A few weeks ago, I stumbled (as I usually do) on an amazing book with a beautiful storyline that left me breathless and—sadly— heartbroken. I’ve wanted to write this review so badly, but my hectic schedule and mountain of books kept me at bay. Lately, it has been difficult to find a romance YA novel that is not only written well, but can capture just the perfect kind of romance that leaves me an emotional wreck. The best part about finding a book like this is finding that one scene—that one moment in a book that makes you just sit back in daze and say: Wow. Very rarely do I find scenes like that…scenes that make me pick up the same book and read the same chapter over and over again until it’s ingrained into my head. For example, in the Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, my heart literally tore in half with respect and despair when Tessa realized that even if she chose Will over Jem, she would never ever truly have Will because of his own love and loyalty to his best friend. That part had me reeling for days because there was so much truth to it all. And then there is the part in Hallowed by Cynthia Hand when Clara watches her mother running in the fields towards heaven leaving readers in absolute awe…
All of that paired with the perfect soundtrack and you’ve got magic.
The amazing book I mentioned earlier is called Anew: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine, and there’s a part in this book that is written so perfectly that I’m pretty positive it could be its own standalone movie—okay maybe not, but still! It’s heart wrenching and phenomenal. Fine turned what first appeared as a typical YA high school fantasy romance with a cheesy love triangle into something so much deeper. Definitely a page turner and a heart breaker….
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.
Anew starts like any typical YA novel. Beautiful girl with a horrible sense of style. Perky best friend. Charming and sexy new love interest. And then of course…the sexy and mysterious and wonderfully dark other love interest. Except this time they’re brothers and this time they’re twins.
We’ve talked love triangles before and I’ve always been crazily fond of love triangles that involved two brothers if done well. Note that it’s extremely important that when a love triangle consists of two brothers vying for the same girl, there’s got to be a damn good reason for it. Why? Because…once you read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, you realize that at some point you’re going to have to draw the line. Because when you truly think about it, there’s a certain love and respect that comes with the word family and blood. And unless there’s a reasonable explanation — say your sibling was a serial killer or you had a terrible fallout—it would be extremely wrong to go for his girl (i.e. Damon from Vampire Diaries). No matter how cute or perfect you are or how great the chemistry is, as a man (or a person in general), you just don’t go for your buddy’s—especially your brother’s—girl.
Unless you’re Tristan Archer.
Only Fine can write this cliché scenario in a way that the girl-stealing brother comes out as the knight in shining armor. Why? Because his brother was an idiot for risking the life of the girl they loved while Tristan sacrificed everything to keep her alive. Simple. Except…I was enthralled by the way Fine handled Tristan and Scarlet. As an observer, I saw how hard he tried to stay away from Scarlet and how much it destroyed him to see her. It wasn’t the stay-away-from-me-but-I’ll-still-lurk-around sort of act. He literally did the best that he could to avoid her. He was so serious, mature and adamant about finding a way to save her. Tristan by far was my favorite character because I respected him and his ability to set his feelings aside for Scarlet.
As I mentioned earlier, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first started Anew. Scarlet was a great character and even her best friend and Gabriel were decent to begin with. But when I say this book is a page turner, it really is a page turner. There’s an unsolved mystery throughout the book with intriguing puzzle pieces placed here and there, keeping you locked on and eager to continue. I kept reading because I wanted to know what the big secrets were and boy were they awesome. Scarlet’s flashbacks offer just enough to keep you interested, but the mystery behind the strange symbol and Scarlet’s passion towards Tristan is inexplicable. My heart was ready to leap out of my chest just reading the interactions between Scarlet and Tristan.
The best part about this book is the mood I get from it. Everything seems so genuine and real from how the characters feel. The final scenes—my favorite scenes—are stunning. From Tristan’s heartfelt goodbye to Scarlet recalling that Tristan was destroying the most beautiful thing she couldn’t remember….everything was just perfect. Chelsea Fine you rock my world! The theme music I chose for the final few chapters of the book is listed below underneath the rating. Every time I hear it, I think of Tristan walking out of the bedroom and then Scarlet running through the woods. It’s eerily exhilarating in a way. Definitely check this book out. I highly recommend it along with the music below!
Theme Song: Song for Bob by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Music from the motion picture, The Assassination of Jesse James