Avalon by Mindee Arnett
In the distant future, power is everything. And power is metatech, the mysterious technology that allows ships to jump light years to the far reaches of space. Bound together by the Confederation of Planets, the galaxy is ruled by the Interstellar Transport Authority, the government organization who controls the metatech – not just the sale and distribution of individual drives and who passes through the jump gates, but also the top secret knowledge of how the tech works.
The only thing more corrupt than the ITA are the crime lords – especially Hammer, a brutal thug of a man whose insidious tentacles – and implanted Guard and Brethren supersoldiers – have spread to almost every planet and spaceport in the ‘verse. Which is where Jeth Seagrave and his motley band of teen misfits and thieves come in. Gathered by Hammer using required aptitude tests, Jeth, his baby sister Lizzie, and the rest of his crew steal the ships and the tech for Hammer, who then sells them to the highest bidder on the black market.
Jeth doesn’t care about any of that – all he cares about is banking enough cash from the jobs he does for Hammer to buy back Avalon, his dead parents’ spaceship that his uncle lost to Hammer in a card game years ago. Once he has enough, Jeth is taking Lizzie and his crew and settling far, far away from Hammer, who stole his freedom, and the ITA, who executed his scientist parents, on an independent planet on the edge of the galaxy.
So when Hammer tells Jeth to convince the crew to go into the Belgrave to retrieve a lost ship and the mysterious weapon that’s aboard, Jeth barely hesitates. Rumors of strange happenings and whole ships vanishing into the swirling stars of the Belgrave are just that – rumors. Besides, Hammer wants Jeth to take Avalon on this mission, which means he’ll have his parents’ nav maps to assist. No problem. Especially since all they have to do is find the dead ship and tow it out.
But what they find in the Belgrave isn’t a dead ship – and it isn’t any kind of weapon Jeth has seen before. Will they make it out alive? Or will the Belgrave swallow Jeth and the Avalon up, just like it has so many others?
Shiny! Avalon was a whole heap of fun, plot-driven, action-packed scifi adventure all told at light speed. If you’re at all familiar with Joss Whedon’s amazing cult classic Firefly, then you’ll recognize all the awesome that’s happening, and if not, you’ll love it just the same. Jeth is a guy who loves his ship and his crew – and he’ll do anything to haul them out of trouble, including betraying the most feared man in the galaxy. Avalon is a mechanical creature of beauty – a little rusty, sure, but she gets the job done and she does it with finesse. Lizzie is a technical genius who’s feisty, tough, and doesn’t take orders from anyone – especially not her big brother. And the plot is epic – conspiracies, fire fights, creepy tech, romantic sparks, and shocking reveals abound. If you’re looking for a fast thrill ride of a book (in space!) to round out the end of summer, look no further than Avalon!