Review: Anew (The Archers of Avalon #1) by Chelsea Fine

Publication Date: December 7th, 2011
Acacia Publishing
Format: Paperback, 385 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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.

What an amazing book! I started reading this a couple of nights ago when I was a bit loopy with flu meds, so I wasn’t really feeling it. I woke up refreshed at four in the morning and decided to pick it up again because I had about ten minutes to spare. Well, la di da. I ended up buying a copy of it for my Kindle so I could read while hubs was on the wheels. So yes, indeed, I have a paperback and a Kindle copy of this book. I just didn’t want to stop reading.

The legend goes that when a pregnant woman drinks from the Fountain of Youth, the fetus will have an eternal life. Gabriel and Tristan – twins, was not aware that they were the end result of this. They didn’t know they were immortals until one fateful day when the town’s witch, jilted by Gabriel,  decided to kill Scarlet. But Tristan, having had deep feelings for his soon-to-be sister in law, tried to be a hero and jumped in front of loose arrow headed straight for Scarlet’s heart. The arrow pierced Tristan’s heart then went straight through Scarlet’s. Dipped in immortal blood, the arrow was not only fatal, it also had the power to bring Scarlet back to life – in another place and in another time. Her life becomes a progression of living and dying and never remembering her past life until the Archer brothers break the curse. I think I’m going to leave it at that. This was my favourite element to the story. The legend of how it started, and how Tristan’s soul always crave for Scarlet. Chelsea spun this tale so intricately and wrapped it up in one, thrilling, heartbreaking romance.

But there were so much more to this book. The basic gist is that Scarlet’s life recycles in numerous lifetimes being torn between the two brothers. And you all know how much I loathe love triangles. Chelsea Fine did this remarkably well, however. Aside from a few times when Scarlet suffered from self-loathing for feeling so much about the cantankerous Tristan, I did not have the inkling to yank my hair out of frustration. My only problem is that Gabriel’s character seemed to diminish as we go deeper into the story. He started off really swoon-worthy and then as we learn more about Tristan, it seems like he faded into the background. At the same time, I think it was the author’s intent to actually sell Tristan as the bad, gorgeous, selfless brother. The one who had loved Scarlet from afar but had to stay away because in their past lives, she was always meant to be for Gabriel.

The characters’ relationships were heart breaking, both literally and figuratively. Without giving too much away, Tristan’s soul literally crave for Scarlet. The author’s writing described his emotions really well. I am thoroughly convinced that Tristan is the highlight of this book. He has an admirable self-sacrificing hero personality that he covers well with boorish attitude. It’s all a part of his charm and what makes him the ultimate bad boy in my books.

I do have some minor complaints. There were some typos, editing mishaps (BALLING instead of BAWLING, three commas instead of ellipsis, and a semi-colon was used instead of an apostrophe). These are eensy, weensy mistakes that did not deter me from enjoying the book. I was switching from paperback and Kindle edition and have found the same mistakes in both but seriously, this book is still all kinds of awesome. I’m inclined to say who cares but that would make me a hypocrite. I am also a bit disappointed that Scarlet’s ‘guardian’ is ALWAYS, always, away on “business”. What’s up with that? Oh well, it would probably be explained on the next books.

Overall, Anew is an ingenious take on immortality. Chelsea Fine crafted a fantastic story woven with reincarnations, curses and deep, selfless love. The best part of this is the recycling story of the love of two brothers for Scarlet, one forbidden and the other, destiny but no matter how it ends, someone’s bound for heartache.

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