Series: The Chronicles of Kaya #1
Published by Bantam Books, Random House Australia on February 2015 (orig June 2013)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Bookworld Reviewer Program
Amazon • Amazon UK • Book Depository
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?
Ava’s bondmate Avery was brutally killed in a failed attack on the barbaric Pirenti Queen, but unlike other Kayans, Ava didn’t perish along with her mate. Because of this, she was cast out of her home. As a half-walker – someone with only half a soul, she is unable to feel pleasure or happiness, only anger. Her plans for revenge back in Pirenti are thwarted when she is captured by the second Pirenti prince, Ambrose. On their eye-opening journey together, they both learn new things about themselves and each other.
The story of Avery is told not only from both Ava and Ambrose’s points of view, but also from Thorne, the first prince’s and his wife, Roselyn’s points of view. This may sound a little overwhelming and it does get that way at times. Ava and Ambrose’s voices are kind of similar and it doesn’t help that Ava is pretending to be a boy for a lot of the story so it can be tricky to tell them apart. Thorne and Roselyn, however, are both such strong and different characters that their stories make this larger tale really interesting.
Roselyn is really a victim in the harsh and barbaric country of Pirenti. Vague at times and known for being stupid, she is actually extremely misunderstood. Prone to constantly counting things (an obsessive compulsion) and dreaming away her hours, she is actually highly perceptive of people and how they think and feel. Like anyone, she just wants to be loved, but her child-like manner is not proper for a noble Pirenti lady and she is hated by the Queen.
Thorne is a beserker, and can’t deal with the way his wife’s strangeness makes them both laughing stocks of the palace. He puts her in the dungeon for days at a time to punish her, and is often physically as well as emotionally abusive. I really didn’t like the way that their relationship was developed – It seemed to suggest that if you continue to love someone who hurts you, you can heal them of their abusive tendencies. This goes against all advice given to people in abusive situations. Thankfully I’ve never been in an abusive relationship myself, but I believe that the most courageous thing to do is to take yourself out of that situation before you get hurt any more.
If the abuse is overlooked, Thorne and Roselyn’s relationship is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Their story, as well as other sections with Ava and Ambrose, moved me to tears on more than one occasion.
Avery was written a few years ago by Charlotte McConaghy, an Aussie author. I actually guessed that she was an Aussie before I looked it up, by the fact that there was swearing and also actual sex – those things don’t usually make it into YA books from other countries. I love that Aussie publishers are more relaxed about those things!
There is a second book in this series already published, (Thorne) but it is set in the future with a new cast of characters. I’ll be happy to return to this interesting world to see how the story has progressed.
– This is a story about love, hate and redemption, about pulling out of terrible, crippling grief and learning to love again.I really enjoyed reading it, although the general violence and portrayal of abusive relationships put me off a little.