About the Book

Title: Avalon (Avalon #1)
Published: 2014
Series: Avalon
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Straight Up Expository Overload
Bonus Factors: Ocean’s 11, Dead Zone
Relationship Status: Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

Cover Story: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

If this cover is giving you a serious sense of déjà vu, it’s because you’ve already seen it in every other movie poster from the previous year. Overdone or not, this is still a pretty cool cover, even the twisty metal looks like something from Michael Bay’s imagination.

The Deal:

Y’all, there is SO MUCH STORY in this book, but even plot points from 50 pages in feel like spoiler territory. So trust when I say I’m leaving A LOT out.

Centuries into the future, human settlement has reached the far ends of the galaxy, thanks to metatech, a technology that allows for travel faster than the speed of light. And it’s a real power struggle between the main players who want to control the metatech: the intragalactic crime syndicates, and the equally corrupt Interstellar Transport Authority. (You think traveling’s tough now? The ITA will have you wishing for long lines at airport security.)

Working for one such crime boss is a team of teenage mercenaries, led by Jeth Seagrave. Sure, stealing spaceships may be wrong, but this crew is just so good at it. Plus, all Jeth wants to do is to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, and move to a planet free of political dramz with his younger sister. But when Jeth finds himself in the crossfires between the government and the criminals, his quest for freedom is going to have to take a backseat to all the CRAZY STUFF that’s about to go down. 

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Even though I kept mentally added “-ro Tull” to the end of his name, I could sense fall-in-love-with potential in Jeth before the first chapter even ended. His restless spirit constantly craves adventure, and homeboy can pilot a SPACESHIP. And having had to step up big time when his parents died, Jeth’s devotion to his little sister makes him even more dateworthy.

But once I got to know him better, I realized that he and I would be better off as friends. Even though Jeth’s bitterness toward not having much of a childhood is completely justified, it still grew a bit tiresome. He’s also kind of a fairy-tale hater, so obvi we were never meant to be. And, y’know, Jeth’s a criminal. That probably should have been a bigger deal breaker than the fairy tale thing. (Blogging: unearthing disturbing revelations, one post at a time!)

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

As poised as he is in leadership roles, Jeth is goofy when it comes to relationships. He’s actually in a self-imposed girl drought, but as the score above indicates, that doesn’t last for long. Although I could have done without any swoon, since I found the chemistry between Jeth and his love interest to be fairly tepid—but not for a lack of trying on their parts.

Talky Talk: Straight Up Expository Overload

Avalon is so fast-paced and action-packed that the pages just flew by for me. My devouring of this book was only impeded by the occasional conversational info dump; I prefer show over tell as it is, but this dialogue doesn’t have enough sizzle to make those expository interludes work. Still, this book gives great plot, with twists and turns that only scratch at the surface of this ambitious series.

Bonus Factor: Ocean’s 11

Main characters of Ocean's 11.

In terms of blurb buzzwords, a ragtag team of experts is basically my equivalent of a mic drop, i.e., ‘NUFF SAID. I would have actually liked to see more of the non-Seagrave Malleus Shades members (because Malleus Shades is something they sincerely use to call themselves), but I guess there’s plenty of time to do so in the sequel(s).

Bonus Factor: Dead Zone

Stars and lights in space

One of the Malleus Shades’ jobs takes them to the Belgrave Quadrant, a section of the galaxy notorious for the strange and mysterious incidents that occur within it. Is it just urban legend, or has the reputation rightfully been earned? Either way: s-p-o-o-k-y.

Relationship Status: Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am

This book delivers non-stop action; it has no problems stamina, if you know what I mean. While that’s fine for a fling, it wants a longer commitment from me, and that’s something I really can’t promise. Maybe we can split the difference and just become friends with benefits.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Balzer + Bray. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. Avalon is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.