Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Release Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Series: Avalon, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

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.

I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed this one. I didn't know what to expect, and having not read a lot of sci-fi novels, there was not much to go on as I'm not too familiar with the genre conventions either. Anyway, after reading Avalon, I might explore more of this genre! I'm a fan of the Star Trek movies (the new ones... haven't gotten around to seeing the old ones yet!), and this one kind of reminded me of  it, so you can imagine how taken I was with Avalon.

I really enjoyed the characters, and I love how they're all so different. Jeth was a great main character, and – I've mentioned this before – there's not that many male protagonists in YA, and it's good to see the growth of these male characters being brought up this year, and hopefully this trend will continue! I thought that the romance with Sierra worked, even though I thought that Celeste would actually be the love interest... anyway, it's an interesting change of course. Sierra was an intriguing character, but I didn't love her all too much. She was great at some parts, kind of lost my favor in others, but a pretty dynamic character overall who brings a lot of twists to the story.
I loved Lizzie! She was my favorite character in this book, hands down. She was hilarious, smart, had great comebacks... Shady was a close second, being the loveable idiot. I wish that there was more development on Flynn's, Vince's and Milton's characters though, because I thought that while they were featured quite prominently, we don't actually get to learn enough about these characters. Cora was absolutely adorable! Loved her involvement in the novel, particularly as the plot thickens...

There are a lot of plot shockers in this one, so it's definitely a punch to the stomach every now and then (literally and figuratively). I got somewhat confused with the different terms along the way, because I felt that I didn't have a good hold on the world-building and what exactly it was composed of, but hopefully that will be revealed in the prequel, Proxy, once I get my hands on a copy, or I'll be able to understand it more in the second book.
This book was LONG. Really long. It took me ages to get through it and while I was captivated by the story, I felt that maybe since it was super long, characters could have been developed more. There were also pockets of dry air where it could have probably picked up the pace a little bit as well. There was however, a good chunk of action now and then to keep fans of science-fiction really happy.

It's a good change to see that this series is a duology, which is something you don't see much of in YA now days (it's all about the trilogy, isn't it?). That being said, I can't wait for the concluding book, although it may prompt a re-read of this one, and I'm definitely looking forward to diving back into this world. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and really want to read The Nightmare Affair now! Avalon was fast-paced, gritty and filled with heart-pounding action, and readers everywhere will be hooked from the first word.

If you like this, try...

  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis Goodreads
  • Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder Goodreads

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