Lost in Spaaaaace: AVALON by Mindee Arnett

Posted 20 January, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 15 Comments

AVALON (Avalon #1) by Mindee Arnett
YA Science Fiction
432 pages, hardcover
Available tomorrow (Jan. 21, 2014)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

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’ve always been a SciFi fan, ever since my dad and I went to go see the original Star Wars (and subsequent movies. Except those three new ones. Those sucked.) when I was little so I’m really loving this resurgence of fabulous science fiction, especially in the young adult arena (not that there hasn’t always been scifi out there — I may love the genre but I don’t love all of it. Picky, picky, I know.).

Avalon is a highly enjoyable scifi romp through space populated by interesting characters and an intriguing world. Jeth was a bit of an antihero who reminded me a little of Han Solo. He has the cocky attitude and loyalty to his friends and sister, loves his ship, and is a criminal. He’s also a bit of a jackass, very focused on getting his ship back and getting away from the bad dude who plays a large role in his life.

The worldbuilding could have been stronger. At times, I had difficulty envisioning what was going on, especially in the last third of the book. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance. There just didn’t seem to be a big connection between the two of them. There certainly wasn’t the trust, as Jeth learned pretty quickly. You can’t have a good relationship without trust, after all. 

Maybe those negatives will come together a bit more in the second book. I’ll be reading it either way — I want to know what happens next! And what’s up with the little girl! And the bad guys! And…and…things I can’t talk about here because they’d be spoilers and I wouldn’t do that to you all. If you’re a scifi fan at all, pick up this book. Read it. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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15 Responses to “Lost in Spaaaaace: AVALON by Mindee Arnett”

  1. Hee, I love your post title for this. SPAAAAACE. I am a huge scifi fan too, so I’m pretty sure I will enjoy this, too. It’s gotten a lot of mixed reviews, it seems, but Kate liked it too, so between the two of you, I don’t see how I can go wrong! It sounds like despite a few quibbles, it was still a really entertaining read.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  2. I love this book. Beyond love. I think because I’ve talked to Mindee about it a lot and know she drew on Firefly as inspiration, one of my all-time favorite shows ever. So I pictured that kind of world and was able to fill in the gaps for myself.

    But I am glad you enjoyed it! Go read Proxy!

  3. I never used to like sci-fi but there have been so many great books lately that I’m coming around.

    I do find that a lot of them follow the Hans Solo formula though. Cocky guy, criminal, only cares about his ship – yet sexy lol I guess those movies were a big influence to authors.

  4. The romance was a little tricky for me as well Mary, mostly because I’m a brutal grudge holder, and well, there was a grudge held against a certain someone. Still, despite that, I loved this book and was riveted from beginning to end, and like you can’t wait to see what happens next. Glad you enjoyed this overall!

  5. Eh, I rarely find a book enjoyable when the romance doesn’t feel solid and real. And with sci-fi, you need strong world-building, so I’m not sure if this will be for me. Plus, my brother read it and didn’t enjoy it, so I think I’ll put it on the back-burner! Great review, Mary!

  6. I’m excited to read this! I’m not much of a sci-fi fan. but I’ll definitely have to give this one a try. Jeth sounds like an interesting character, although the romance does seem disappointing. Great review 🙂

  7. I’ve been curious about this one. It’s too bad the romance isn’t better and the world building shaky but it sounds like it’s still worth the read!

  8. Oh I do like sci-fi so I think I’ll probably enjoy it. However, you have Han Solo in my head now. I also have “I just as soon kiss a wookie!” “I can arrange that!” Hm… I’m betting you know that line as well. LOL So adding this one to my wishlist… for Han… 😀

  9. Bummer, I like science fiction and space too but I expect, no demand that the author give me a panoramic view of the world and action..if you cannot envision it how can you submerse yourself. Great review Mary!

  10. I love Han Solo. For that comparison alone I’d read this book. I’m glad you had fun reading Avalon despite some flaws. I like narrators that are antiheroes. But my plans are to hold off reading this until later books are out to see how it goes.

  11. I do love sci-fi more than any other genre, urban fantasy aside. I’m not sure about this since the worldbuilding is faulty and that’s the most important part, but I’m determined to give it a chance. Hopefully the romance will work better in the next book.

  12. I adore sci-fi and especially anything set in space. I was planning on reading this one but then I read some reviews that mention the same issues you had—the romance and weak worldbuilding. I think I might wait until the sequel to invest the time, but I’m glad you still enjoyed this despite a few issues.

  13. I enjoyed this one too, Mary. Being such a fan of Sci-fi, it’s hard not to be picky, but I think this series is off to a good start. I liked that it mostly did take place in space, my only hope is to warm up to Jeth. I like him, but he felt somewhat distant to me. Wonderful review! : See you on Goodreads. 🙂