Avalon (Avalon #1) by Mindee Arnett
January 21, 2014
Balzer & Bray (Macmillan)
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* ARC courtesy of the lovely Kelly @ Effortlessly Reading
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 was touted as a Firefly/Battlestar Galatica-esque YA about teenagers traversing the universe, stealing stuff and whatnot, so I, obviously, was excited and had a lot of expectations for it. What can go wrong? (I’m sure you know by know that I’m a huge fan of both shows.) Of course, this book didn’t actually live up to them (in terms of character development), but surprisingly, I wasn’t as disappointed as I initially thought I would be? I enjoyed it (once I got 100 pages into it) because of the space travel and the ~mystery of the Belgrave Quadrant.
Proxy is an action-packed introduction to a world like nothing readers have seen before, and it sets a spark to the powder keg that will explode in Mindee Arnett’s sci-fi thriller Avalon.
If you need something stolen from any star system in the Confederation, you need look no further than the Shades. Jeth Seagrave and his band of teenage mercenaries have been making a name for themselves for being able to steal anything—and for disappearing before anyone is the wiser. Their latest job, a jewel heist on Grakkus, should be no different. But when Jeth’s boss replaces a key member of his crew just before takeoff, and Jeth discovers a betrayal within his own ranks, he begins to suspect that not everyone is going to be coming back from his job alive.
First sentence: “The thrill of the job never got old.”
I wanted to love Proxy (a novella prequel to Avalon) because it’s part of a series that has things I love — space, heists/thefts, and found families (not so much of the last one in this novella) — but I feel a bit let down. Proxy introduces a few key characters who are on a jewel heist for their crime-lord employer and then a betrayal happens.
I wanted to be totally in love with the characters. Unfortunately, we (as in the characters and I) are still in the stage of getting to know each other. I still don’t understand the characters nor do I get the dynamics among the crew. I didn’t really care for Jeth’s relationship with his sister. And that is rather horrible. Something was lacking in Proxy, and I think it’s missing chemistry between the characters and the found family aspect. I wanted to feel the love the crew have for each other, but I just felt like they were co-workers doing on a job. That’s it.
The only character I really liked was Danforth, which we won’t see him in Avalon because of everything that happened in this novella. I found him to be the most interesting character. He’s unlike the other characters in the sense that he is a bit older, is suffering from an addiction, and is extremely desperate to break free from Hammer’s control. This is the type of person Jeth could be if Jeth is pushed too far. (Maybe it’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come? Maybe.)
(btw, did anybody else imagine Hammer Dafoe (the Shades’s boss) as Willem Dafoe just because of their names? Because I did. Ha.)
I do like the world-building in this. We get to see how things work and the gadgets in their world in its basic form. I’m pumped to read more because I could never imagine this type of world (even though my novel is a bit similar to Proxy).
I think I had a lot of expectations for this story because it’s been touted as the YA Firefly. A lot of pressure to live up to, right? Proxy disappointed me, but I’m still excited to read Avalon. I need to rein in on my expectations for Avalon in case it doesn’t live up to them. I’d hate to be disappointed.