Avalon by Mindee Arnett

AvalonAvalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #1
Published by: Balzer & Bray on January 21, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Space
Pages: 432
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
Rating: ★★★½

A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.

Avalon is a really unique book in the world of young adult books, and is perfect for sci-fi fans! There are very few YA books out there like this.. if any!

When I first started reading, I felt like I was playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.. with the space travel, the crime bosses, and the missions. I loved it! Maybe it’s stereotypical of me to associate anything space travel with Star Wars, but I can’t help it. Star Wars is awesome and the whole space travel thing really made me excited about Avalon.

Avalon had a really interesting story. I liked Jeth as a character and I started to really feel for him. He lost both his parents, his uncle kind of placed him in a bad situation that now has him working for a crime boss guy, and now he has no way to get out of it. (There’s no walking away from that kind of life!) I really sympathized with him! I understood his motives and the pressure he was under. I don’t always connect well with male characters—and maybe I still didn’t connect with Jeth perfectly—but at least I was able to understand and sympathize with him to a certain degree.

I enjoyed all the pieces that came into play. Although maybe some of the twists were predictable, I felt like everything came together quite nicely at the end. There were a few things I didn’t totally expect, and I enjoyed seeing them play out!

One of the one things that caused me to lose a bit of interest was the “almost-paranormal” side of Avalon. At first I saw a book purely about science and technology.. but then an almost-paranormal element was introduced (I thought it seemed more paranormal than futuristic science), and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. It didn’t make the book bad, I just wasn’t crazy about the direction it took. Maybe some people will love it, but I’m just not sure I’m totally on board with it.

Also, there was a lack of history in Avalon. This book is set WAY in the future (hundreds and hundreds of years), but as a result, we’re told almost nothing about how the world evolved from 2013. It throws around the term “First-Earth” a few times, but other than that, we’re given zero sense of how/when the people of Earth started settling on other planets. I think the “current” (in the book) way of life was built up really well and I was easily able to start picturing it. But I always had the lingering questions about how it actually came to be and how things progressed. I guess that kind of comes with the territory of a space travel book though.

I’d classify Avalon as more of a hardcore sci-fi book. So I can’t recommend it to everyone but if sci-fi and space travel are your thing, then definitely give it a whirl!

The Verdict

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14 comments

  1. I don’t read much sci-fi, but I’d definitely read this one. Although the zero backstory part kind of turns me off a bit, I don’t think it would make me hate the book either. I haven’t seen the Star Wars movies (yes, I know *shame*), so I don’t have that much “knowledge” on sci-fi things. I have to fix that quick xD

    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted: It’s Three Kings Day!
  2. *whew* I have to say, I’m REALLY happy to see this one get a good review. I’ve mostly seen negative, or so-so reviews. I’m hoping I enjoy it, since I liked Mindee’s first book.

    I’m glad you liked it, Ashley! Despite the world-building, it’s good that the present setting was really well done. And WHOO-HOO for twists you still liked even though it was predictable.

  3. Yay, I love scifi! And space travel!

    Also, I have been reading more and more books lately that do a kind of fantasy/scifi crossover thing. It’s like science-y paranormal stuff, or something. I have no idea what the actual term for it is, if there IS one– I like it, as it can be very interesting when it’s done well. But it’s definitely not for everyone, especially not if you’re excepting just a hardcore science fiction book.

    Anastasia @ Here There Be Books recently posted: REVIEW: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
  4. I totally agree with you. I feel like Jeth’s character was fantastic and really deep, and I loved his relationships with everyone else. I didn’t notice the lack of history with Avalon, but I can definitely see why you thought that hindered the book as a total. I also kind of felt iffy about the paranormal aspect, because it made the whole plot twist so predictable. But anyway, fantastic review, Ashley! <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Feminist Sunday (1): What is Feminism?
  5. Haha YES. It did seem paranormal ish at that part, but I liked it since it made me think “Intergalacic Horror Story!” The lack of history problem didn’t bother me that much, but I loved the sci-fi bit of it!

    Nikki Wang recently posted: Avalon by Mindee Arnett
  6. For me, it reminded me a little bit like Doctor Who which made me love it a bit more. (You’re in the UK, right?) So, that was kind of a little bias factor I had. I actually liked Jeth, unlike some readers who found him boring. I don’t see how he is, but o-okay.

    You did a great job with the review. I’ve read a lot of Avalon reviews and I don’t think I’ve heard the “paranormal” thing before but I wouldn’t have picked up on it if I didn’t read your review.

    Nova Lee @ Out of Time recently posted: Nova Rants: Book To Movie Adaptations
  7. I’m such a sci-fi nerd that the references felt more like misappropriation than “a tip if the hat” if you will, especially in regards to Firefly. I’ve linked my review in the commentluv feature if anyone is interested in reading it.

    And now that you mention it, the lack of history was a huge, unconscious turn-off for me as well. I’m used to high fantasy books were you’re given the world’s history for the last hundred years before the actual story takes place (i.e. Lord of the Rings). World building is so grounding for a reader and adds great depth to any story, sci-fi/fantasy or otherwise.

    Christina (My Life In Books) recently posted: Book Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett
  8. I used to think I wasn’t a science fiction fan, but more and more I’m learning that I actually love it! I think I could get past not knowing the history, if the current world was explained well enough. And I’m usually ok with a slightly paranormal twist, so hopefully moving in that direction (especially now that I know to expect it) won’t throw me off!

  9. I just finished this and loved it! I thought Jeth was such an interesting and dynamic character. I agree about wanting to know how the world evolved, but didn’t feel like there was much time for it in the book. I did think the world-building of the “current” world was phenomenal. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the romance. But I loved all the sciency and space things.

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: Discussion Post: Favorite Posts
  10. Avalon has certainly been getting mixed reviews from the bloggers I follow. While most of the ones I’ve encountered have been negative (since the bloggers were disappointed), I’m happy to see that you thought it was pretty good! I’m really looking forward to reading this one, and seeing for myself whether the story is as good as I’d hoped it be.

    Alexa S. recently posted: Defy - Sara B. Larson (Review)

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