Review: Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Polaris
Mindee Arnett

Balzar + Bray
Releases January 20, 2015
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher.
432 pages
YA / Sci-Fi / Space

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Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.

With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.

The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel Avalon, Polaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to.

Last week Jeth stopped by Working for the Mandroid to answer a couple of questions about his space-faring adventures. You can see that interview here and enter to win a copy of both Avalon and Polaris.

SPOILERS FOR AVALON FOLLOW

I read the sequel to Mindee Arnett’s Avalon while on a cruise ship hundreds of miles in the Gulf of Mexico, so it seemed appropriate to join Jeth and his crew in yet another adventure amidst the stars. Polaris picks up soon after Avalon ends with Jeth and his crew friendless and without any resources. Everything seems to be going wrong as one scheme after another turns upside down and the crew finds themselves at the wrong end of someone or another’s gun or battleship. Meanwhile they’re trying to devise a way to save Jeth’s mother from the ITA, who is still holding her captive after Jeth and his friends saved their little sister Cora in the previous book.

Adventures abound and fate leads Jeth to First Earth where he might finally discover the truth about his family’s history and how they’ve all gotten tied up with the little alien creatures that power the warp drives on every ship in the galaxy. As power vacuums rip the game board apart and paranoia starts pulling apart the crew of the Avalon, Jeth is left with the big task of saving his family, his friends and the dying alien race that keeps the galaxy running.

Unlike in Avalon, there’s a bit more drag in Polaris, mostly because of all the paranoia that starts eating away at the loyalty Jeth feels for his crew. There are a lot more arguments between cast members and sulking as the stakes keep getting higher and higher. It seemed like it took a little more concerted effort to get all the pieces in the right places for the big set pieces in this book, though it could have also been my own restlessness of being stuck on a cruise boat while reading it.

Overall Polaris has the same heart and adventuresome nature as the first book in the series, and it brings back a few interesting side characters that might deserve more attention down the road. I'm a little confused that the book description reads as though this is the end of the series. A window was left open for further adventures and there seems to be far more emotional ramifications to explore after the events in Polaris.

Arnett continues to create a fascinating galaxy for her characters to inhabit and the space adventures continue to excite. I look forward to seeing what else Jeth and his gang get up to in the next volume as they seem to be the last great hope for keeping the spaceships in the galaxy functioning.