Saturday, 4 January 2014

Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Title: Avalon (Avalon #1)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Release date: January 21st 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 292
Source: Edelweiss

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.

Those of you who know me will know that I love sci-fi. So I was incredibly excited to read Avalon, but unfortunately it was a letdown. Which really sucks, because there's a great premise here. I've seen a lot of great reviews for this book, but I guess this just wasn't for me.

Jeth is the leader of a crew of teenage mercenaries, called the Malleus Shades. 'Mercenaries' doesn't make you think very highly of these guys, but I found myself liking their humour and honesty. Jeth and his crew go on missions to steal ships for their boss, Hammer, and they get money in return. Jeth needs this to buy Avalon, his ship, back from Hammer. But when Hammer sends them into an area called the Belgrave and they slowly uncover secrets that could easily get them killed.

I think my first issue with this book was the third person. I'm never a fan of third person because I feel detached from the main character and their story. But I think as the novel progressed I began to get used to it. I definitely liked the action throughout the book, but I feel like it took too long to get there.

The first half wasn't that great. Nothing really happened, and the world building was a little confusing. And I can't honestly say the second half was better. I mean sure, it was definitely more interesting and there was a lot of action and plot twists, but everything that annoyed me about this book happened in that half. I may rant a little in my review so if you want strictly no spoilers at all, you'd best not read on until you've read the book.

What I really liked about this novel is the setting and the premise. The Belgrave is basically  the Bermuda Triangle of this world - weird things happen in there, people and ships go missing, etc. I would have liked it if we got to see more of the Belgrave. I also liked the idea of the 5th dimension, metaspace. As I've mentioned, I love sci-fi, and this is definitely something new and interesting. I think the explanation of metaspace was incredibly riveting, and if I do pick up the next book I hope there'll be more of it in there.

I have mixed feelings about Jeth. I really liked him - he's brave and loyal and a great leader. I loved seeing how much he cares about his sister, Lizzie, and how he'd do anything for her. And for his crew, who are basically his family. But Jeth is way too trusting of people, and really gullible. I wanted to smack him on the head for the number of blunders he made trusting people he shouldn't have! His actions put him in danger a lot. And not just him, but the rest of his crew, too.

Now this part will be a little bit spoilery, I guess. I hated Sierra so much. I've never hated a YA character this much in a long time. She's manipulative and her lack of morality bugged me so much. Not just at one point, but in several instances. Sierra is Jeth's love interest in the novel, and that brings me to the romance. There's definitely not much, which I was glad about because reading about Jeth and Sierra making out seemed kind of revolting to me considering how much I hated her. The romance is hard to believe, since there wasn't really any chemistry between the two, and I think the book would've been better off without it.

But that's not to say that I didn't like the other characters, because I did. Jeth's crew is awesome, all of them - Lizzie, Celeste, Shady, Flynn. They all have unique personalities, and they work together surprisingly well considering how different they are. I also liked Vince, Sierra's brother. He seemed like he had a lot of potential, and I wish his character was explored more.

I did like all the plot twists, because they were really unpredictable. I was gaping at most of them, and I don't usually do that in YA books because there's usually always some predictability. The pacing wasn't done too well, too much sitting around in the first half and then all the explosive action in the second. But I found myself enjoying where Arnett was taking the book in the second half, and that redeemed it a little. But sadly not enough.

So overall, I have to say I was disappointed with Avalon, because I was really looking forward to it and had pretty good expectations. I'm sorry this wasn't for me, and I hope that not everyone feels the same way! I guess I'd recommend this to sci-fi fans, because that aspect of it is really cool. But if you really need romance in your YA books or you can't handle initial slow-paced plots, you might want to pass on this one.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 2.5/5

1 comment:

  1. It sucks that this didn't meet your expectations, Richa. I hope your next one will be better.

    Have a great weekend!


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