Title: Avery (The Chronicles of Kaya #1)
Author: Charlotte McConaghy
Rating: ★ ★ 1/2
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Format Read: Paperback, 384 pages
Publication Date: 2nd February 2015 by Random House Australia
Synopsis: “The people of Kaya die in pairs. When one lover dies, the other does too. So it has been for thousands of years – until Ava.
For although her bondmate, Avery, has been murdered and Ava’s soul has been torn in two, she is the only one who has ever been strong enough to cling to life. Vowing revenge upon the barbarian queen of Pirenti, Ava’s plan is interrupted when she is instead captured by the deadly prince of her enemies.
Prince Ambrose has been brought up to kill and hate. But when he takes charge of a strangely captivating Kayan prisoner and is forced to survive with her on a dangerous island, he must reconsider all he holds true . . .
In a violent country like Pirenti, where emotion is scorned as a weakness, can he find the strength to fight for the person he loves . . . even when she’s his vengeful enemy?
Avery is a sweeping, romantic fantasy novel about loss and identity, and finding the courage to love against all odds.”
The people of Kaya die in pairs, it’s been so for thousands of years until Ava’s bondmate is murdered by the barbarian queen of Pirenti and she doesn’t follow. Banished for her unnaturalness, Ava disguises as her bondmate, Avery, and spends two years training to enact her revenge on the queen. Before she’s able to act, she’s captured by the second prince of Pirenti and is sent to the horrendous prison isle to be tortured and starved. Along the way, their boat sinks and Ava along with the prince Ambrose are the only survivors. Ambrose is determined to finish his job, but he’s also battling against his duty and what is humanely right.
I had a very odd relationship with Avery. I can say for certain that the first half of the book did not impress me at all and I was very close to DNFing it. However I soldiered on and was pleasantly surprised with the turn of events and how much the characters grew into themselves. I struggled with my rating because I hated the first half, but I really enjoyed the second…so a solid 2.5 stars it is. It was good, and I would read the next book when I have the time.
Despite the synopsis, Avery actually follows the story of four characters – Ava (aka Avery), Ambrose (second prince), Thorne (crown prince) and Roselyn (Thorne’s whimsical wife). Ava is from the country Kaya, where magic exists in the form of warders. The other three are from Pirenti, a barbaric loveless country that values strength and masculinity. Both countries are at war but most citizens have forgotten the reason why. I really hate it when books skimp on the historical details because it just makes me feel disconnected to the characters’ thought processes and what their motivation would be to continue the war. The worldbuilding definitely left me wanting more.
While worldbuilding may be lacking, the characterisation was definitely on point. You can see a change in all four characters as the story progressed and I was truly impressed with how natural this progression was. Roselyn is the weakest of all four characters. As a female living in Pirenti, she’s bound to remain subservient to her husband Thorne, who abuses her for her oddities and mistakes, thinking it’s a way to teach her to improve. She’s fragile and scared of everything, using a counting mechanism to keep herself from going insane. Thorne and Roselyn are complete opposites as he’s the most feared person in Pirenti, having been born with berserker blood. While abusive at times, I thought his actions were at times necessary to show the way his country has shaped him as a person. The changes he goes through in understanding what love and affection is highlight the stark contrast between the Thorne at the start of the book to the Thorne at the end. Roselyn also changes a lot throughout the book as she grows into herself and starts becoming stronger. Needless to say I enjoyed their development a lot more than Ava and Ambrose’s.
Ava and Ambrose ends up on the prison isle after being ship wrecked. I found it a little unbelievable as they describe the journey takes two weeks but three days into their trip and after being shipwrecked, they manage to wash up on the isle? There are a lot of small plot holes like these throughout the first half, contributing to my dislike of the beginning of the book. Fortunately as the novel progresses, Ava and Ambrose also grows to rely on each other, having each saved the other’s life. There is a bit of sexy time in the book which I welcomed, and applaud the author for including. I love that more and more NA books are featuring sex in other genres like fantasy rather than contemporary romance. It’s a natural part of a relationship and I personally don’t think it should be considered such a taboo subject.
What I enjoyed most about the book is the resilience and strength of all the characters. Like I mentioned before, all four characters were on point. Each had their own demons to overcome and it was so nice to see that they all slowly changed the way they viewed life throughout the novel. I’m also very impressed that McConaghy was not afraid to hurt her characters and make them experience pain. It just added more realism to the dire situations they were facing.
Despite the issues I had with this book, the last half really impressed me. If you’ve picked up this book but faced the same issues I had with the first half, I urge you to continue because it does get better. Avery has a shaky beginning but a very solid conclusion.
Thank you to Random House Australia for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Follow the Avery Tour! Visit Random House Australia’s tour page and visit the other blogs for reviews, interviews and giveaways.
• Thursday 29 January 2015: Aussie Author Challenge – Interview and Giveaway
• Saturday 31 January 2015: Book Muster Down Under – Sneak peek
• Thursday 5 February 2015: Speculating on SpecFic – Review
• Friday 6 February 2015: Book’d Out – Review
• Monday 9 February 2015: An Adventure in Words – Review
• Thursday 12 February 2015: Inside my Words – Review
• Friday 13 February 2015: Words Read and Written – Review and interview
• Monday 16 February 2015: Stephanie Gunn blog – Review
• Tuesday 17 February 2015: A Word Shaker – Review
• Thursday 19 February 2015: Inside My Words – Interview
• Tuesday 24 February 2015: Thoughts by Joy – Review
• Thursday 26 February 2015: The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Review
• Friday 27 February 2015: The Rest Is Still Unwritten – Interview