.
Will I read more?
Well, I told myself I would keep reading until Scarlet remembered something specific, and she still hasn’t, so I guess I’ve locked myself in for at least one more installment. The book also has quite the dramatic cliffhanger ending, so I’m anxious to see how that resolves. And if the future books include more Nate and less Heather, I shall likely remained tuned into the series.
And I would not be at all opposed if the author decided to throw some Amazons in. Just a thought.