Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Polaris - Mindee Arnett

[Please note that this is the second novel of the series. If you're interested in the series, check out my reviews of Proxy & Avalon instead!]

Polaris Mindee Arnett book cover
Polaris by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #2
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 20, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

Jeth is desperate to find the resources and funding he needs to rescue his mother from an ITA’s research lab and leave this whole galaxy behind for a new life somewhere else. But the ITA is just as desperate, and soon Jeth finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing Jeth and his crew—dead or alive. In a last-ditch effort to save everyone he holds dear, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he'd see again: Dax Shepherd, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. And he’s not the only one: upon arriving back at Peltraz spaceport for the first time since he witnessed the death of his old employer, Jeth discovers Dax has a new partner: Jeth’s mother, Marian. (from Goodreads)

I honestly wish that it were possible to declare wholeheartedly that I enjoyed Polaris as much as I enjoyed Avalon. My hopes were high at the prospect of rejoining Jeth and the gang on another hair-raising, high stakes adventure in space. And all those expectations were raised even more after I finished a reread of Proxy and Avalon, and finding that both were still as excellent as they’d been the first time around. Unfortunately, Polaris was not the same sort of magical reading experience Avalon was.

I do fear, however, that this might be a purely subjective thing. Polaris narrates the darker, harsher things Jeth and company go through after everything that happens in Avalon. The story is riddled with desperate circumstances and dramatic turns, with events that had my insides churning with all sorts of feelings. Everything unfolds in a straightforward, organic manner. But it was uncomfortable and difficult to read about everyone I had come to love in Avalon going through these things, and that’s what made it a more difficult, less (personally) enjoyable read.

It is, without a doubt, the characters that saved Polaris in the end. Remember how I mentioned that I had problems with the characterization in Avalon? Truth be told, it’s very much the same in Polaris. Each character is, yet again, relegated to having one main characteristic that sets them apart from the others. But to be surrounded by so many familiar faces (especially after a reread) was a nice thing, a comforting thing. Ultimately, these familiar faces were the reason I remained invested in the story. Let it be known though: I’m not overly fond of the fact that Arnett writes characters in and out to work conveniently with her storyline.

Of all the characters, Jethro Seagrave is the one readers will get to know a little better in Polaris. It is his struggle for self-control, to be able to make his own choices, that was most fascinating. It’s a concept many readers will be able to relate to – fighting for the freedom to make your own choices – and that aspect is certainly a big part of Jeth’s story. While this definitely lends slightly more complexity to his story, I still felt a little disconnected from Jeth overall.

To sum it up, Polaris fell short of my expectations. The only reason I kept reading it was because of the very tenuous character connection I felt. Honestly, even that wouldn’t be enough motivation for me to ever reread this particular chapter in their story again. It was still nice to find out what happened to Jeth and company in the end, but honestly, I would have felt more positive overall if it had just ended with the open ending of Avalon instead. Perhaps if you read and loved Avalon a lot, then you should definitely give Polaris a shot; otherwise, just stick to reading Proxy and Avalon, both of which were great on my first read and my reread.

3 comments:

  1. I liked this one much better than Avalon. I, too, had trouble with the characters, but thought there was much better development in Polaris. I also enjoyed the action in this one more. To each his own....


    Great thoughts!

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  2. I actually heard the opposite, which I find really interesting! I read Avalon, but haven't found time to pick up Polaris, unfortunately! I did have issues with the pacing of the first book. The characters... I can whole heartedly agree with you on that! I was debating on picking this one up but a lot of people said that it was better than Avalon. I'll probably still end up picking it up though :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's funny because I had a harder time with Avalon, but liked Polaris much better. I agree the the characters are what made the book, though.

    ReplyDelete

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