Avalon

( 13 )

Overview

For fans of Josh Whedon's cult classic television show Firefly comes a fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller from author Mindee Arnett, which New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White calls "a heart-pounding, tense joyride of a novel."

Jeth Seagrave and his crew have made their name stealing metatech: the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light. In a world where the agencies that patrol the outer edges of space are as ...

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Avalon

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Overview

For fans of Josh Whedon's cult classic television show Firefly comes a fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller from author Mindee Arnett, which New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White calls "a heart-pounding, tense joyride of a novel."

Jeth Seagrave and his crew have made their name stealing metatech: the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light. In a world where the agencies that patrol the outer edges of space are as corrupt as the crime bosses who control them, it's as much of a living as anyone can ask for. For years Jeth's managed to fly under the radar of the government that executed his parents for treason—but when he finds himself in possession of information that both the government and the crime bosses are willing to kill for, he's going to find there's no escaping his past anymore.

With pulse-pounding action, a captivating mystery, and even a bit of romance, Avalon is the perfect read for hard-core sci-fi fans and non-sci-fi fans alike.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Nicola McDonald
Jeth Seagrave, referred to as Boss by the teenage mercenaries whom he leads, is working towards earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, the Avalon. His most recent job, however, presented some complications that have him second-guessing himself and his hopes for a better future. Immediately upon his return from the job that changed his thinking, Jeth and his crew are sent to complete another job, but this time they are headed into the Belgrave Quadrant, a dangerous dungeon-like place where many unexplainable things have happened, and where his parents disappeared years ago. Though with reservation, Jeth and his crew trod on, keeping in mind the goal of getting back the Avalon, but what they discover in the Belgrave Quadrant leads to even more questions and distrust. Secrets, betrayal, family, team work, and love are all at the heart of Arnett's book. It is a plot-filled story with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing about what will come next. Still, a more detailed description of this sci-fi world Arnett has created would have allowed for a livelier and more interesting reading experience. Additionally, too much explaining of dialogue and not enough character development prevent connection with characters on a deeper level. Avalon is suitable for readers who enjoy science fiction and action stories. Reviewer: Nicola McDonald; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
★ 02/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Jeth's parents were the preeminent scientists of the Confederation until their final mission ended in tragedy and they were suddenly charged with treason and executed. Since then, Jeth has been in the forced employ of an interstellar crime lord, aboard the Avalon. It is a ship specially designed by Jeth's parents to navigate and explore the Belgrave, a sector of space that gives off inexplicable power fluctuations; many consider it haunted. Jeth is finally given the opportunity to captain the Avalon when the crew are sent into the Belgrave to salvage a stranded Confederation ship said to hold a dangerous weapon. Little does he know that this mission will set off a chain of events that could have far-reaching consequences and fundamentally challenge his understanding of his own family's history. This is an exciting piece of science fiction that keeps up its energy from beginning to end. Fans of the short-lived but beloved Joss Whedon television show Firefly will find this book especially enjoyable, and it is sure to be one of the most popular releases in the genre this year.—Ryan F. Paulsen, New Rochelle High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-09
Action-packed space opera tells the laws of physics to sit down and shut up, to no particular detriment. Seventeen-year-old Jeth and his band of thieves operate under the iron thumb of interstellar crime lord Hammer, who treats traitors and resisters to brutal beatings and mind-erasing brain implants. Pulling jobs for Hammer is Jeth's only way to buy back his late parents' spaceship and keep his 13-year-old sister out of prostitution. The current assignment requires retrieving a missing spaceship from a Bermuda Triangle–ish area of space where ships malfunction and disappear. Jeth's crew travels there via "metaspace," but this is no hard science fiction: "Metatech" and "metadrives" receive an eventual explanation that's mostly hand-waving, while things that should be difficult (rerouting power from one ship to another) or dangerous (a character moves through open space by pushing off a spaceship "as if he were diving") are easy-peasy. Arnett's fast-paced plot spotlights gun battles, twists and memorably grotesque damage to spaceships and bodies. As Jeth makes unsavory deals and repeatedly finds himself betrayed, a threat to billions of lives connects with his personal mission. Thoughtful readers (or anyone who's seen Star Trek) will wonder whether the implied sequel will address a core moral atrocity at the root of metatech that this volume ignores. There's no subtlety and barely any science in this science fiction, but there is lots of action. (Science fiction. 14 & up)
Kiersten White
“Avalon will pull you into the darkest reaches of space-and you’ll be glad to be there. A heart-pounding, tense joyride of a novel.”
ALA Booklist
“Arnett’s fast-paced space western combines S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (1967) with television’s Firefly in what appears to be the beginning of a promising series. Sci-fi fans will gulp it down in one sitting and ask for more.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062235596
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/21/2014
  • Series: Mindee Arnett's Avalon Series
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 181,628
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mindee Arnett is the author of Avalon as well as The Nightmare Affair and its sequel, The Nightmare Dilemma. She lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I don't consider myself a big fan of science fiction. I usually

    I don't consider myself a big fan of science fiction. I usually do enjoy the few ones I do finish, but I rarely love them. Avalon is an exception. It was amazing! From what I can recall, I can't remember reading a sci-fi as exciting as this one.

    There is very little that I didn't like . . . the beginning was a little rocky for me and some parts around 70 percent lost the rest of the books excitement, but other than that, everything worked. I really liked the characters, though I'm not exactly sure why. The world was very interesting. I rarely ever read a book set in space, so it definitely felt unique. There was also a eeriness to a few of the scenes that just pulled me in and made the book all the more exciting.

    I even liked the romance, which may be a problem with most readers. I didn't feel that it was a big focus. Compared to most books I read, there really wasn't much romance. It was a nice addition to the story, but it wasn't the point of the story nor was it my favorite part of the book.

    My favorite part was the many twists, turns, and exciting events. There were scary, thrilling, exciting, tense, and oddly enough, hilarious moments spread throughout the entire book. (There was one scene in particular cracked me up for some reason. I'll just say that one character completely screwed another over, and I found it to be incredibly comical.) Except for a couple slow moments, the book was nonstop excitement, and I had a ton of fun reading it!

    Overall, Avalon was an amazing read. Full of exciting twits and cool events, this book did not disappoint! I really love this one and I definitely recommend it!

    Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

    Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I want to thank HarperTeen for supplying me with an ARC of this

    I want to thank HarperTeen for supplying me with an ARC of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way influenced my opinion or review.




    Blurb from Goodreads:
    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 have really been into Sci-Fi lately. I just love things that take place in other worlds. So outer space was the perfect setting for me to sit down and get comfortable with this book! I did get a little leery of things for a while. I'm not into horror and I thought for sure it was going that direction. But I was happy to find that, while there were parts that made my heart thump, there was nothing horrific about this book.




    The cover is very simple to this book. I'm actually still not 100% sure what it is supposed to represent, to be honest. But it still drew me before I read the book. I would have liked something more wow worthy, and perhaps having Avalon on the cover might have been a better choice, since much of the book is about that ship.




    Jethro (Jeth) Seagrave is not your typical teen, for sure. He's smart and savvy, brave and loyal, and easily adapts to situations. And he's a thief. This is why he was such an asset to Hammer (the "bad guy"). He knows what to do on the turn of a dime and doesn't let anything deflect from his mission. That is until he's sent into a part of outer space where things just happen, the Belgrave; the Bermuda Triangle of the milky way! Strange things happen in this part of space, things he can't explain, things that cause him to be weary of the intentions of anyone he meets. Having lost his parents to something that happen there, he isn't too fond of having to do the mission. But it pays well, so he drags his ragtag team there and finds things he was not expecting. I have to say his reactions are spot on. I can say there are some parts of him that are a little too naive and trusting. Having spent quite a few years as a thief, you would think he would be more weary of people, but he's not. This bugged me a bit. He does interject some humor into his situations, which lighten the mood quite a bit. The other thing that I wasn't so happy about was Jeth's obsession with getting Avalon back. I understood his longing for it, but I felt like it was mentioned at least once a chapter and it started to get old that he couldn't focus on other things, like saving the lives of his crew and worrying more about them. He was likable enough, but he wasn't in any way swoon worthy.
    His crew is just as interesting. His sister, Lizzie, is a whiz with computers and tech, at a very young age, nonetheless. Celeste is just as savvy as he is, and she's a total sass. I love that they have a plutonic relationship. It works well in this book and shows that the opposite sex can have a friendship. Shady is also quite fun. He banters a lot with Jeth and it makes him totally likable. I have to say I didn't get much from Flynn, I'd like to know a bit more about him.
    Then we have Sierra. She's someone we meet once the crew goes into the Belgrave. At first, I didn't trust her, I thought there was something off. But then she seemed so genuine and caring. I felt like she had a lot to offer. And she cared a lot for Cora so much and didn't want to see her get hurt. But I felt like I really didn't know Sierra. Which is probably why I just could not trust her. Her side kick is really not worthy of much mention. As a matter of fact, I can barely remember his name. He is basically a brother to her, but we get nothing from their relationship at all except that he wants to protect her. We only get a few glimpses of who she truly is and why she does the things she does. It's an essential part of the plot but I still didn't find myself connecting with her that much.




    The romance in this book is not great. I would have liked to see it move more. But I also understand the reasoning for Arnett keeping it so simple, which I won't get into because it will spoil some twists and turns the book takes. I am interested to see where it goes in the next book.




    The setting is creepy. The Belgrave is everything you dream of outer space with nothing at all around you. It's still and quiet. But strange things happen there that make your heart jump into your chest. Ships get lost, people and things mysteriously disappear, and things go bump in the night. I was definitely expecting Aliens to jump out of the crevices in the ship. And Arnett does great with bringing this creepiness to life as the crew explore an abandoned ship and find strange things that they just cannot explain.




    I have to say this book starts off quite slowly. I pushed through a bit because I figured it would get better once the world building was out of the way. And it did. There are a lot of twists and turns the book takes once you get to about the half way point. There are things that you would not see coming at all. I do have to say that there was one twist I was not surprised about and kind of expected from the beginning, but it didn't make the story any less enjoyable for me.




    Arnett chose to write this book in third person. But mostly we get Jeth's POV from the omniscient perspective. Many times I find it hard to connect with characters when a book is written this way. I have found few authors who can really pull this off (Clare is one that knows exactly what to do). However, I understand Arnett's need to keep a bit of distance and let the reader see things from all sides. Being in the head of one character would have given too much away and would not have allowed for the twists and turns the book eventually took. I would have liked to see her get more into Lizzie and Sierra's head, since she had the opportunity to do it with the third person POV.




    The book is filled with a lot of action, despite the slow beginning. I loved how Arnett created this world of outer space where there is a Confederation of planets (almost Star Trek or Star Wars like), yet all the inhabitants are human. There is a lot of betrayal you will not see coming, and it will make you mad (at least it made me mad). And there is also quite a bit of tension that builds up pushing you to want to see how things will work out.




    I have seen tons of comparisons to Josh Wheadon's show Firefly, but since I have not watched this who, I don't know how they relate at all. And I'm kind of glad I have not watched it because it seems like perhaps I might not have liked the premise as much if I did. 




    Avalon is a great sci-fi read for lovers of shows like Battle Star Galactica and Deep Spac

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Sci-Fi books are always a challenge for me. I usually like them,

    Sci-Fi books are always a challenge for me. I usually like them, but picking them up is never easy for some reason. I'm guessing it might be due to all the strange tech and worlds that always seem to be in each novel, but usually when I do pick one up I am quite satisfied and surprised at how much I truly do like this genre. Avalon not only held true to this, but it turned out to be one of my favorites among all the other Sci-Fi books on my shelf.

    Jeth is a thief, but he is one of the best thieves out there. With his crew behind him he knows he can pull off any con. Problem is that he works for Hammer, the crime lord that nobody every thinks to disobey. Jeth is has to work for him only long enough to earn back his ship Avalon, which his drunken uncle lost in a card game a long time ago. If Jeth can pull off enough cons he will have just the amount he needs and take his crew including his 13 year old sister with him far far away from Hammer and his reign of terror. Unfortunately a huge kink gets thrown into his plans when he gets sent on his last job. All he has to do is retrieve a spaceship that is lost in the Belgrave, don't board it no matter what, and bring it back to Hammer. Easy right? Wrong, when Jeth discovers that this ship isn't exactly empty he decides to disobey Hammer and in doing so he opens up a whole can of worms.

    This has to be one of the funnest books I have ever read. It totally kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! I absolutely loved that the author chose to make the tough situations real. There wasn't any overpowering or eye rolling saves. It all felt real and things didn't always go the way the characters wanted and I loved it. Sometimes this genre can get a little too much and the heroines don't feel real at all. Things just always work out for them, but Jeth and his band of misfits learned that things hardly ever go the way they need them too. With this though they learned how to create opportunities and it was exciting to see them find a way to escape certain situations. Like I said I was on the edge of my seat wondering how things would turn out and man was it an exciting ride!

    The story is very believable which again I sometimes find not all books can pull off. I could totally grasp the world that Ms.Arnett created and it all made sense. I really enjoyed her twist thrown in the middle and even though I did guess what the culprit was behind things it was still thrilling to see the reveal. I really love seeing the light bulb go off in a characters head and when Jeth learns the truth it was like BAM! I relearned it too and it made it feel like I had never known to begin with. Ms. Arnett is one talented author!

    I think one of my favorite parts was the way the romance was woven in. It wasn't in your face and it was a very nice spin on the story especially since this was told in Jeths POV. I thought it was very sweet and took up enough of the story to where I knew it was there, but not enough to where I thought it took center stage.

    The true story is the why's behind the metatech and why Jeth is in the situation he is in. I am really hoping that there will be a sequel to this and there definitely is enough unanswered questions to make one. I have to say one more thing before I close out this review. I will forever be haunted by the spider thingys that the author uses in this story *shudders* She describes them in such detail even down to the suction sounds that I am forever scared. ICK! But I have to say it was a brilliant addition to the story and I want to know more!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I am a fan of the Firefly series and that fact combined with the

    I am a fan of the Firefly series and that fact combined with the promise of science fiction, spaceships, and teenage mercenaries definitely had me wanting to find out more about Avalon.  Jeth and his motley crew of teens, kind of like a grown up version of The Little Rascals with a bad*** side, work for a space crime lord of sorts.   Jeth is a likable character, very protective of his sister, and he cares for his crew.  There are several secondary characters that all play a role, with the love interest being Sierra.  Sierra's character didn't wow me, but she was okay.  The romance was there, but not in an overbearing way.  The story has its slow moments and it action-packed ones.  There is even a great villain.  While somewhat predictable, the story did have its twists and turns in the plot that proved to be entertaining.  




    Overall, Avalon is a good science fiction story that will be enjoyed by those who love the genre, even more so by teenage fans.  While I wasn't blown away by the story, I did enjoy it and will be reading the sequel to see where the author takes the story from here.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2015

    Space and teenage thieves?! I'm all in. Okay, so I wasn't total

    Space and teenage thieves?! I'm all in. Okay, so I wasn't totally all in at first. If that makes any sense...but Arnett managed to convince me. Hard.

    Science fiction isn't normally my thing. I enjoy movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, but I'm not a huge fan of reading about far off planets and space. The closest I've come to deep space reading is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. And even in that there's no actual space adventures, just the mention of moon colonies. (I totally lied. I forgot that I've read Alienated by Melissa Landers.) So I went into this book thinking I'd enjoy it, but perhaps not love it. And, for the most part, I fell somewhere in between.

    Why, you may ask. Well, the beginning was slooooooow. I couldn't find myself getting into it. I think I was on page 60 before I really began to get pulled in. But once I did get pulled in, I was stuck. I absolutely loved it after that! Sure, there were some minor parts I would have liked drawn out or slimmed down, but overall, I was hooked. I can honestly say that this book has an original YA storyline, which isn't something you see too often nowadays.

    Let's move on from all my gushing and talk about the characters a little. Jeth seemed very two-dimensional at first. I couldn't figure him out, and to be honest, I didn't really want to try. Then, something happened and I suddenly began really empathizing and loving his character. The other side characters like Sierra, Cora, Lizzie, Shady, Celeste, etc, were just too flat to me. I liked them as a group, but I'm not sure how I feel about them individually. Also, the character and setting that is the spaceship Avalon, had me a bit disappointed too. I felt like I didn't get enough of the history behind the ship. It really should have been its own fully-formed character and it just wasn't. BUT the bad guys were awesome! I don't know exactly what made them so awesome, but they were. Hammer is a douche and I loved him for it!

    There you go. That's my review of Avalon by Mindee Arnett. I would have said I loved it, simply because once the first one ended I immediately wanted the second book, if only it didn't have so many teeny flaws. I do plan on purchasing the sequel, and I plan on thoroughly enjoying it. I would totally recommend this book to anyone who isn't sure about reading science fiction. You'll enjoy it.


    *Note: I purchased this book for myself.

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  • Posted January 2, 2015

    One hell of a ride; and I'm not talking about the ship. - Nova

    One hell of a ride; and I'm not talking about the ship. - Nova @ Out of Time

    I pretty much enjoyed Avalon generally. When picking apart at things, I found faults, but mainly, everything was pretty good!

    I've heard a lot of people talking about this, but I agree with it too. Parts of Avalon were dragging, dry and boring. And by that I mean, intensely to the point where a reader would consider DNF-ing. I decided to pull through because I still had expectations of this book and pulling through those spots of boring were worth it in the end. Boring parts were followed by actions scenes. And trust me, those action scenes were thrilling and very exciting!

    The plot was extreme in its points. When it was exciting, it was very exciting and when it was boring, it was terribly dry. Fortunately, the "good" parts covered up the bad. If you're reading this, pull through the part that's boring. I promise it's worth it.
    Something else about the plot is how characters kept talking. There was a lot of chatter and it needed more action. The showing vs. telling was pretty good, as Arnett had no problem showing us plot points.
    Another thing that bothered me in particular: (highlight to read. SPOILER) Is when Sierra and Jeth were kissing on their rescue mission. Um guys?! Not the time.

    Mindee Arnett's writing was very good in describing Jeth. This book was written in 3rd POV which is the POV that I hate the most. With 3rd person, I feel like I can never connect to the character because I'm not hearing from them; I'm hearing from the author themself. With Arnett's writing, I felt a little more like I knew Jeth.
    She did a wonderful job in portraying the character, but I didn't like Jeth. If Jeth was real, I don't think I would've connected with him either. I felt him to be careless, dumb and letting his personal feelings get in the way of a mission he knew was serious. The only reason it didn't bug me too much was because he had his redeeming qualities. His bravery and loyalty to his crew members pretty much put him on the "Nice List" in my mind.

    Who did I actually love? Cora. Cora had a very little yet very big role. I didn't like Sierra and felt that she was somewhat annoying and still suspicious. Cora gave an air of awesomeness to the novel because of how much she means to the plot. She was very subtle and yet something to focus on when I was bored, angry or annoyed with the story. I can't wait to see how she develops in Avalon 2. (Obviously, that isn't the title.)

    I also loved Hammer. His last name kind of made me roll my eyes and snort but that's about it. His character was so developed. He wasn't one of those full-on evil villains. More so, he had layers that showed him to be almost psychotic and a complete genius at the same time. He reminded me of a lot of villains that exist in the real world because I hate it when authors make it so they look black and white. They aren't all bad or all manic. There are lines in between and Hammer is a great example of that.

    I don't actually like Sci-Fi that much. It's one of those Blurred Lines genres because I love Doctor Who but hated Star Trek and Star Wars. With Avalon, I was a bit confused in the beginning, the world was a little hard to get used to in the beginning, because Arnett didn't take time to explain everything to the reader. The reader has to figure it out for themselves, which is actually a better way of writing a dystopian than "spoon feeding" the reader.
    I grew to love the world of Avalon. The idea of the metatech and its origins reminds me of an episode of Doctor Who with a few parallels (which also made me love it that much more!)

    From liking it overall, to taking into account the boring parts, this is what I think about Avalon. Avalon is a pace-changer that's still a thriller and

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  • Posted August 15, 2014

    Let me start this post off by saying how much of love Mindee Arn

    Let me start this post off by saying how much of love Mindee Arnett, and that everything that she writes will be GOLD for me. I mean, she can do no wrong. I absolutely loved this book. It would seem that lately the popular book trend is books about space. There's These Broken Stars, Avalon, Tin Star and Salvage all this year alone, and I know that I've forgotten one or two. This trend started with Across the Universe and it has only grown from there.

    This book was amazing, the love that Jeth felt for his sister Lizzy and for his crew who were very easily his family. I loved Jeth's story and dedication to saving those around him at his own expense and his strong fight for Avalon. I loved the story of how Avalon was named. I fell in love with every one of these characters. They felt so real to me when they were on a mission and doing their thing.

    I pictured Jeth as a young Nathan Fillion and it made this book that much more enjoyable. The plot kept me wound in the story that when my train came to my stop it was painful pulling my head out of space and back into the real world. I'm not usually a big fan of books that center around boys (call me sexist if you must) but I don't think the story could have been as effective centered around any other character.

    I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. Even a title might tide me over and make the wait bearable, but alas, I have to hear about it with everyone else. I can't wait to see what they'll do for the next cover too. (Although I will admit to not really understanding the cover of this one, but thats usually how books are, you don't really get what the cover has to do with anything.

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  • Posted February 11, 2014

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    3.5 Avalon is compared to Firefly, but I¿ve never seen it. I¿ll

    3.5

    Avalon is compared to Firefly, but I’ve never seen it. I’ll definitely be watching soon though.

    Avalon starts off a bit slow. I felt like things could have been sped up a bit, but I can understand the slower pace. This futuristic world definitely needs some groundwork laid out for us so that we know what to expect. I think their government system is completely screwed up. Especially after to you learn about the devices that Hammer uses. I do like that there is more than just one planet. When I reached the half way point things started to really pick up. There’s a lot of action, betrayal, and hard choices.

    I didn’t really care for the main character, Jeth. He was selfish, and doesn’t act like he wants anything but his ship. I know he’s had a hard life, but that doesn’t excuse it. There were a few redeemable moments for Jeth in my eyes. He does love his crew even though he doesn’t show it. I also love his relationship with his sister. He’s very protective of her, and I totally get that. I’m still protective of my younger siblings. Like I said he gets much better in the second half, right with the intensity of the book. I did like the side characters. They were funny, and had their own fears.

    I will read the next one because i need to know what happens next. Hopefully more craziness like the second half of the book.

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  • Posted January 28, 2014

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    Avalon is a high velocity, action packed, young adult scifi adve

    Avalon is a high velocity, action packed, young adult scifi adventure. Mindee Arnett creates a highly imaginative tale of a rag tag group of teens struggling to survive in a world that will do everything it can to exploit them and tear them apart. I was immediately captivated by this space adventure and instantly connected with the marvelous, team of extraordinary kids. Avalon is a brilliant start to what is sure to be a fabulous science fiction adventure I will want to follow till the end. 




    I received this ARC copy of Avalon from Balzer + Bray in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication January 21, 2014.

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  • Posted January 27, 2014

    3.5/5 stars Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge sci-fi fan. S

    3.5/5 stars

    Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge sci-fi fan. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Farscape are all coveted favorites of mine, and I have always been into science fiction books. When I saw Avalon pop up for review a while back, I couldn't resist snagging it. Not to mention the blurb mentioned Firefly- which is a smart marketing move on their behalf since I will insta pick up if it is reminiscent of my beloved short-lived show.

    I enjoyed Avalon myself. I can definitely see where they would relate it to Firefly, but for young adults. A rag-tag band of mercenaries working for a crime lord while avoiding the ITA (which is basically the government that controls space)? Yep- definitely reminiscent of Firefly. I really liked the premise of this novel and it managed to hold my interest, despite a few lulls in the storyline. I also enjoyed the characters, even though we really only get to know them at face value. I wouldn't say there was a lot of depth or development where they were concerned.

    I liked Jeth as our protagonist. He is the leader of the group and loves a bit of adventure. However, he is protective of his crew, especially his younger sister Lizzie. After losing their parents, the responsibility has really fallen to him, as their uncle Milton hasn't really proved himself to be of much use. Having lost the Avalon to Hammer Dafoe, crime lord extraordinaire and Jeth's boss, Jeth is determined to do enough jobs to buy her back and then try to start a new life elsewhere with his sister. However, what Jeth doesn't realize until later, is that walking away from Hammer isn't going to prove as easy as he thinks. This definitely made me think of Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt! :D Substitute carbonite for an implant that controls your brain and you've got a big problem!

    I also really liked Lizzie. She's young, but she's extremely tech-savvy and a good addition to the crew. Jeth is very protective of her and while he isn't overly emotional towards her, you can tell he still cares.

    Jeth certainly never imagined that he and his crew would be swept up into a storm between the ITA and Hammer, as both want the same valuable information a lost ship in the Belgrave Quadrant has in its possession. Traveling to the Belgrave Quadrant is extremely dangerous and has been deemed off limits by the ITA. Ships and people get lost in the Belgrave, never to be seen again. Taking this job is a gamble, but with his freedom and his ship dangling in front of him, it's a risk Jeth is willing to take in order to leave his life of crime behind.

    This book definitely has its share of twists and turns and there was one that really made me angry! It started a negative chain reaction and really made Jeth's life a mess. I felt complete despair for him and I was really unhappy that this character committed such an act of betrayal. I can understand why they would do it, but upon making such assumptions and not COMMUNICATING really landed not only Jeth, but themselves in a world of trouble.

    I am looking forward to book two, Meridian, as Avalon not only has loose ends to expand upon, but introduced some new twists and turns that will need exploring! My biggest qualm with this one was that while engaged in the overall story, there were points where I was pretty bored and ready to move forward. If you are a science fiction fan, I would give this one a try.

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  • Posted January 25, 2014

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    Today¿s teens must have a somewhat jaundiced view of science fic

    Today’s teens must have a somewhat jaundiced view of science fiction since nearly all of the offerings in this genre in the last few years have been of the post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian subgenre. There’s nothing wrong with that—I’m a huge fan and hope it won’t dwindle away anytime soon—but it does mean that they’re not often exposed to the good oldfashioned outer space and aliens type. When I heard that Mindee Arnett (whose work i already admire) was coming out with a space opera, I was delighted.

    To be honest, I don’t think this was as strong as it could have been. It struck me as a cobbling together of Artemis Fowl, Firefly/Serenity and even a little of Oliver Twist and the similarities distracted me a bit from the core story in Avalon. Please understand, I do NOT mean to imply any sort of wrongdoing on the author’s part, not at all. It’s just that I think it’s hard to come up with this kind of science fiction that will appeal to teens and, when someone does, comparisons to earlier tales such as those I mentioned are almost inevitable.

    I would like to have seen more of the story take place on a planet or two to get these kids off the spaceships and I believe that would have helped round them out a bit. Still, I liked them although there were times Jeth bored me nearly to tears. Other than that, Jeth reminded me of a young Han Solo, more than willing to bend the law to get what he wants but we soon discover he might just have a streak of honor, not to mention a little concern for others besides his sister and crew.

    My other concern is with pacing. I had to struggle to get through some parts that dragged including some of what I can only call educational lectures but, then, the second half of the book was filled with the boisterous action and adventure that makes for a good space opera. Ms. Arnett has a sequel planned and I’d be willing to bet these pacing issues will ease up; certainly, I’m more than willing to give it a try ;-)

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  • Posted January 22, 2014

    Avalon has all the things I need in a sci-fi book... I really

    Avalon has all the things I need in a sci-fi book...


    I really don’t know what to expect in a book that is recommended to the fans of Joss Whedon’s cult hit show Firefly. Yes, I know Joss Whedon’s the celebrated director of the box office hit The Avengers but Firefly? Nope.  Nonetheless, I picked this up because it’s sci-fi and the premise is appealing.




    I must admit, however, that when I went into Avalon, I had some doubts that it might not live up to its stellar GR rating or to its interesting synopsis.   Let’s face it, sci-fi is an overdone genre and almost everything about it has already been explored by a lot of authors. But pals, Avalon turned out to be everything that I want in a sci-fi book. It’s stimulating, mysterious and full of adrenaline.




    The first book in a series, Avalon is a story of teenage mercenaries who are tasked to pull off a heist on one of the forbidden planets in the intergalactic system, the Belgrave (it’s the outer space version of the Bermuda Triangle).  While the mission is clearly doomed from the start, Jeth Seagrave and his crew still pursued it in the hopes of finally getting their freedom and Avalon (the spaceship previously owned by Jeth’s parents) from their master, Hammer.




    Avalon’s beginning immediately drew me in.  It was strong and immediately showed us how Jeth and his crew worked as a group of teenage thieves outwitting planetary officials. Factor in that the story was told from Jeth’s (a male MC) POV—a bit rare in YA books these days—I found it hard to put the book down.  Jeth and his thieving crew were a bunch of adorable characters and there was never a moment that I got confused about who’s who.




    I must warn you though that Jeth is not someone who could easily be loved by everyone.  On one hand,  he’s a very family oriented person who is always looking after the welfare of his sister and crew members. Not to mention that he’s defiant and very loyal to those he loves. On the other one, him being a leader of a big time heist group didn’t sit right with me.  In the book, he was described as Hammer’s new Golden Boy which, I would assume, means that he’s extraordinarily cunning, wise and able to achieve feats of mindblowing thievery that would put Ocean’s Eleven or Lupin’s gang to shame.  Or I could be ambitious here and compare him to Artemis Fowl.  Instead, I saw an incompetent leader who has the habit of making unwise decisions. All throughout the story, he always got out of tight situations because of Sierra or his crew’s talents. And if you ask me, Jeth is more of a liability than an important role player to the group.  Why would I say that? Every time he made a decision, just expect that on the next day, some psycho is chasing them around space because he failed to use his brain.




    Anyway, enough of Jeth and let’s move on to the villains. While Mindee failed to create a totally lovable MC, she, however, succeeded in creating 3D antagonists in the persons of Hammer and Renford.   Guys, they’re psychos who wouldn’t hesitate to spill the first blood.




    The world created by Arnett in Avalon was also beautiful albeit the lacklustre description of the space vessels. Well, if you consider “old floor…rusty pipes… messy rooms… old furniture” a fitting way to describe spaceships then Arnett must have done her job well. Kidding aside, this can be easily overlooked since the other technological advances and the new planetary system were interesting enough to take my mind off the spaceships.




    The plot was definitely engaging and in my opinion, is the greatest asset of Avalon.  It’s a mixture of politics, mindblowing twists and a planet-worth of mystery that would leave you panting until the very end.  The action scenes were well done and would leave no room for you to breathe.  The sci-fi element was thoroughly explained without resorting to dreaded info dumps or hard to understand explanations.




    Avalon, however, is not without its faults.  For one, it didn’t offer any back story as to what happened to the First Earth. Or what drove people to explore and live in new planets.  But I guess I can ignore that since we still have books 2 and 3 to explore the said insufficiency.  And lastly, Avalon’s romance, if not crap, is not something to be emulated by other books. It was instalovey and was haphazardly inserted into the story.  It was dismal and awkward. While it didn’t become the focus of the book, I can’t deny that it was frustrating and easily forgettable. In fact, Arnett could have done a far better job if she just opted to exclude it from the story. Don’t get me wrong though, I am all for romance… I live for it as long as it’s done well…as long as it isn’t destructive. But if an author would just make a lousy job out of it, then nope.




    All in all, Avalon has made it to my to-follow series list.  Yes, there were snags along the way but the whole journey was all worth it.  If you’re a sci-fi junkie who is need of a good fix, then don’t hesitate to rush to your local bookstores and get Avalon.




    ***An ARC for this book was provided by the publisher via  Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Balzer and Bray and Harper Collins!***

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  • Posted January 21, 2014

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    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Avalon by Mi

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    Avalon by Mindee Arnett
    Book One of the Avalon series
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Publication Date: January 21, 2014
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: ARC sent by the publisher




    Summary (from Goodreads):




    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.




    What I Liked:




    First things first: I have never watched the show Firefly. I don't even know what it is about. So, don't expect me to compare this book to Firefly, or point out potential references or similarities, or whatever. Just saying.




    Anyway, I really liked this book! I was terrified that I would seriously dislike this book, because it seems that books that I wait FOREVER to read are the ones that end up disappointing me. In general - not always. But I put off reading this one for quite some time, because I didn't want to be disappointed. And honestly, not too far into this book, I thought I was going to be disappointed. 




    But I wasn't! I kept reading. If you're having trouble finishing or reading this book, trust me, it gets better. I like to see this book in terms of quarters (the fractions, not the coins or the time in football). The first quarter was fantastic - definitely a great hook into the novel. The second quarter was kind of brutal. But the last two quarters (second half, whatever) required a little bit of powering through, but got interesting as they went along.




    So. Jeth and his crew have a new job from his boss, Hammer: take Avalon (the ship that rightfully should be Jeth's, but was gambled away by his uncle), and go to the Belgrave (think: Bermuda Triangle) to find a ship lost for two months. Bring it back, don't board it, and there is a huge payout. Sounds like a plan? Except everything goes wrong. Starting with the fact that there were living beings on the ship, and Jeth decides to board the ship.




    The plot was very engaging, once the twists and turns began. Those twists and turns didn't really began until Jeth, the crew, and the three human beings left on the lost ship are close to leaving the Belgrave. Then, something happens, and THAT'S when this book really had my attention. 




    You see, the beginning was great. I was hooked. Arnett did a really good job of setting up the background, the world, the characters, and fear of Hammer, the fear of the ITA, and so on. The opening scene is pretty epic. But then the second quarter of the book is kind of boring. I didn't want to keep reading, I was so bored. But then that thing I mentioned happened, and I was like, I'm checked back in!




    The second half of the book is just twist after twist, and I loved this. Arnett doesn't really give you a chance to figure out EVERYTHING, which was nice. I liked this change of pace. The first quarter of the book was great, but you could predict what could happen next. The second quarter was suspicious, but boring. The last two quarters were perplexing and filled with nonstop action and guessing. 




    I really, really like Jeth. This book is written in third-person limited - the "limited" being restricted only to Jeth. So, it's kind of like this book is written in Jeth's point-of-view, but in third person. I love this type of perspective. And I love the character of Jeth. His character development is subtle but remarkable. The amount of obstacles that Arnett puts him through... wow. He's definitely someone that I would respect and most likely be friends with, if he were a really person. We'd get along swimmingly! 




    There is romance in this book, but I liked that Arnett kind of keeps it to a minimum. She doesn't overdo the romance, making it this giant THING in the book, making its plot overtake the actual plot that deals with the ships and Hammer and Renford. I like this type of romance - the type that grows as the book goes on, but doesn't make or break the book. Too many YA series these days are solely based on a romance, with half of the readers going with Team Dude A, and the other half going with Team Dude B. That's silly.




    And no love triangle, YAY! That made me happy.




    Overall, this book is definitely worth picking up, borrowing, buying, asking for Christmas, for a birthday, you get the idea. I wouldn't miss it, especially if you're a science fiction fan, like me. This book is heavy on the science fiction - appealing to my engineering nerdy side!




    What I Did Not Like:




    Like I mentioned many times before, the second quarter of this book was a tad bit brutal. First quarter? Great. Third quarter? Intriguing. Fourth quarter/climax/ending? Heart-pounding and heartbreaking. But the second quarter? Snooze.




    So. If you've reached the part after Jeth gets his new assignment, to about the part where Jeth, the crew, and the three new people are about to leave Belgrave, and you can't seem to find anything interesting, POWER THROUGH IT. Because that's the worst of it - "worst" meaning boring. 




    Would I Recommend It:




    I would! This science fiction novel has a little bit of everything for everyone! Except a love triangle. Thank goodness there is no love triangle in this one. But seriously, I'm a science fiction fan, and I really like this book. I'm not sure how different types of readers will react to this one, but hopefully, this novel won't just be for fans of science fiction!




    Rating:




    4 stars. This one definitely lived up to my expectations! I'm so glad that I ended up enjoying this one, overall. Bring on book two!

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