By: Melanie | January 4, 2014 | (29) Comments

Review: Avalon Mindee ArnettAvalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon, #1
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 432
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

My Review

I think Avalon is the first book in quite a while that has made me feel really disappointed. Sure, I’ve read some bad books lately but none of those had I expected to turn out to be crazy brilliant reads; therefore not resulting me into being disappointed. However, I had thought Avalon would be a crazy brilliant read. I mean honestly, teenage mercenaries in space? HELLZ YEAH! The word disappointed may be overused yet it’s the only word that can describe what I felt and still am feeling when I finished Avalon.

I did get teenage mercenaries in space, but it didn’t feel and sound as awesome and epic as I had believed upon reading the synopsis. Basically we have a boy named Jeth Seagrave whose parents are dead and only his only family he has is his little sister, Lizzie and uncle, Milton. The three of them work for Hammer along with another bunch of people and together they are known as the Malleus Shades. One of the things that made Avalon bearable was Jeth and his crew’s relationship among one and another. I loved how each and every member had a significant task when they were out on missions. They were practically like one big family.

He had to. For them. For Lizzie and Celeste and Flynn and Shady. His family. He had to save them from the fate that waited for him. He was all they had.

Honestly, love it. The dialogue that’s shared and everything about the crew was brilliant. They’re always looking out for each other and battle through everything side by side.

Per contra, my biggest complaint was Jeth. His narration made me want to go to sleep for I dunno, a thousand years. There’s something about the way this book was written and narrated that made me feel so detached and bored out of brains. I wouldn’t say it was the writing itself (even though it’s told in 3rd person), but I felt that it was mainly due to Jeth’s unlikable and monotonous personality. I just couldn’t bear it. He felt like a robot even. A robot that has been trained all his life to look after Lizzie like an overprotective mother. He gets anxious feelings in his gut when his little sister sighs. Like dude, get a chill pill! Lizzie and I are about the same age (13-14) and I would be rather irritated to have a brother who mothered me that close. I’ll admit that Jeth was a good brother sometimes, only when he wasn’t being such a worry-wart-wuss, but a loving and caring brother when his sister actually needed his aid.

My second qualm with Avalon was the predictability. I saw the twists a mile away and facepalmed whenever they were revealed. Because as if they didn’t see them coming! You’d think some experienced, trained and generally smart mercenaries would see these spiraling twists coming, getting little hints or at least second guessing things but no, the clues fly right in the corner of the characters’ eyes and ignore it. *le sigh*

Lastly, I was not a fan of the romance. It was a small element in the book but I felt it was unnecessary and confusing. There was a slight instant attraction when Jeth first saw Sierra and there was no build up towards the romance whatsoever. I believe that Avalon would have been better off without a romance. Is it a rule we must have one to get a YA novel published these days? I think not. (Even though, y’know, pretty much all have one anyway.)

Due to the poor romance, lame main character and predictable plot twists I struggled to like Avalon regardless of my excited-ness beforehand. The only two points that I liked was the relationship within the crew and the world building which was relatively strong.

~Thank you Balzer & Bray for sending me this copy!~

2 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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29 Responses to Review: Avalon Mindee Arnett

  1. Melliane says:

    I saw this one but didn’t ask for it. I really have a problem about space books. But well now I’m glad I didn’t. I loved her other book Nightmare Affair, I think I’ll stay with this one. Thanks for your review and sorry it wasn’t for you.

  2. Faye says:

    Goodness, Melanie. These complaints are the very same ones that I had regarding this book. I hated Jeth, and I felt his 3rd person narration was deadly awful and boring. It was such a struggle to continue reading, even though I just wanted everything to end already. And the romance was equally dreadful. There totally was no build-up at all, and I found no sincerity in their so-called “care” for each other (hello?! Jeth kept on thinking with his peen for the first half). Anyway, excellent review, and you hit the nail on the head with this one.
    Faye recently posted…Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda KenneallyMy Profile

  3. Stephanie B says:

    Okay, I saw the rating (’cause I always check that first) and I literally said, “Oh no!” I was finally looking forward to checking this book out! Now I’m not so sure I’ll like it. I’m to try it but now I’m a bit worried. Great review, Mel!
    Stephanie B recently posted…Discussion: How to Read Tolkien – Some AdviceMy Profile

  4. I was so disappointed in this book as well, Mel. I agree with everything you said in your review, especially this : “Per contra, my biggest complaint was Jeth. His narration made me want to go to sleep for I dunno, a thousand years. ” Jeth was SO boring. I don’t think I’ve read a book with such a flat character in a long time and I also had issues with the predictability and the romance. The romance was way too fast especially since they knew almost nothing about each other. I actually ended up DNFing it because I couldn’t take it any longer.
    Lovely review, Mel. I hope your next book is awesome!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey MartinMy Profile

  5. YES I totally agree! I LOVED Jeth’s characterization and the crew. How much they cared for each other was so heartwarming, and I especially loved Jeth’s loyalty to his sister, but something about the entire book made me disconnect from it, and now I know why after reading your review. It must’ve been his narration but I didn’t notice how monotonous his character was before lol. But also, I agree the plot was so predictable I guessed it from a mile away. Fantastic review, Mel! <33
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  6. Darn, because teenage mercenaries is space is a friggin’ cool idea! While the characters sound wonderful it is a shame the story just didn’t come together for you.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…How the Heck Did You Do That?!? Blogger Tips & Tricks #15My Profile

  7. Rachel says:

    This is such a bummer, Melanie! I hate it when I’m totally looking forward to a book and it’s an utter fail. Great honest review. 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Blogging BreakMy Profile

  8. This one had a BUNCH of mixed reviews. For me, I ended up liking it! I liked the story and somehow beared through the boring parts. I hate 3rd person fiction more than… onions.. LOL. But yeah. This book was good in it’s parts, but I can understand why you gave it what you did! (I actually gave it 4, but yeah).
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…ARC Review: Defy – Sara B. LarsonMy Profile

  9. Seems we have all been a bit disappointed by Avalon–which is so sad 🙁 I can’t tell if my over eagerness and high expectations were the problem or if it was just the story. I wonder if I had known nothing would it have been better? I do think I’ll read book 2–will you? Great, honest review.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Stacking the Shelves/Showcase SundayMy Profile

  10. Sorry this one failed to be as excellent as you thought it would be. I’m tired of seeing a romance in every YA book too, because sometimes it just doesn’t work. I think publishers think teens want it though, for some reason.
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  11. Nara says:

    Aww I actually really liked Avalon! I mean, I do admit that the characters were a bit under developed, but for me, Jeth himself wasn’t a bad character.
    Did you seriously see the twists coming?! I didn’t at all! Especially the Cora twist.
    Nara recently posted…Reading Update (5/1/14)My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I expected most of them. I knew his parents’ weren’t dead (because it’s happened so many times and Jeth didn’t really know what happened to them. I knew that the other guy (I forgot his name) was the guardian of Sierra and stuff because of some small hints that were placed every now and again. The Cora thing was something that I half guessed. But I knew there was something fishy about her. She was too likable to be true

  12. Oh boy. This is another coming up on my reading schedule. It seems a lot of people are having similar issues as you. I’m wondering if I should even bother.
    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted…Review + ARC Giveaway: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica RossiMy Profile

  13. Charlotte says:

    Ahhh. This is the first negative review I’ve read for Avalon. TBH, it is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read last 2013. Hahaha. Yes, I disliked Jeth because he is such an incompetent heist leader and the romance was awfully done but I love the overall story. I love the action and gory scenes, the sci-fi element and well, I didn’t find the plot predictable. xD Maybe, I wasn’t really reading between the lines.

    I am happy to read this review and see what didn’t work for you… Whew!
    Charlotte recently posted…Book Review: The Promise Of AmazingMy Profile

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