I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Polaris by Mindee Arnett
Published by Baltzer + Bray, Harper Collins on January 20, 2015
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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 novelAvalon, 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.
Inside the Author’s Head
Welcome to Such a Novel Idea! I have to tell you I really loved Avalon and have looked forward to its sequel since I finished. Can you first tell readers where the idea came from for Polaris?
Ah!!! So nice to hear you enjoyed Avalon. Polaris is an organic outgrowth from Avalon. Does that make sense? The events in the book are completely set up and dependent on where Avalon left off. I’m very much more of a pantser than a planner, which means when I’m writing a sequel I take a long hard look at the first book and sort of dig around for the shape and purpose of book two. It’s maybe not the smartest way to write a series, but it’s certainly a lot of fun.
Now, I know from your website that you are a Joss Whedon fan and one of my favorite parts of Avalon was the Firefly-esque feel it had to it. Beyond that, what kind of research did you have to do to prepare yourself to write the book? What is the strangest thing you found yourself Googling for the book?
Hooray! Browncoats unite. Yes, I adore Joss Whedon right down to his insistence on killing off my favorite characters. For research, I explored everything from the concepts of dimensions in such books as Flatland to real-life use of brain plants. Perhaps the strangest area of research I did concerned coral and the symbiotic relationship they have with these algae-like creatures called zooxanthellae. The zooxanthellae are what give coral its coloring. Coral bleaching occurs when corals expel their zooxanthellee. The significance of this research to the books should be fairly apparent to readers, I hope, but I don’t want to give any spoilers so I won’t say anything more.
How did your studies and experiences in life help shape who you are as a writer?
Such an awesome question, but also so difficult to answer. The truth is everything I’ve studied and experienced comes out in my writing. That makes it very difficult to pin down specifics. But I will say that early in my professional career I worked as a technical writer producing aircraft maintenance manuals for the Air Force. As part of the job we would have to inspect the aircraft in order to verify the information was accurate. A lot of this hands-on time with the aircraft fueled the concept of the spaceships in Avalon. It also helped build my technical vocabulary.
Okay, so I always like to see what authors read. What are five of your favorite books and why?
Oh, this is always such a tough question, and honestly the answer changes. My all time favorite book is definitely the Harry Potter series. That one is a constant. If I could live in any fantasy world, I would definitely choose Hogwarts. But even more than the world, I adore the characters.
Another constant love for me is the Chronicles of the Cheysuli series by Jennifer Roberson. These are the books that made me want to be a writer. I reread them every couple of years or so. I love the way Jennifer writes.
One of my current favorites is The Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m absolutely obsessed with this series. I adore Maggie’s writing, the unconventional shape of the novels, and especially the characters. The Henrietta, Virginia of these books is so utterly real to me that I feel like I could just pack up and move there and find the lost King Glendower myself.
Another favorite are the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books by Laini Taylor. Again, the writing is just gorgeous, like poetry. But Laini is also really, really funny. I spend a lot of time giggling about her characters who are every bit as vivid as her poetic language.
And finally, though this isn’t a “book” I’m going to argue it qualifies because it’s still storytelling—I’m utterly captivated by the podcast Serial. I can’t really explain why. This is just something you have to experience.
Night owl or early bird? How does it help with your writing process?
I’m definitely an early bird. I’m the most productive and motivated in the morning. Unfortunately it doesn’t really help with my writing process since I still work a day job. But if I’m ever able to be a full time writer, you can bet I’ll do most of my drafting in the morning when I’m fresh.
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
Yes, I did know. But unfortunately it took me a very long time to believe that it could actually happen. Honestly, there’s a huge part of me that still waiting for it to happen. You know? Most days I get up and think—this is not my life.
If you could live in one ‘book world’ which one would it be and why?
O0ps, I already answered this one. Spoilers! But I would definitely choose the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Aside from being an author, I think being a teacher at Hogwarts would be pretty much the best job ever. You get to live in a castle. There’s magic happening everywhere. You have summers off. But really Harry Potter has the best of all things—you get magic and a kind of fantasy world existence, but there are still modern day conveniences like toilets and vaccinations. That works for me.
And finally, what other projects, if any, are you working on?
I have two projects in the work. One is a high fantasy and another is my next sci-fi. The sci-fi is post-apocalyptic and deals with a world where every person alive is the carrier of a deadly virus. I don’t really want to say more in case it doesn’t come together. Oh, and I’m in the very early planning stages of a spin-off novel of Polaris.
Thank you so much for stopping by Such a Novel Idea!
Thanks for having me and for such awesome questions!
One lucky winner will receive a signed set of Avalon and Polaris thanks to Baltzer + Bray. This contest is US Only.
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