Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Avalon by Mindee Arnett [Review]

Avalon (Avalon, #1)4 out of 5 Robots!

Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #1
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Release: January 21, 2014
Hardcover: 432 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
First of all, I loved the concept.  (And yes, admittedly, the description did strike me a bit as "The Young Adventures of Mal Reynolds", which is a plus in my book).  I also loved that this is a bit of a YA space western.   So, I appreciated everything this book was trying to do.  And for the most part I liked it.  I didn't love it, but it was decent.  I didn't mind it nearly as much as some of the reviews I've seen.  But I also felt this book had a hard time finding its voice.  It starts off as a space romp with a ragtag team of teenage thieves, but it starts to sag under the weight of the direction of the story and info dumping.  It lost some of the joviality that makes plots like this fun and exciting.  Things got darker than I expected.  Also, it was a long-ish book at 432 pages, but it felt looooonnnggg.  I appreciated that Arnett was trying to really walk her readers through the unfamiliar terminology and technology, but honestly, sometimes I just didn't care and wanted to get to the good stuff.  And I felt all the explanations got in the way of character development.  I didn't expect a real deep book, but we hardly get to know or understand any of the characters - especially Jeth's crew who fade into the background about half way through the book.  Which is a shame, because I think they were incredibly underutilized.  But I will say that on the whole, I still enjoyed it.  I liked Jeth (even though he was WAY too trusting for a master thief).  I did find a lot of it exciting, especially when I really had no idea how Jeth was going to get out of some pretty dire situations.  I just wish it had some more zing to it.

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