Avalon by Mindee Arnett Review

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Title: Avalon
Author: Mindee Arnett (Twitter)
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publish Date: January 21, 2014
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 432
Source: Publisher

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 said it a million times, but I'll gladly say it again - this is going to be the year of the resurgence of science fiction in young adult. Since a young age, I've been a fan of the genre, both in literature and in film, but I've found that it's somewhat died down in popularity over time. That, in large part I'm sure, is why the premise of Avalon worked so very well for me. The combination of space, crime, mystery and survival is exactly what I was looking for, and this is the type of novel that truly delivers. Mindee Arnett offers readers a rich world that's cold, alluring and, ultimately, hauntingly perfect.

I'd be daft to say that Avalon wasn't without its hitches, but it must be said that the novel develops upon the initial issues I found myself grappling with. For example, as many reviewers have attested, the novel takes a while to truly start. I was initially frustrated with the book for the first 100 or so pages, but I found very quickly that Ms. Arnett was taking the time to do something very important. In those "slower" pages, the author was developing a firm foundation for a new series, which is so often overlooked in novels these days. Rather than simply jump into action and interjecting details throughout, Avalon lays the groundwork from the start, establishing backstory and a rich world that undeniably transforms the latter half of the book and, I'm sure the series. 

Once the plot gets going though, it's like a runaway train, building momentum steadily until a conclusion that left me desperate for the next installment of the series. I do believe it should be mentioned though, that the plot devices, the twists and the turns overshadowed the characters a bit. Jeth, though a solid character, felt a bit detached for me, and I wasn't truly able to understand or appreciate his point of view until the back half of the novel. This did leave me feeling that the romance was also a bit flatter than I'd anticipated, but not unforgivably so. Plus, there is no love triangle, which is a huge element in its favor after all.

Most of all though, Avalon delivers science fiction, pure and true to readers of all ages. With a touch of a Fireflyesque feel, so long as readers remain invested in the novel, the action, suspense and drama will be readily delivered in the latter half of the book. The whirlwind nature of the escalating plot left me breathless, and it truly distracted me from the fact that it's not necessarily a character-driven novel. And, ultimately, the author gives readers what they ask for, though she makes us work for it in the best possible way.

Overall, I found Avalon to be a challenging, intriguing and successful science fiction novel. It wasn't without its flaws, but it gave me the type of science fiction that I've been craving, so I can't fault it all that much. I give it a strong 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to YA fans of true science fiction that is heavy on action.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book. 


  1. I do see that the author tried to set a foundation, but man it was a little painful to get through the first bit!

    Lovely review, Melissa! <33

  2. Even though I didn't appreciate it at the time, I did enjoy the slower start. Sometimes, not being thrown right into the action is a good thing, especially when you're trying to build a whole world. Highly enjoyed this story and am loving the resurgence of scifi!

  3. I've been struggling with YA lately. I just have no desire to read it, but this sounds like a win. I do like more emphasis on character development than world building or plot, but I like the sound of a suspenseful mystery with sci-fi as it's backdrop. I'll have to check this one out, Melissa. Wonderful review! :)

  4. YEAH!!! I so loved this one too Melissa! Normally I would say science fiction isn't for me, but as with fantasy, I'm finding it's a genre that appeals to me after all. Not sure why I wrote it off for so long, but this book just ensured that I'll be seeking it out moving forward for sure. I'm such a huge fan of Mindee, I've loved both her books and can't wait for more:) Lovely review my friend!

  5. Unfortunately, I ended up DNFing this book. There was nothing really wrong with it, but connecting with the main character was so hard for me and when I don't feel that connection with the main character, I get easily bored. I'm glad that you liked it though. It had a lot of potential, but I only wish Jeth and the others were more developed so that I could feel for them.
    Great review, Melissa.

  6. I've heard so many great things about this novel but some of the things you've written kind of tempers my enthusiasm for it. At least I am forewarned about the characters. I don't know if I am a sci-fi fan or not. I don't think I've read enough to know. Guess this will be the year to find out! Good review, I will look to you for my sci-fi recommendations!

  7. Awesome, awesome review! I am reading Avalon at the moment too and about halfway through, it has been slow going so far but I'm glad to see it will all pay off soon.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

  8. I really enjoyed Avalon as well. I loved the twists and turns the story took on, and I'm eager to see what's next in store for Jeth and his crew! But I hope that the characters get a little more fleshed out in the next one, as that was the only thing that felt a bit lackluster to me.


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