Series: Avalon #1
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 432 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
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.
I enjoyed Arnett's debut, THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, so I was super excited to give this book a chance. Combine that with the fact that there is a comparison to Joss Whedon's genius in the synopsis and I was sold, though I will admit that I have never seen an episode of FIREFLY. I'm happy to report that this is a fabulous space odyssey full of betrayal, fights for freedom, and plot twists galore, though it lacks in a solid emotional connection with the characters.
The plot of this story was so full of win that I can't even do it justice. The second that I felt like I knew what would happen next, Arnett threw me for a loop and would take the story in a completely different direction. Once the story started there was never any resting period and this four hundred plus page novel was a real breeze to read simply because the plot was so enjoyable. It constantly kept me on my toes and there were seriously some moments where my heart beat so fast I thought it would fly out of my chest.
It was really easy for me to love Jeth. He will literally do anything to save what is left of his family. He's simply a seventeen year old kid fighting to protect his loved ones and to win back what belongs to him and his family. It was easy to support his cause, but I just couldn't feel for him. For whatever reason, no matter how tragic several of the back-story's were, I did not connect with anyone emotionally. I stood behind them, but when it came to feeling their pain, it was almost like there was a glass wall between us, making such a connection completely impossible. I was on the outside looking in. I think this can be contributed to the fact that the book is more action-driven as opposed to character-driven. The plethora of action sequences in this novel were completely engrossing the ways I wish the characters could be, yet the characters were interesting enough to be far from fully flat.
The romance in this book was well done because it served as more of a sub-plot that tended to show itself at the best moments. As a huge individual against insta-love, I found this tiny romance to be completely satisfying because it was more of a mutual attraction that they both want to explore. Neither of the participants are willing to lose the other, but they're not proclaiming their love from the rooftops. Well done, Arnett, well done.
In the end, book two has a lot of promise. All of my qualms began to disappear near the end and the story ended all to soon in the sense that I still want more. Some major changes occurred that are setting up for some wild adventures for book two. There were certain plot twists that had me reeling and begging for more, but I also have to admit that I'm upset with the fact that some major questions were left unanswered. My gut is telling me that things will be resolved in book two, but in certain areas I hated that something that was at once a major plot point just disappeared into oblivion. But, hey, that's a space odyssey, isn't it?
This book is perfect for action-adventure fans that also enjoy science fiction and a brand new interpretation of space. I would actually say this is a great introductory book for readers who want to attempt to delve into the science fiction genre for the first time. This is also a great book for individuals who don't want a dominating romantic plot, but any kind of romance will satisfy this reader.
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any form in exchange for this honest review.