Avery by Charlotte McConaghy is a book about many things…love, identity–both personal and national, grief and tradition. Charlotte McConaghy expertly weaves these large themes together to create a compelling novel.
Upon getting my copy of Avery, I was a bit concerned because the cover has a banner that read “Random Romance.” In general, I’m not a huge fan of romance novels, but I did get a chance to read another of Ms. McConaghy’s novels earlier this year and decided to jump in with both feet. And in the end, I was happy I gave the story a chance.
What did I like about Avery?
The world building. Kaya and Perenti came alive. Both countries have unique identities and traditions. Kaya embraces love. Perenti embraces chaos. The opinions of each country were equally shared so it was difficult to determine which country and characters to side with.
Ava and Ambrose. These two main characters played off each other well. The relationship built at a reasonable pace (as in no insta-love) and had its equal share of reasonable ups and downs based on the events surrounding the “I’m madly in love with you” vs. “I hate your guts” moments. In other words, their relationship seemed real.
I loved Roselyn. Her story really struck a chord with me and I wanted to know more about her mysterious back story–her abusive father and her loving mother. Her upbringing definitely shaped her and I want to know more!
What didn’t I like about Avery?
Thorne and Roselyn. While their story was interesting and I wanted to know more. I felt what little was shared wasn’t fully formed. As a result, how their back stories and roles in the Perenti royalty fit in with the bigger picture of what Ava and Ambrose were trying to accomplish seemed a bit stilted.
I don’t feel Thorne’s voice was unique and many times I became confused on whose point of view I was reading. Ava, Thorne and Ambrose, when they are together, have a similar tone because they are warriors/fighters.
How one of the big reveals was handled. I’m not sure how much I can say without sharing a spoiler. It involves Ava and the Queen of Perenti. If a single bit of information had been discovered earlier in the novel, it would have provided more tension between Ava and Ambrose and another reason for them to implement change.
Overall, I enjoyed Avery by Charlotte McConaghy. She built a unique, balanced world with believable relationships and real-world problems. I look forward to the next book in the Kayan Chronicles series!