Avalon (Avalon #1)

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3.8 (3)
 
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Avalon (Avalon #1)
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
January 21, 2014
ISBN
9780062235596
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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.

Editor reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.8
Plot 
 
4.3  (3)
Characters 
 
3.3  (3)
Writing Style 
 
3.7  (3)
One hell of a joyride.
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Avalon starts off with a bang - Jeth and his crew of teenage thieves must steal a ship and get it back safely to their crime lord boss, Hammer. Then the action slows, and we learn about the crew, Jeth and Lizzie's past, their parents' deaths, and all about their ship - also their home - the "Avalon". Soon we're swept up in their newest job - collect a lost ship from the treacherous Belgrave Sector - like the Bermuda Triangle of space - and get back to their home station within 2 weeks. With faster-than-light metaspace travel, potential paranormal powers and aliens, a government conspiracy, budding romance, quirky/funny friends, and all kinds of action Avalon is one hell of a joyride.

I really enjoyed the book, particularly the protagonist, Jeth Seagrave. He's complicated, rough around the edges, sometimes cute and sometimes silly, and completely endearing. I think that girl and guy readers will like his point of view. It was sweet that he has a soft spot for his sister, Liz, and for little Cora. He reads Cora stories and kisses her goodnight and is totally big-brother kind of mushy with the little girl. So adorable.

I am such a huge science fiction fan, and Avalon didn't disappoint me in that regard. The world-building for humankind's future was really well done. The intricacies of metaspace (not to be revealed cause spoilers!) were really cool, albeit a little predictable, and still really otherworldly and interesting. The biology and physics needed to explain some of the plot points doesn't get too complex at any point - but it doesn't baby the reader, either, which I really respect.

I was only disappointed with the lack of depth in the side characters (except for Jeth's sister, Lizzie). Jeth's crew had the potential to be a really awesome group of misfits, like in Lydia Kang's Control or Gina Damico's Croak series. But they were flat, undeveloped teens without enough depth or anything to make them memorable. In the next book (yes, it's a trilogy!) I hope that changes. I want to know more about Shady's past, and laugh at more of Flynn's silly antics, and see if Celeste is jealous of Jeth's attraction to Sierra. However, that's my only small complaint.

Fans of sci-fi and action will really enjoy this book. In particular, if you liked The Paladin Prophecy, Control by Lydia Kang, and the Alex Rider series then you'll definitely like Avalon. I would recommend it for middle and high school readers, as well as adult fans of YA.
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Fun Sci -Fic Adventure
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

I grew up on shows like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. All thing Star Wars started as a young child and still continues today. Although I didn't find Firefly until NetFlix came along, it has become another favorite of mine. So when I heard about Avalon I was pretty excited!

I loved reading Avalon as most of my students could attest - there is now a waiting list for the sole copy in the school. And I liked it’s storyline. It is nice to see a rise in new YA science-fiction and I hope this is just the start of a great trend. It is definitely more of an action and adventure driven plot and I like it that way. It’s teen characters have lots of potential and it does have that Firefly feel without getting too complicated. Some critics might say that there is a lack of depth in the romance department. However, I like how it centers more on the main action of the plot.

Mindee Arnett is amazing at world building and the constant surprise twists in the plot make Avalon a fun read. Although readers don't get to know characters in depth, the reader becomes well versed in the world of Avalon. Sometimes books focus solely of getting to the heart of each character and ultimately the world they live in is just a flat painted canvas. I'm Avalon, the world itself becomes a main character and it's dark emptiness just adds to the dangers the characters must face.

Jeth Seagrave is smart, savvy, brave and loyal to a fault. And he's a thief. He’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and loves nothing more than being in the thick of action and danger-just what I love in a protagonist. He is also very determined to get back the Avalon (his parents' ship) from Hammer- Jeth's beloved intergalactic crime boss.

All of the action and setting of Avalon takes place within space.There is plenty of futuristic tech talk and gadgets which helps solidify the world building. Once Jeth and the crew reach the Belgrave Quadrant , the story and pace really begins to pick up.The Belgrave Quadrant had an almost paranormal-Bermuda Triangle- feel to it, and what Jeth and the crew ultimately discover is a true story changer adding a whole new layer to the story! A true page turner full of plot twists, betrayals, and exciting discoveries all the way till the very end! Looking forward to the sequel!

An action packed novel that is hard to put down, science fiction fans will love Avalon!


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Action-Packed Space Adventure
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
What I Liked:
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, which is win.

What Left Me Wanting More:
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.

The Final Verdict:
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.
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