Author: Chelsea Fine
Title: ‘Anew: The Archers Of Avalon Book 1’
Length: 385 pages
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.
Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.
Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.
You all know me :). I’m the crazy book obsessed neighbor who people start calling a Dickinson because she never attends the neighborhood’s ‘Flamingo Friday’ get togethers (heh. that possibly is a thing in our neighbourhood). 😀 And I have accepted my bookwormlyness!
But as a rule I generally have strong feelings about books, just like the normal book lovers. Books in general, books in vague, books short fat small tall. But I don’t have strong feelings about my most recent reading endeavor, Anew. It’s just that Anew was so….. I don’t know. I have met my match for having opinions. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t great. And I feel weird because normally there would either be pleasant giddy shrieking going on and my mom offering me a cookie to celebrate a great book with (cause she’s awesome, I love you mom! :)) or clouds of doom and gloom hovering over the F.R.O.G that has a day job as my bedroom.
And right now there is neither and my bookish head is very confused. Jordan? Without an opinion? Pshhhhh. But its true.
So this 385 page novel (although it reads quick, so it almost felt novella-ish) is one whopper of a story. And I’m talking like a Burger King Triple Deck Whopper. Because it starts and never stops with the action.
I got this book because I was looking around on Goodreads (heh, this happens far far more often then I care to admit) and I stumbled across it. It got rave reviews from the Goodreads community so I talked to my mom and we got it.
However, as I was reading it I started drifting into Anne Hathaway billowy fan land (see my post on rating books in gifs) and was frustrated with how little information was being shared on the history of the twins and Tristan (and his symbol) with the fountain of youth and all of their research. When it switched to Gabriel’s point of view and showed he was still (Still fellow readerlings!) keeping secrets from Scarlet even after what I thought were the biggest reveals you could have in one book, I was feeling feisty enough to pitch it out the window.
Despite its many flaws (and close call with the window), I have to give the book props. Chelsea did have some good and surprising reveals of information about characters. So keeping that in mind about the book I was determined to finish it. Determined to like it, to understand what the Goodreads community saw in it. But I just… arg I couldn’t. And I still have no idea what is going on with Tristan’s symbol. Humph. It has to be in the next ones, right? Please tell me its in the next ones.
Anew was entertaining, and it covered the plot that was set out for it well. But, it also left me feeling confused and disoriented. A lot of the book is spent revealing long kept secrets, and I feel like if the author had explained more of the secrets towards the beginning then there would have been more time for really getting invested in the characters and their backstories. I’m hoping that book two will have some answers :).
So overall I think Anew is a good book. It has some very romantic parts and some very funny parts (Scarlet’s best friend Heather was super insanely funny :D:)) but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone younger than fourteen, and I would definitely point them in the direction of The Lunar Chronicles or Dear Mr. Knightley, or some wonderful Nancy Drew classics (those are always in style woot woot) first.
The Romance (Tristan? Gabriel?)
Ok, grab your seatbelt, hardhat, football uniform, and pillow, because the romance in this novel is a crazy rollercoaster with no stops. I was never sure where it was going, and usually I love that (suspense duh duh duh), but actually I was really confused a lot of the book. It was like a big terrifying unsure leap into the wild.
First, you’re sure that Scarlet (Is it bad that I was picturing the Lunar Chronicles Scarlet the whole book? eep I’m addicted) will end up with Gabriel the awesome guy who comes along and likes her despite her amnesia. But then she starts hearing things about him being in parks at midnight or in the bad side of town when he said he was studying so she questions him about it and he won’t give her any answers. Scarlet decides to take the initiative and follows him back to his house (which he didn’t tell her about) to meet his family (who he didn’t tell her about) and runs into his army of weapons, massive life-changing secrets, and twin brother who looks the exact same as Gabriel except for green eyes (who he….. didn’t tell her about). Yarg. Please please no more secrets? With whipped cream and sprinkles?
And once she sees Gabriel’s brother, Scarlet is super unsure of what she wants. Because she has really really strong feelings for him. Which makes sense because she’s loved him for decades and she keeps dying and coming back because of a curse put on her and him. So she teeter totters back and forth between him and Gabriel because she has memories of being with both of them and loves both of them, but doesn’t know why or who she really loves.
Tristan can also feel her because she has some of his Immortal blood in her body, and since he can’t touch her without causing the curse to get worse so he tries to stay away, which just makes both of them miserable and unsure and Scarlet doesn’t know what to do and she’s still got her amnesia.
I was really rooting for Tristan, but he kept backing away, and a majority of the book you don’t know why and the secrets are so disorienting and made me go back to the ‘toss it outta the window at the neighbour’s gumdrop bushes’ strategy. Mwahaha. Works every time for book frustration 😀 *rubs hands together*.
To explain a bit, Tristan is kind of your classic rough and tumble guy on the surface (although his reasons for being such are explained later), and he stays away from Scarlet so he doesn’t hurt her (curses, foiled again :D), but when Scarlet sees him and he isn’t pretending he doesn’t like her so she’ll stay away from him, he’s super sweet and caring and does really nice things for the people around town. And he has a massive army of weapons that he uses to defend her from all of the bad guys coming after her. Which is pretty awesome.
Gabriel is a classic good guy and he really seems to admire and respect Scarlet so I felt bad for him. But Tristan was perfect for her and I just felt so hung up on what was happening with them and what Scarlet would do that I had a hard time digesting the rest of the story.
Heather and Nate (OMG *jumping up and down*)
Heather is the cutest, fabulousest, most adorable being on the planet. With lots of O-M-Gs. 😀
I love love loved her (Heather is the best friend) and I adored her fashion crazy, fun loving ways.
“Okay, if my B-F-F goes rogue and starts trying to chop me into pieces, I fully expect your immortal hotness to protect me, got it?”
She was so spunky and sweet and she was a big lift from the back and forth relationships and secrets that the other characters had to deal with.
“Sucking in air, Heather said, “Fluffy—Mrs. Allen’s ferocious dog—chased me all the way down Pine Street trying to tear me to shreds with his razor fangs. I barely got away.”
Scarlet scrunched her face. “Isn’t Fluffy a Chihuahua?”
Still panting, Heather said, “Yes. A demon-possessed, human-eating Chihuahua.”
Nate, Tristan and Gabriel’s Immortal best friend, is super awesome, and he also lifts the tension by bringing up funny and quirky things that change the atmosphere in the conversations. 🙂 Huzzah for Nate!
Okay.” Nate took a deep breath. “What do you say we find a tarp and some duct tape and MacGyver ourselves a new window in the living room? Just, you know, to keep out the wind…and the leaves…and any sharp-toothed woodland creatures prone to attacking people in their sleep.”
Tristan raised a brow.
“What?” Nate shrugged. “Death by dragon? Awesome. Death by rabid forest squirrel? Not cool, man. Not cool.”
All in all, it was a solid book. It was heavy on the romance and there were some romantic scenes that made me uncomfortable, but it never went further than intense kissing. In the end I liked the idea of the plot, and Heather and Nate were the bomb.com, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. And I wish that I could have spent the time on a better series urg, or rereading the Lunar Chronicles 😀 *totally hooked guys*. #lunarchroniclesforever.