Review of Avalon by Mindee Arnett

By: Mindee Arnett
Release Date: January 21st 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Barnes and Noble

An electronic copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I read Avalon with my reading group, Scott Reads It, Bibliopunkk and On Starships and Dragonwings

My Rating:

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.

The Story:
Avalon was one of my most anticipated reads and when I was given the advanced reader copy I was beyond thrilled. I’d heard many comparisons to Firefly which off the bat made me very interested. I’ve read Arnett’s paranormal The Nightmare Affair and thought it was a fast and entertaining read adding to my curiosity of how she would fare with science fiction. Honestly, I think this anticipation and high hopes for what I wanted Avalon to be might have marred what it truly was.

My experience reading this book started off wonderfully. I was immediately drawn into the story and looked forward to being swept off my feet.  The pacing was fast and I thought the science fiction aspects were done well and it did mirror the aura of Firefly, especially with the main story arc. Sadly, as I continued to read I was unable to really connect with the characters and never fully grasped the world they lived in.

There was a beautiful addition of some creepy details and I had chills reading. Unfortunately, this aspect puttered out in the last half of the book and things became more predictable. I quickly saw the direction things were headed and felt a small amount of disappointment that not only did the mysterious elements not amount to as much as I liked I was correct in the outcome of why they were occurring.

The Characters:
I found the cast to be likeable enough but I really missed that there wasn’t more internal dialog amongst the crew and bolder personalities. Everyone sort of just melded together in my head (especially weeks after reading). I felt that not one character stood out to me. The main character, Jeth, was supposed to take that spot but I never successfully connected with him. I found Arnett’s male voice to be well done and believable but overall he just lacked something to make me love his character. Sadly, I’m not exactly sure how to pin point it.

The romance in Avalon felt very secondary and really it felt more a means to an end than a focus of the story. For me, the two characters connection stopped after attraction and I never felt any real emotions between them. I personally prefer my science fiction with less romance than more so this didn’t really affect my reading experience.

Final Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading Avalon though I was disappointed in the book overall. I felt that the beginning half was excellent and because of that and my very (possibly unrealistic) expectations I set this book up to fail in some ways. I think that if I had read it without my own hopes of what it would be I could have seen what the author intended and enjoy it more. I will continue with this series and hope that the world is developed more as well as my connection with the characters.


  1. says

    This is one of the books I’d like to read. Buuut, eh, I really get frustrated if I can’t/don’t connect to the characters. For me, characters are the MOST important part of a book. (Everything else awesome is bonus… XD) I do love the cover for this one, though!

  2. says

    Expectations can do bad things to a book, but I’m glad to hear that despite it all you still managed to enjoy the book, even if the first part more than the rest! I’m glad to hear the romance ain’t big in the book. I don’t mind a well done romance, but I’d rather not have it overtaking everything in every book!
    Great review, Kristen!

    • says

      I know, and it makes me sad because I feel like I set the book up to fail in some ways. I don’t know how to not have expectations though :-/ The beginning was perfect so hopefully more of that is harnessed in the second book.

  3. says

    Sometimes high expectations don’t really do a book any favours. 🙁 It’s a shame that this wasn’t as good as you were hoping it would be, but I’m glad that you liked the beginning half, at least. I had a similar experience with The Nightmare Affair, so I might put this off for a bit longer. Thanks for the helpful review!

    • says

      Thanks Sam! As much as I don’t want to have expectations I can’t seem to figure out how not to. I think that the series will improve with each book. curious about your thoughts when you get to it.

  4. says

    Arrgh, I don’t like to hear that this book was disappointing! 🙁 But I can’t say I’m *too* surprised. I heard similar things about her other series, so I decided to skip reading it for now. I’m still hoping Avalon will be a winner for me. We’ll see!

    • says

      Kelley–I’ll be very eager to hear what you think of it when you get around to reading. The beginning started off so strongly. Hoping book 2 utilizes more of the aspects I liked.

  5. says

    Hmmmm….I have had a lot of people tell me that they want my thoughts on this book & its on my holiday reading list, so I guess I’ll have to see for myself. I haven’t read any of her other books, so this will be a first, for me.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  6. says

    Aw, *hugs* <3 I'm sorry you didn't love this one like you wanted to. But neither did I. Sad face. But I do adore Mindee, though. <3 But yes. About this book, I agree with so much of what you said. Did not like romance. Did not connect to characters. Sigh. But it was an interesting book, still 😀

  7. says

    This book does sound really interesting! It’s too bad that the characters fell a little flat out; that’s always the most crucial part of a story for me.

  8. says

    Okay, so I didn’t love The Nightmare Affair but was still hoping for good things with this one. *sigh* I just don’t have time for books/characters I can’t connect with, and since you and I tend to share similar opinions on the books we read, I think I’m going to push this one down the pile. ;(

  9. says

    I’m sorry you are a little bit disappointed with this book. I read it a few days ago, and I absolutely loved it. I tought the plot was done beautifully and I actualy liked that there wasn’t much romance in it and that the main focus was on the story. But I do agree with you about the characters, not one character stands out. Great review Kristen!

    • says

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I very much appreciate Shepherd’s writing and look forward to reading her next venture in young adult. I really wish I could have connected better with the characters. Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

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