ARC Book Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Posted January 16, 2014 by Debby in Book Reviews

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.

ARC Book Review: Avalon by Mindee ArnettAvalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 21st, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
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.

3.5 Stars

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.

Summing Up:

Overall, Avalon was definitely enjoyable. If anything, I really love the originality of having such a hardcore sci-fi in YA. The story was absolutely exciting, suspenseful, and thrilling, reminiscent of certain Doctor Who adventures. So obviously, I liked it. However, the characters were a bit too static to make this an absolute favorite, and there were some plot holes that I raised my eyebrow at. BUT STILL. The story and the world together are worth those 3.5 oranges.

GIF it to me straight!


Recommended To:

Fans of hardcore sci-fi, like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who.

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12 responses to “ARC Book Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

  1. This wasn’t such a great read for me since I focus on the characters mainly, and I really didn’t like them :/ I had a little problem with the third person too, and I really hated Sierra. Though the world-building was great.
    I didn’t think of those plot holes as I read, and now that I think of them, I totally agree with you. As a whole I couldn’t enjoy this much but hopefully the sequel will be better.
    Great review 🙂

  2. Most of the reviews I’ve read of this one said the same things you did. I’m pretty curious about this one, since I vowed to myself that I’ll read more space opera this year. The world seems great and I would love to get sucked into it as you did! The characters, though… *shrugs* I’ll think about it when I get there lol. 🙂

  3. I’m happy to hear that as a huge sci-fi fan I will be enjoying it! I just cannot wait till my preorder gets home!
    Thanks for the honest review, I feel like forewarned is forearmed and I will be enjoying the book more without extremely high expectations!

  4. I kinda wanted to check Avalon out because sci-fi (one of my favorite genres), but now I’m not so sure if I’ll be picking it up any time soon… I want something a bit more than ‘just’ enjoyable.

    • Yeah, I get it. It’s hard to find really good sci-fi though that goes a bit above and beyond the fluffy YA stuff. *sigh* I will keep looking!

    • I liked the plot though. The plot holes were ultimately not that big, so they bothered me, but I would hardly say that they ruined the plot. It was action packed and awesome!

  5. I think this is the 5th review I have seen, and I keep seeing the the same rating and the same complaints. I am thinking about dropping this title now. I just don’t have time for mediocre books.

  6. We have the same feelings about Avalon! I really enjoyed it (especially the all the dramatic twists and turns), but I had problems with the character development. I really wish I’d cared more about Jeth and his crew, and even the villains of this book. Hopefully, we get better character development in the next one!

    • Meh, I doubt there will be much character development in this series, since it’s so plot-heavy, but who knows, they could prove me wrong.