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Avalon Hardcover – 21 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (21 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062235591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062235596
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 862,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“Avalon will pull you into the darkest reaches of space-and you’ll be glad to be there. A heart-pounding, tense joyride of a novel.” (Kiersten White, author of the New York Times-bestselling Paranormalcy series)

“This is an exciting piece of science fiction that keeps up its energy from beginning to end … it is sure to be one of the most popular releases in the genre this year.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Arnett’s fast-paced space western combines S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (1967) with television’s Firefly in what appears to be the beginning of a promising series. Sci-fi fans will gulp it down in one sitting and ask for more.” (ALA Booklist)

“Secrets, betrayal, family, team work, and love are all at the heart of Arnett’s book. It is a plot-filled story with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing about what will come next.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Millions of light-years, no way out.

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.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2015
Format: Hardcover
For some reason, sci-fi seems to be making a grand reappearance in the young-adult genre. Maybe it's an outgrowth of the popularity of dystopian novels, or maybe it's just from the popularity of books like "Across the Universe."

But whatever reason isn't important, because "Avalon" is one of the more solid examples of young-adult sci-fi -- just a solid space opera that happens to star a gang of teenage thieves, with some interesting tech, corrupt forces and a mystery at its heart. The last third of the book is where it blossoms, and Mindee Arnett brings together all the subplots into a very intriguing conspiracy.

Years ago, Jeth's parents were executed for treason, although he's never been sure why. Now his only goal is to regain his parents' ship from a crimelord named Hammer, who forces Jeth and his teenage gang to steal metadrive ships for him. Once he saves enough money, he and his sister Lizzie will get the Avalon back and leave.

They're in the middle of one such mission when an ITA agent approaches them with an odd request: use the Avalon to infiltrate the dangerous Belgrave Sector and find a lost ship, the Donerail. It's even weirder when Hammer makes the same demand, revealing that a mysterious weapon is on board the Donereail -- and under no circumstances is Jeth allowed to board it.

But they find the Donerail, there are a few people left alive -- and one of them, a teen ITA agent named Sierra, tells Jeth that she has a secret that could shatter the current power structure of space travel. But when the Avalon is stolen out from under him, Jeth ends up trapped between the ITA and Hammer, and discovers the shocking secrets of his parents' deaths, metaspace travel and a child who isn't quite human...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Title: Avalon
Series: Avalon (#1)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Source: purchased - Amazon
Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Avalon starts straight away in the middle of one of Jeth Seagrave's heists without any pretence and that was all it took for me to be hooked. Any book with thieves is bound to win me over and I couldn't help but think of Heist Society by Ally Carter when I started Avalon.

Jeth, at first, struck me as an adrenaline junkie and Iwas worried that I was going to worry about Jeth's actions for the whole book. Luckily I was wrong. Jeth has got to be one of my favourite male YA characters. Underneath is need for a challenge is responsible and intelligent teenage boy who is extraordinarily strong. As the leader of his group of thieves/mercenaries he calls all the shots and deals with the tension of ensuring that his crew, his family, is safe. On top of that is the fear and hatred he has of his boss. Hammer, a notorious crime lord, owns Jeth and all Jeth wants is to make enough money to buy his parents' ship back and go off into the galaxy to fulfil his wanderlust.

The plot centres around Jeth and his crew's current job - to go into the Belgrave and find a missing ship. The only (well biggest) problem is that the Belgrave is essentially the sci-fi version of the Bermuda Triangle.

Everything about Avalon was amazing. I loved the sci-fi setting mixed in with the idea of teenage thieves. There is action, humour, and a sweet romance which I couldn't help but adore. But in the end Jeth is what made the book so amazing. The layers to his character along with the sacrifices he has to make made me fall in love with him and I absolutely can't wait for the sequel. Anybody who loves YA sci-fi or Ally Carter's Heist Society should definitely read Avalon.

YA
4.5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
Jeth is a thief, and he’s good at it.
Leader of a gang of teens who work for an extremely powerful man, Jeth is slowly saving his money in hopes of buying back the Avalon – his dead parent’s spaceship, which his uncle lost whilst gambling.
When Jeth is approached by a man claiming to be from the ITA (Interstellar Transport Agency), and offered a deal in which he would get his ship back, he is loath to cross his boss Hammer, and instead tries to use the situation to his advantage with his boss.

Things take a turn for the worse though, and suddenly Jeth and his crew end up in a very dangerous and risky position.
Can Jeth really gain anything from such a dodgy situation though? Can he keep his younger sister from being sent to work in a brother by his boss? And who can he really trust?

This was an interesting sci-fi/dystopian, but I lost interest towards the end.

Jeth was an okay character, but I did think him a little too trusting and naïve at times. When he thought his situation was getting better and better, I thought it was getting worse and worse!

The storyline was good, and I loved the creepy moments we got at the beginning. This book reminded me a bit of the film ‘Event Horizon’ at points, and I really was creeped out in some of the earlier chapters.
Unfortunately though I felt like the story lost its way a bit around the 50% mark. Although we continued to have lots of interesting developments, I found myself really easily distracted which wasn’t the case at all in the earlier chapters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 101 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Proceed with Caution Firefly Fans. 15 May 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a browncoat, for you non-firefly fans it means a huge fan. No I don't follow the cast around or dress up but I did see the movie the first day it came out and would invest in a kickstarter for the next movie (hint, hint please make a new movie)

That said fans of the series that are young may enjoy the book as another feel or an alternative universe view of firefly. It is made for a young reader and should be read like that.

The purist fans will HATE this book. The characters and interactions are too close to the Firefly story line. It does not stand on it's own enough to make it's own mark.

At first I thought it would be a good intro to a young person to firefly. Read the book then get the series BUT I remember my little sister and "A Long Kiss Goodnight". It was a Geena Davis movie made in 1996 that is very similar to Bourne Identity, except of course the main character is a female discovering her secret identity. The issue is my little sister saw the movie LKG and loved it. She watched it 20-30 times and when Bourne Identity with Matt Damon came out in 2002, she thought THAT was a rip off of LKG. I had to sit her down and explain that the movie was based on a series of books by Robert Ludlum. After exclaiming that Ludlum was a theft, I had to explain that he wrote the books BI in 1980 WAY before LKG was a idea for a movie. She rolled her eyes and still refuses to watch any Bourne movie or read any of Ludlums books. So a word of caution - Go with the original first.

Pros - Great for a young reader or good fan that want a little taste of what they miss

Cons- too similar for die hard fans

Neutral - May not be a good introduction to firefly for first timers.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Avalon 20 Mar. 2014
By Christianna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Oh Avalon, how I wanted to love you with every fiber of my being. I really did. You're a mixture of things that I love, including Firefly and Danny Boyle's flick Sunshine and even some Star Wars. You've got all the fixings to be something right up my alley. In some ways you delivered brilliantly and in others you didn't hit the mark at all. Sure, even though you weren't perfect, I still enjoyed you, but I wanted you to leave me more excited than I am in the long run. I'm just left trying to find the "wow factor" I wanted going into you. Then again I'll settle for what you did deliver on and call it a truce.

And now that my open letter to the book is over...

This is my first book by Mindee Arnett that I've read and after hearing so many awesome things about her other novels, I couldn't wait to dive into it. A book set in space about teenage mercenaries? Sign me up! I found the characters interesting and the overall plot to be enjoyable and fast paced. Arnett sure knows how to keep you on your toes when it comes to throwing curve balls into her plot and keeping things interesting. But for as fast paced as the action was I found myself struggling through reading the book itself.

It was odd. I felt like I had read a ton of the book and I'd look and see that I hadn't gotten very far at all. I'm not sure why this was, but it made the book feel like it was dragging for me. Even if the plot was moving along, it felt like I was stuck in the pages and that I couldn't get out. It was immensely distracting, and personally the flow of my reading experience got in the way of how much I enjoyed this book. It's the weirdest thing to try to explain. Exciting things were happening in the story, but they weren't happening in a way that made me excited.

That being said, I did enjoy the characters that filled Arnett's story. I like when I find a male protagonist believable and Jeth did that for me. He had his flaws (in that he wasn't always as assessable as I would have liked) but he had this honesty about him that I found to be really refreshing. Plus, his loyalty to his crew was something to applaud! And then throw in how great his was with his little sister Lizzie and he'll also managed to melt your heart every once in awhile.

Sierra was a great female lead as well. As was Celeste. I liked how Arnett wrote really feisty and strong females into her novel. In a place full of male testosterone, these girls held their own. Even the younger ones like Lizzie and Cora had their moments of extreme strength.

The rest of the bit characters also had their moments. The bad guys had moments that made your skin crawl and we all know that that's what you want in a good bad guy, so that worked out well too.

So, even though I was left wanting more. Let's be honest, a whole lot more, the things that Arnett did right, she did really really right. I've got to give her props for all of that, even though I can't start a slow clap for this space ship flying, galaxy traveling, romp of a tale because of the weird pacing. I have to admit that I'm curious to see where the next book goes...

You can read this and many other reviews on my YA book blog <a href="http://thewhiteunicornfiction.blogspot.com/">The White Unicorn!</a>
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyed the premise of this novel and it held my interest despite a few lulls in the storyline 28 Jan. 2014
By Jessica Leigh (Lovin' Los Libros) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
3.5/5 stars

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge sci-fi fan. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Farscape are all coveted favorites of mine, and I have always been into science fiction books. When I saw Avalon pop up for review a while back, I couldn't resist snagging it. Not to mention the blurb mentioned Firefly- which is a smart marketing move on their behalf since I will insta pick up if it is reminiscent of my beloved short-lived show.

I enjoyed Avalon myself. I can definitely see where they would relate it to Firefly, but for young adults. A rag-tag band of mercenaries working for a crime lord while avoiding the ITA (which is basically the government that controls space)? Yep- definitely reminiscent of Firefly. I really liked the premise of this novel and it managed to hold my interest, despite a few lulls in the storyline. I also enjoyed the characters, even though we really only get to know them at face value. I wouldn't say there was a lot of depth or development where they were concerned.

I liked Jeth as our protagonist. He is the leader of the group and loves a bit of adventure. However, he is protective of his crew, especially his younger sister Lizzie. After losing their parents, the responsibility has really fallen to him, as their uncle Milton hasn't really proved himself to be of much use. Having lost the Avalon to Hammer Dafoe, crime lord extraordinaire and Jeth's boss, Jeth is determined to do enough jobs to buy her back and then try to start a new life elsewhere with his sister. However, what Jeth doesn't realize until later, is that walking away from Hammer isn't going to prove as easy as he thinks. This definitely made me think of Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt! :D Substitute carbonite for an implant that controls your brain and you've got a big problem!

I also really liked Lizzie. She's young, but she's extremely tech-savvy and a good addition to the crew. Jeth is very protective of her and while he isn't overly emotional towards her, you can tell he still cares.

Jeth certainly never imagined that he and his crew would be swept up into a storm between the ITA and Hammer, as both want the same valuable information a lost ship in the Belgrave Quadrant has in its possession. Traveling to the Belgrave Quadrant is extremely dangerous and has been deemed off limits by the ITA. Ships and people get lost in the Belgrave, never to be seen again. Taking this job is a gamble, but with his freedom and his ship dangling in front of him, it's a risk Jeth is willing to take in order to leave his life of crime behind.

This book definitely has its share of twists and turns and there was one that really made me angry! It started a negative chain reaction and really made Jeth's life a mess. I felt complete despair for him and I was really unhappy that this character committed such an act of betrayal. I can understand why they would do it, but upon making such assumptions and not COMMUNICATING really landed not only Jeth, but themselves in a world of trouble.

I am looking forward to book two, Meridian, as Avalon not only has loose ends to expand upon, but introduced some new twists and turns that will need exploring! My biggest qualm with this one was that while engaged in the overall story, there were points where I was pretty bored and ready to move forward. If you are a science fiction fan, I would give this one a try.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Firefly Rip-Off 23 Jan. 2014
By Christina @ My Life in Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
//Cover Chat//

I’ve seen a lot of reviews dismiss Avalon’s cover because they don’t know what’s at the top. In my opinion, that hunk of spaceship junk is exactly why it’s a great science-fiction cover. Not to get all writing-major nerdy up in here, but I saw it as a very well done metaphor for the dark and unknown corners of space. And that text just screams classic science-fiction.

//First Line//

Stealing a spaceship shouldn’t be this easy.

//Plot//

Leaving out the two huge plot twists at the end, I not only predicted everything that happened but continually wondered how this story wasn’t considered copyright infringement by whomever owns the rights to Firefly (is it still the evil empire, otherwise known as FOX?). Just read my character comparisons to understand what I mean.

//Characters//

I’m going to break down the Avalon-Firefly conversions here…

First off there’s Jeth who’s real name is Jethro, which is such a disappointment because somehow just Jeth sounded cooler. He is obviously supposed to be Avalon’s Malcolm Reynolds in both personality and leadership. That was a big “duh!” that I was expecting so it didn’t phase me too much.

Then there’s Lizzie, Jeth’s younger sister, who figuratively carried around a huge neon sign flashing the name Kaylee when she wasn’t hacking computers like I’d expect Wash to do. Not only is she such a bleeding heart optimist that you want to shake her but also her relationship to Jeth is straight from Firefly. Throughout the series, Mal treats Kaylee as a sister and even refers to her as “Xiao Mei Mei” or “Little Younger Sister”.

Milton, the uncle to Jeth and Lizzie, is the pair to Simon because he’s the ship’s doctor but actually served no other purpose as a meaningful character. Plus it’s just weird that this forty-something year-old alcoholic guy is galavanting through space with a bunch of teenagers.

Shady is mentioned as being obsessed with his guns, knives, and explosives so it’s a clear parallel to Jayne as the crew’s muscle. Flynn resembles both Kaylee as the mechanic but his personality comes off more like Wash, cracking jokes and trying to keep things light. Celeste is Inara in appearance but definitely steps into Zoe’s shoes as the second-in-command, doesn’t-take-shit-from-anybody strong female character. Overall the secondary crew members were unmemorable and I had trouble remembering their names.

Now on to the stowaways. Sierra instantly jumped off the page as the true Inara. Her weird interactions with Jeth only made for an unbelievable love interest and her secret agent backstory screamed Shepard Book. Vince just never solidified as an actual person for me so I didn’t bother trying to cast him as any Firefly characters. And then Cora. Oh Cora. From the second she became a presence on Avalon, I knew she was going to be River, the crazy experiment.

//Prose//

There are even lines taken from the Firefly script. While not verbatim, it’s pretty damn close.

Avalon Quote:

“Just thought you should know,” she said, winking. “Can I tell them to piss off?”
“Oh sure,” Jeth said, not nearly as amused by the situation as she was. “Just be polite about it.”
Lizzie grinned and said into the comm, “This is the Montrose. The captain says piss off. Politely.”
Firefly dialogue from “Serenity” episode:

Zoë: Now we have a boat full of citizens right on top of our… stolen cargo. That’s a fun mix.
Mal: Ain’t no way in the ‘verse they could find that compartment, even if even if they were looking for it.
Zoë: Why not?
Mal: ‘Cause.
Zoë: Oh, yeah. This is gonna go great.
Mal: If anyone gets nosy, you know, just… shoot ‘em.
Zoë: Shoot ‘em?
Mal: Politely.
And then there’s this Avalon Quote:

“All right. Fifteen percent and it’s a deal.” Fifteen percent of a whole bunch would still be a whole bunch.
Firefly dialogue, also from “Serenity”:

Mal: Can’t get paid if you’re dead.
Jayne: Can’t get paid if you crawl away like a bitty little bug neither. I got a share of this job. Ten percent of nothin’ is, let me do the math here… nothin’ and a nothin’, carry the nothin’…
And those are just the ones I managed to catch while reading.

//Final Thoughts//

You’re better off using the time you would have spent reading Avalon to watch the only season of Firefly.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Plot Is Full of Win 19 May 2014
By Lili's Reflections - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed Arnett's debut, THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, so I was super excited to give this book a chance. Combine that with the fact that there is a comparison to Joss Whedon's genius in the synopsis and I was sold, though I will admit that I have never seen an episode of FIREFLY. I'm happy to report that this is a fabulous space odyssey full of betrayal, fights for freedom, and plot twists galore, though it lacks in a solid emotional connection with the characters.

The plot of this story was so full of win that I can't even do it justice. The second that I felt like I knew what would happen next, Arnett threw me for a loop and would take the story in a completely different direction. Once the story started there was never any resting period and this four hundred plus page novel was a real breeze to read simply because the plot was so enjoyable. It constantly kept me on my toes and there were seriously some moments where my heart beat so fast I thought it would fly out of my chest.

It was really easy for me to love Jeth. He will literally do anything to save what is left of his family. He's simply a seventeen year old kid fighting to protect his loved ones and to win back what belongs to him and his family. It was easy to support his cause, but I just couldn't feel for him. For whatever reason, no matter how tragic several of the back-story's were, I did not connect with anyone emotionally. I stood behind them, but when it came to feeling their pain, it was almost like there was a glass wall between us, making such a connection completely impossible. I was on the outside looking in. I think this can be contributed to the fact that the book is more action-driven as opposed to character-driven. The plethora of action sequences in this novel were completely engrossing the ways I wish the characters could be, yet the characters were interesting enough to be far from fully flat.

The romance in this book was well done because it served as more of a sub-plot that tended to show itself at the best moments. As a huge individual against insta-love, I found this tiny romance to be completely satisfying because it was more of a mutual attraction that they both want to explore. Neither of the participants are willing to lose the other, but they're not proclaiming their love from the rooftops. Well done, Arnett, well done.

In the end, book two has a lot of promise. All of my qualms began to disappear near the end and the story ended all to soon in the sense that I still want more. Some major changes occurred that are setting up for some wild adventures for book two. There were certain plot twists that had me reeling and begging for more, but I also have to admit that I'm upset with the fact that some major questions were left unanswered. My gut is telling me that things will be resolved in book two, but in certain areas I hated that something that was at once a major plot point just disappeared into oblivion. But, hey, that's a space odyssey, isn't it?

This book is perfect for action-adventure fans that also enjoy science fiction and a brand new interpretation of space. I would actually say this is a great introductory book for readers who want to attempt to delve into the science fiction genre for the first time. This is also a great book for individuals who don't want a dominating romantic plot, but any kind of romance will satisfy this reader.
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