Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Lovable Cast of Characters | Anew by Chelsea Fine

I've known about the Archers of Avalon series for quite awhile. I heard it was pretty good, but . . . ehhh. It just didn't seem as appealing to me--didn't stand out to me--nearly as much as countless other books. I have to admit that part of that reason is the covers. I'm not a fan.

But I finally warmed up to the series after Holly's recommendation. One morning, I just felt like reading Anew. It was on my Kindle and I was already in the middle of reading one of Holly's other recs. Plus, she demanded requested that I live-tweet my reactions for her, which I'm totally okay with because it's SUPER fun.

Anyway, to Anew!
About the Book:
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.

I feel like I should mention that the ebook is only $0.99 on Amazon and B&N. . . .
My First Impression
It started by showing Scarlet waking up and only knowing her name and age, then it moved onto a surprising scene. She was at a Kissing Festival that sounded really weird and just sooooo not like something I be comfortable at, but hey, Scarlet felt the same way. She was pretty wary of this festival that her friend forced her to go to, but kinda grew to like it after she met a hot guy with a voice that seemed . . . familiar. She started dating that guy (Gabriel Archer--super nice with a good sense of humor).

WAIT. There was another guy, but she only saw him from the distance before she met Gabriel. This guy turned out to be Tristan Archer (yep, they're twins), and he immediately seemed like a dramatic guy. This was part of the first section he showed up in:
"Bursting from his heart two years ago, it had taken him by the soul and wrung his insides dry with need. A need so impossible, so all-consuming, he could not deny it. And could not silence it."
At this point in the book, I wasn't highly impressed. I was enjoying the book because the characters had strong first impressions and the humor was pretty nice. I was a little worried it would be a cliche paranormal love triangle angel/demon/etc. that I have loved in the past, but usually find as nothing special nowadays. 

But things quickly turned around when Scarlet officially met Tristan! Secrets were revealed. Chemistry came alive. The plot started rolling faster. The humor got even better. And the paranormal part? It actually seemed refreshing. (It helped that I hadn't been reading many paranormal books lately.)
How the Rest of Anew Went

The characters are my absolute favorite part of this book (and the entire series so far). They all seem to have personalities that leap off the page, but not in the same manner because they're also distinct ones. 

Scarlet has a certain attitude to her--a determination that I really like seeing in characters. She hates that she has amnesia, but she isn't sulking around about it. There are people that care for her and she definitely appreciates their presence in her life. I really like her!

Heather is Scarlet's best friend and is absolutely hilarious. She's so sweet and bubbly and energetic and blunt. She's obsessed with fashion and is very vocal about it. Her filter isn't very thick, which makes her one of the most outspoken characters in the series.

Gabriel . . . I actually don't have much to say about him. He's a cool guy. He doesn't stand out to me nearly as much as the other characters. Also, now that I'm writing about him, I don't think I know much about him. He's not as fleshed out as the others.

TRISTAN. Yeah, the dramatic woe-is-me guy. He's great. I feel like there's so much more to him than Gabriel. There's more to learn about Tristan. There's more layers to pull back. He's really moody, but I can see his passion. I can see how much he loves Scarlet and how tormented he feels about the curse. He's my favorite character.

Nate is a giant video game nerd that also seems to be a voice of reason of sorts. He seems to be caught in something that he doesn't need to be caught up in, but he's a good enough guy to help the other characters out. He's a great supporting character. He's also pretty funny!

Here are some parts that made me laugh:
"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?'
'Yes. A demon-possessed, human-eating Chihuahua.'"
"How was he supposed to relax when his brother was out cutting someone into pieces with a barbaric weapon?"
"It was like Valentine's Day.
On crack."
"Trust her gut? Her gut was currently telling her to run her hands through Tristan's dark hair. She wasn't so sure her gut was reliable."
The Curse & Paranormal Aspects

I loved the curse! Its terms seem pretty clear cut to me, but it causes so much PAIN to the characters. It affects not just Scarlet, but the brothers as well, making the situation they're in so much more complicated. 

There aren't many paranormal aspects. There's immortality and the search for the Fountain of Youth. There's a curse. There's a witch that is mentioned (but she doesn't show up). Then there's a couple paranormal beings and some weapon-related stuff (that's vague for a reason). And that's it. No vampires. No angels. No complicated, unique magical abilities. I liked that there wasn't a ton of paranormal aspects piled into the book. I liked that it focused on the curse and its horrible effects.

Pacing/Addiction Level

It seemed to go pretty quickly! I was easily caught up in the story and the humor and the curse and everything. I ended up finishing the book in one day and reading about 150 pages of the sequel. I was sooooo happy with how it turned out!

Also, things became INTENSE near the end. There is a cliffhanger. The story ended in a way that made me need to jump into the sequel, which I don't do often immediately after finishing a book.

Final Thoughts?
Anew is a pretty nice read! It moved quickly and had many sad, intense, happy, and hilarious moments. I highly recommend this one if you like love (or don't mind) love triangles that are made infinitely more complicated by a curse. This is also a good book for readers that love casts of characters with distinct personalities that leap off the page.

The rest of the series:

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