I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 21st, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
When I heard that there would be a genuine hardcore science fiction space opera coming in the Young Adult genre, I immediately had to jump on it. I had to have that shit. And in many ways it really lived up to my expectations. Certain parts were a bit lackluster, but overall it was an exciting thrill ride.
Avalon tells the story of a group of teenagers who work for a crime boss, Hammer. Jeth, the leader of the group, heads the latest mission to a Bermuda Triangle-like region of space, the Belgrave, where they are assigned to pick up a stranded ship. Quickly, shenanigans ensue, as the horrors of the Belgrave and the mysteries of the metatech, hoarded by the government, come to light.
The plot and the sci-fi world are the strongest parts of Avalon. If you like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who, it’s a relatively safe bet that you will enjoy it. It’s not a flimsy superficial science fiction story that you might expect within young adult. Instead, it’s a high-stakes action adventure, involving the horrors of deep space and the advanced technology present in this world. It gets pretty science-y. It truly appealed to the sci-fi lover in me, so when I got into the story, I found it rather hard to stop reading. There was suspense, plot twists, betrayal, politics – absolutely intriguing.
However, the characters were not that memorable. None of them really managed to charm me. And that’s a sad thing, because characters are ultimately probably the most important thing to me in books. Jeth, the leader of the group, was a bit static. It was hard to find some part of his personality that really stood out. Instead, he had his leadership role, and while he at times had to make tough decisions, it was hard to connect to him and empathize with him. I didn’t really get a good sense of his personality. Partially, this is due to the third person narrations. While I liked that there was this bigger cast of characters, I can’t really say that any of them left a lasting impression. I did like the overall loyalty within the group, and how they truly looked out for each other while they each had their own sad back stories, but… can’t say I feel really attached to any of them.
Though I really enjoyed and got sucked into this story, I must admit that there are some plot holes that bother me. The biggest example would be Hammer. Although he’s a crime lord, and although Jeth executes these crimes, they both have this weird obsession with the title to Avalon. Like, they have to hold the title to have the ship. The title cannot be forged. Like. What? You’re freaking criminals. If there is some reason why this absolutely must be obeyed it was not explained. It was more like an oversight to keep the plot working. The same goes for implants. No implants under the age of 18. Hammer is strangely adherent to this rule. What, is there like a freaking alarm bell that goes off in the universe should he break that rule? I don’t get it. These are minor things, but as a fan of logic, they do bother me. It makes Hammer, this big evil guy, kind of laughable. And I don’t think that was the intention.