Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review: Avow by Chelsea Fine

When I first picked up the first book of the "The Archers of Avalon" trilogy, "Anew", I expected a modern retelling of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. I was wrong. Instead, I found myself sucked into a small town in Georgia called--you know it--Avalon, where a couple of hot immortal boys and an amnesiac blue-eyed girl named Scarlet live. "Avow" is the final installment in the trilogy, and, boy, it's really been a fun ride! There's something about the last book in any series--it's always bittersweet since you're closing the covers for good on characters you've followed throughout their journey. Now, before I jump right into the synopsis, for all those new readers of "The Archers of Avalon": spoiler alert!

Scarlet remembers everything. Her past lives, Tristan, Gabriel, Nate, everything--including how to get to the Fountain of Youth and save them all. But time is running out. Heather and Gabriel have been kidnapped by Raven, while the curse between Scarlet and Tristan has shifted, putting the star-crossed lovers in a dangerous new situation. Water from the Fountain of Youth can solve everything--but it comes at a price. The clock is ticking, and Scarlet leads her friends on a journey to the legendary Fountain, where eternal life is possible, but death is certain.

When I flipped to the first page of "Avow", I knew for certain that I was in for some seriously witty humour. And it didn't disappoint. The voices of the characters through the narrative were incredibly funny, and got me chuckling in many places. It's just filled with smart-alecky comments and smart remarks that really give life to the characters, and really sucks the reader in. The interaction between them, especially between Heather and Gabriel, is another place where Ms. Fine's humour trickles in, and I just loved reading anything said by Nate, who has got to be the embodiment of clownlike funnies. What's impressive is that despite the abundance of witty remarks in the narrative and dialogue, the humour never gets too overbearing or forced, which is a huge no-no in books with lots of wit. I bet you Ms. Fine is someone who'd be super fun to talk to, too!

The characters themselves were interesting and compelling, and I loved how Ms. Fine wove in each characters' backstory to make them more three-dimensional and realistic. Scarlet and Tristan, as always, are inextricably tied together throughout the novel, and the changed dynamic between the two that's brought around by the shift in their curse made things really interesting. Admittedly, I was a little skeptical by their seemingly 'star-crossed lovers' jibe, but after reading about their history way back in the 1800s in "Awry", the second book of the trilogy, the whole Scarlet-Tristan romance seemed natural and more believable. I also liked the twist in the relationship between Heather and Gabriel (c'mon, you saw it coming too), though I think it was a little too sudden and 'must-wrap-this-up-nicely' for my tastes. And Nate, beautiful, humorous Nate, I just love him to bits. He's such a dweeb with his Star Wars collectibles and Indiana Jones whip, but at the same time has layers to him that made him a tragic-comedic character. And Raven's just a raving (hah) witch...she's crazy.

As for the plot of "Avow", I think Ms. Fine did a good job with making sure all the loose ends were tied together nicely. The climax was definitely up there in terms of pace and tension--I felt my heart pounding as I rapidly skimmed over what was happening! One thing that irked me just a little bit was how there was just a huge section toward the middle where the chapters were set in the past. I liked reading about Scarlet and the boys' history, and how each of her deaths affected them, but it might've been nicer if the chapters were a little more spread out. It was a little sudden, like this huge block in the middle of the events happening in the present. Nevertheless, it was a fun storyline to follow throughout.

All in all, "Avow" is a great ending to a super fun trilogy. I love the humour present in the narration and the dialogue, and the dynamic characters made everything all the more exciting. I definitely recommend the "The Archers of Avalon" series to anyone who loves an action-packed, swoony-romance-filled adventure.

Rating: 5/5

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