Author: Mindee Arnett
Rating: ★★★★ / ★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for an advance copy of this book!
So I really really loved this but at the same time wanted to love it even MORE than I did. When I read this I was super burned out on contemporary and needed sci-fi sooooo badly. I dove into this and loved it so much. But at the same time I just wanted MORE.
With all of the comparisons to Firefly I had a lot of trouble getting my head around the fact that this was NOT Firefly. Don’t compare this to Firefly guys. Jeth is way too young to be Mal. And that hurt. So once I got over that, I was okay, but left feeling a little flat and wanting something more from Jeth and his crew. And I didn’t get it.
I also wanted more show and less tell. The info dumps were just… bleh. I kept picturing things in my mind like a movie to make up for it. God, there were some missed opportunities with the imagery and I just wanted to shake the book and be like WORDS MATCH THE PICTURE IN MY HEAD.
Aside from those two points, and the slightly flat, stereotypical characters, I really really really loved this. I loved flying around space. I loved the crime lords. I loved the double dealing. The corrupt government. Broken space ships. And I did love Jeth once I stopped trying to picture a young Mal. I loved how devoted he was to his crew, how much he loved his sister, and his ship.
The romance… I could have done without. It was too rushed and too contrived. Not totally instalove, but just… idk. Again, too much show, not enough feel.
Read this if you’re a sci-fi fan and need something entertaining to read. And don’t compare it to Firefly.
Now pardon me while I go re-watch Cowboy Bebop for the 10th time..
In some ways, it’s hard not to compare Avalon to Firefly. The characters within this novel have little traits that just scream influence in some ways. Jeth, our protagonist, is such a cheeky bastard, who would do anything for his crew, his ship, and the world that is in front of him. Does this sound familiar to someone?
In a lot of ways, it was hard for me to look past the level of influence that Avalon has borrowed from in terms of space westerns. It’s hard not to see it, no less. Yet, it’s a fun ride with a lot of great ideas that are its own as well. There’s a lot of info-dumping and telling not showing, but I do feel like Arnett is really trying to help the reader visualize the world and what the characters have to face in order to survive the wastes within space. I love books that allow me to feel like I can travel through space and understand what is happening within it. I think Arnett does a great job of giving the reader the connection they need to follow Jeth and his crew.
I wish she had done more with the characters though. At times they were a bit flat and stereotyped (Sierra in particular fits this bill) and it actually upset me at times because their was the potential to make everyone interesting, but other than Jeth, they don’t get the full realization they need to feel like real characters. It’s like, we know Jeth and Lizzie are brother and sister, but let’s try to deepen that understanding a bit more, y’know?
Still, Avalon is an insanely fast read, action-packed, and just plain fun. If you can avoid making comparisons there is tons to enjoy here, but if you’re like me, it’s hard to push what you see aside and look at it as its own entity.