Review: Avalon

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: AvalonAvalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 21, 2014
Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
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three-half-stars

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.

Lately, I’ve really been in the mood for science fiction, ever since reading the truly wonderful Fortune’s Pawn. In the wake of that awesomeness was a good time to pick up Avalon. Though lacking in the emotional component for me, I enjoyed almost every other aspect of the novel. Mindee Arnett’s Avalon is an action-packed, betrayal-filled science fiction novel.

The first thing you’ll have to do with Avalon is get over the fact that some of the most talented people in space are teenagers. They’re everywhere, doing all the dangerous stuff. Crime lords want them and so does the government. Honestly, I was laughing about this, particularly when the group of teens finds the ship they were sent for and find MORE teens. Because of course. But, hey, this is YA, and it’s to be expected. Accept this and move on with the action.

Jeth, which sounds like a cool future, spacey name until you learn it’s short for Jethro, works for Hammer, a mob boss who rules an entire planet in an iron fist. This Hammer is one creepy dude. He’s got this implant thing that is basically the one ring to rule over all of his security people with lesser implants. If you get on his bad side, you become untouchable until you starve to death. Because his uncle gambled away the family ship, Jeth’s stuck working for Hammer until he can earn enough money to buy the Avalon back.

Jeth earns money by performing missions for Hammer. He has a team of teens working with him, including his younger sister Lizzie, who’s a tech whiz, and who I picture as Edward from Cowboy Bebop. Laughable as the idea of these teens being an infamous group of thieves is to me, Arnett does explain that they’re so effective because they look so harmless. As the book opens, the gang’s preparing to steal a ship. Celeste and Jeth pretend to be a teen couple canoodling and then take out some unsuspecting guards.

As I said, the plot’s very action- and technology-heavy. Either that’s your thing or it’s not. Arnett’s got a really neat concept underlying some of the space travel technology, and I’m really curious to see where it’s going. The phasing stuff is so cool and so creepy, but you’ll have to read the book yourself to know what I’m talking about. Oh, also, there’s a thing at the end that’s an awesome homage to Star Wars (View Spoiler »), which is win.

As an alert for friends who I know are very bothered by this, there is one use of the word “retarded.” Lizzie uses it to insult someone who made an unwise suggestion. I find this word choice especially puzzling, given that I think this word isn’t used as slang that commonly anymore, so am I really meant to believe that far enough in the future the characters hardly know what America is this slang is still being used? This is the ARC, though, so maybe that word will be edited out, since it really adds nothing to the story.

Avalon hit me at the right time, when I was totally in the mood for some action-packed science fiction. The Firefly comparison does have some merit, though it’s more like if the CW had made Firefly. Anyway, it was a fun read with a male MC and only a little bit of romance, which quite distinguishes it from the bulk of YA offerings.

Favorite Quote:

View Spoiler »

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

Edward oooh

5 responses to “Review: Avalon”

  1. I love this book. LOVE. Maybe because of the Firefly references, (and yes, this would be Firefly, CW style) or because it was SciFi I could actually understand. LOL. I don’t really do SciFi. It makes me feel stupid. I guess my brain can’t imagine all those techy, fantastical things I need to *see* to get.

  2. Sounds really good. I can get over the teens in control thing, and I do love the idea of technology stuff. I love Sci-Fi probably because I’m not a very visual reader, so I just need to know how it works to enjoy the story, I don’t need all the details. I’ll definitely be looking for this one.
    P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex recently posted…Judging Books By Their CoversMy Profile

  3. Bonnie says:

    Hmm! I may actually have to check this one out. I considered myself to be a bit on the fence about it but considering I really enjoyed The Nightmare Affair I think I’ll have to give it a chance.
    I feel like a total outcast because my weird self has never seen Firefly. Terrible, I know.
    Bonnie recently posted…Something To Look Forward To – Week of December 23rd, 2013My Profile

  4. I enjoyed this one quite a bit once I let go of a few of my personal pet peeves. It was full of action and I was really interested in the tech stuff. Will be interesting to see where she takes it next.
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…#ReadingCram check inMy Profile

  5. I’m in the middle of this one and feeling very tempted to DNF it because it’s so blah to me. Your review is pretty much the only reason I’m still reading because it’s making me expect fun stuff. I’ll give it a little longer because my gut is still telling me Not My Thing. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it, though! One of these days, I should get Fortune’s Pawn and try it out.

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