Review: Proxy & Avalon by 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.

I want to start of with a very quick review of Proxy, the novella in this Avalon series. It is not necessary to read the novella before reading Avalon. Proxy is an interlude into Jeth's world and we get to cruise along one of the Shades' missions. It was nothing too special, but you immediately get a sense of what you can expect in Avalon. For such a short story, a lot happens and there is plenty of action. Fun to read!

Now Avalon starts of with a bang and you immediately get swept into this crazy intergalactic world. It seems a lot of people were having trouble getting through some parts of this novel, but I had no problem at all. Yeah, there were some parts that could get a bit boring because of the sudden lack of action compared to other scenes. Still I kept turning the pages as I needed to know what was going to happen. So exciting!

It all starts of when Jeth and the rest of the Shades get a new job from their boss Hammer. They have to take Avalon (Jeth's parents ship, which his uncle gambled away) and go to Belgrave to find a lost ship. They have to find it, don't enter, bring it back and receive massive payout, including the owner rights to Avalon. Now that would be right up their ally, if it wasn't for the fact that anything that enters Belgrave seems to go missing and all you hear about that place are horror stories.

Though it's not like they actually have a choice in this, so of they go. When by lucky chance they find the ship another surprise appears. It seems there are people still alive on the lost ship. So of course Jeth has to enter the ship and that is when things really go wonky.

I absolutely loved the plot, which only really starts when they find the ship. Though seriously the twist and loops in this one are off the chain. Mindee Arnett will keep you on your toes and you will not expect the choices she made in this plot. Also the pace in these parts, you will not be able to read fast enough. So crazy, but so good!

Now the beginning was also very good. The way the world was build up, setting up the background and giving a voice to all the different characters was done very well, with plenty of details.

You must not forget that Jeth is only seventeen, though the things he has done, what he has been through and what Arnett is putting him through now, make him easily look older. He's a character that demands respects and radiates authority, while still being very approachable.

The further I got in the book, the more I kept thinking that there would be no romance here. I was wrong. There was some romance, but really not a lot and in this case I very much liked it. I think the story would have even been better would there have no romance at all or maybe not yet. The overall focus stays on the mission and all the plot twists.

I very much recommend reading this book. It has been a while since I've read a good science-fiction and Avalon was right up my alley. The story isn't over, but there is no major cliffhanger and I am so ready for the next book!

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