Monday, January 13, 2014

Mini Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Release Date: January 21, 2014
Source: Edelweiss
Published by: Balzer + Bray

Avalon by Mindee Arnett - Goodreads | Purchase

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.


It's said that if you've read a book before seeing its adaptation, you'll like the book more, right? That's how I feel about Avalon. A lot of this book is clearly inspired by Firefly. Problem is, I love Firefly, and it's not until maybe the last third of the novel that I started to notice the differences between this book and Joss Whedon's television show. The last third feels more like the book started to embrace its own world, reminding me a bit of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan mixed with homages to Star Wars and Firefly, and that was when I started to fully enjoy the novel.

The book isn't exactly like Firefly, of course. The author changes the character relationships, adds more of a YA background to develop the characters and their backstories (including an explanation for how a teenage band of mercenaries exists and succeeds). And Avalon is enjoyable, the character banter, the action, the epic scope of the world. It's well-written, if a bit slow in the beginning so that you've acclimated to the characters and their situation, and the romance is actually a sub-plot in the face of the adventure, conspiracy, and action. I have no doubt that this novel will reach quite a number of fans. I know that this is also pitched to Firefly fans, but I would suggest giving it to more reluctant science fiction or action-oriented readers first.

 Hey, look! I can actually write a mini review.

17 comments:

  1. I'm starting to try more sci-fi books after I fell in love with Cinder and this sounds like one I might enjoy! I've heard of Firefly, but haven't seen it, so I might enjoy the beginning more than you did.

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    1. The Lunar Chronicles is more science fantasy than science fiction, which this novel seems to be (to tell the truth, I still get myself confused by the classifications), but I am curious to see how this will rank for you! And one day you should remedy that Firefly situation.

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  2. I really enjoyed this one, although I wish the characters had been fleshed out a little more. I thought it had such a fun and interesting plot and there were twists and turns I did not expect, that's for sure. I do agree, it was just a bit slow in the beginning, but then it picked up and I couldn't put it down. Glad you liked it! ~Pam

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    1. Me too! One thing I particularly loved about Firefly was that though it had an overarching plot and individual episode plots to show us the world, its main focus was on the characters. So yes, I definitely know what you mean. And I'm glad you liked it too :).

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  3. Haven't heard of firefly; interesting book

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  4. Hehe...you CAN write a mini-review, look at that! :D I've never watched Firefly (I know!) but I do love some good science fiction, which is why I think I'll be passing on this one. I have it, and it sounded good, but the more reviews I see, the more I think it's not for me.

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    1. Hahaha, I suppose there's a first time for everything, Jen! :D AKA ALSO YOUR FIRST TIME WITH FIREFLY ehem. Bravo to dropping a title you're not sure about (I can't seem to do that myself o.o.). Well, I hope you'll find something else that's awesome and works for you :).

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  5. A reluctant sci-fi reader is what I am, most definitely. I read Mindee's Nightmare Affair and really enjoyed how fun it was. Was a bit undecided on this one though but I may have to pick this one up now. Lovely review! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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    1. There's a lot of character banter here, so if that's anything like what you had with Nightmare Affair, you'll probably like it in Avalon too. I'm curious to see what you think of it if you end up picking it up. I hope my "reluctant sci-fi" reader rec isn't far off base.

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  6. I haven't watched Firefly (considering on changing that since I hear about it SO much) and so I think I'll pass on this one. I've seen not the greatest reviews on it and I think I would want more. Of course, if I changed my mind, I should probably read it BEFORE Firefly then. *shrugs* Oh well.

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    1. Hahaha, you should change that - or at least sample one of the episodes to see if it's for you. It would probably be better to read the book and then watch the show, in my opinion, but if you're convinced it's for you, well... *shrug* But you definitely, definitely should watch Firefly ;).

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  7. My REGULAR review of this was almost a mini, because there was just...nothing to say. And I really liked the book, and I liked Jeth, and...I don't know. It's just fun space stuff with a cute Han Solo boy.

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    1. True, though it sort of seems like a lot of the YA space stories have cute Han Solo boys. In this case Han Solo x Mal from Firefly. This was probably one of the first times I've ever felt like I didn't have the words to express what I thought about a book.

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  8. The reviews have reflected rocky feelings from bloggers. However, I have not yet watched Firefly (no pitchforks, please), so maybe I'll be a little more shocked.

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    1. Hahahaha, I'm not a pitchfork kind of gal, though I will strongly encourage you to watch Firefly ;) at some point. And yeah, you might be shocked by the plot twists because of that!

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  9. I am actually shocked that this mini review IS a mini review. Haha. *high fives*

    I said it's like if Firefly were made as a teen show on the CW. Not as good, but still respectable. Hopefully she ups the characterization in the next book, but I did enjoy it too.

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    1. :P Yeaaah, I wasn't entirely sure what to say about this novel. I might have DNFed it if it weren't for the Firefly comparison, but at the same time, that comparison is what made me feel slightly detached? Eh. Yeah, I can see a CW Firefly - that's a really good way of describing it. I hope you enjoy the next book!

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