Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014: 'Avalon'

Welcome to Book City
Date: October 31, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

Mindee Arnett

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.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Jeth steals a ship with minor problems. He finds an ITA agent on the ship. The agent named Renford asks if Jeth would like to do a deal with him. The deal would give Jeth the Avalon his ship. Jeth declines . Jeth goes back to Hammer Dafoe the guy who keeps the thieves, and Jeth's group, in check. He gets the same job as the one that Renford wanted Jeth to do. Jeth makes a deal with Hammer to get his ship if he comes back successfully because he had to go to an area called the Belgrave area that is similar to the Bermuda Triangle. Jeth and his crew go on the mission. It takes a while, but he finds the ship. And its three survivors. They are Vince and his sister Sierra and the little girl Cora. On the ship, there are random holes. On the Avalon, the same phenomena happens. Lizzie, Sierra, and Jeth go to the other ship and get parts that are needed for the repairs for the Avalon. Sierra and Jeth kiss. Later on, Jeth gets betrayed by Sierra who overhears him saying he'll contact Renford because Hammer was too dangerous. The Avalon is taken. Jeth and his crew end up being taken by Hammer who got to them first. Jeth is given the 'decision' to be a mindless Guard or independent Brethren under Hammer's thumb. He goes on a mission to get the Avalon back. He finds out that Cora is actually his sister. He goes to get Lizzie and Cora but is ambushed by the 'ITA', who turn out to be traitors, and Hammer when he plans to escape. Sierra agrees to help Cora calm down and be a part of the plan Hammer and Renford had. Jeth is taken to be implanted to become one of Hammer's slaves. Lizzie and Sierra break in before anything can happen. Hammer is overpowered, and Dax a tracker jumps in and takes Hammer's implant. Dax puts the implant as his own. Jeth is set free. He looks for Cora and finds her. Jeth shoots Renford, killing him in front of Cora. Cora has a meltdown, creating holes and phasing left and right. She phases the gun Jeth had and his fingers. Cora saves them by phasing them all to the Avalon where they flee. Sierra and Jeth get together as a couple. The crew and their friends fly off to a better tomorrow.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Jethro Seagrave.
Teenager thief with a love for his family and his ship and his team. A guy who keeps his emotions in check but will do anything to protect the ones he loves. Looking for a lover to cuddle with and kiss constantly. Lost some fingers if that's a turn off. Cold at times and determined. Looks at all the options before making a decision. 

I think this book has a good idea. The concept is solid. Metatech. Ships. A band of teenager thieves. It's interesting without being too much. The world building for the concept is quite good. We get the idea of what metatech is. We get the idea of the world. Of the ships. We don't get a detailed analysis, but that isn't needed here. What you get is all you need. 
The plot isn't fast or slow. It has the right pacing. We don't blast through any parts. The action is also good. Enough shooting and pain. (And I'll admit that it's nice having human characters who aren't immune to pain.) The plot isn't just action or science fiction. It's also drama and romance and fantasy. There's family and lovers and friendship. (The last one being less emphasized than the first two.) 
My only problem is the characters. And the romance.
The characters are...a bit annoying. Some are a bit whiny even. By that I mean that Jeth's little sister Lizzie is annoying. She's whiny and bratty at times. She can be a whiz at computers. But everything else? Whines. I don't mind Sierra. At least she has purpose. But she's the superwoman of the characters. The 'I'm in ITA even though I'm young' person. I don't mind prodigies. I really don't, but this is too far. We already have a band of prodigies. In a menagerie of friends, I know. We get the 'beautiful, smart, and clever' girl? Overkill. 
The romance is also an annoyance. Where do they get together? Why does Sierra trust Jeth? I don't get it. (Though, I say that a lot.) I understand that they have been torture by the same man. But I think this is half sexual desire and half the lure of dating someone who is not a trustworthy person. (Sierra betrays Jeth, remember?) 
I also don't think this book needs a sequel. It's perfect in its ending. No more. No less. I don't see how the story will continue... 

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain 

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