Friday, July 19, 2013

CassaStorm by Alex Cavanaugh

I was privileged to receive an ARC of Alex Cavanaugh's CassaStorm (Release date: September 17, 2013, Dancing Lemur Press).

You can read my review of CassaFire (book 2) by clicking on the link.

From Goodreads:
A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

My Take:
Cavanaugh makes world building on the galactic scale look easy. He knows how to build on the conflict from the first two books in the series and raise the stakes even higher. The stakes affect the entire known universe, but Cavanaugh also makes it very personal. Byron is still just as stubborn and private as ever, but he's learned to let those he loves into his mind. In this story he's got two more lessons to learn, and the last one's a doosey!

One of the things I appreciate about Cavanaugh's writing style is the fact you could read any one of the books in this series independently of the other and enjoy a good book. However, I can promise you that if you invest the time to read CassaStar and CassaFire first, the emotional impact and payoff of CassaStorm will be much higher.

I can't say enough about the world building in this series. The science is amazing for two reasons--it's understandable and so ingrained in the world that you just accept and believe every bit of it. The descriptions of the planets, ships, etc make it easy to ground yourself in the Cassan universe without that feeling of drifting untethered in zero G.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3: I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure


  1. Charity, I am so happy you enjoyed this book. Your review means a lot to me. Of course in reading it, I wonder if that's really my book! Just good to know I'm ending the series with a bang.
    Thanks for reading the review copy!

    1. It's funny because I keep thinking about other things that make your book good. Stuff that I want to work on--such as your's is true scifi because if you take out the technology that allows Cassans to connect with their ships to jump then the whole story crumbles. Its not what the story is about, but its an integral part to the world/universe you've created.

  2. Being able read and understand a book is essential. Complicated words don't make your books stylish at all. Just annoying. Alex is a great writer.

  3. to-read. :) Thanks for the review! Alex's books should be on everyone's list it sounds like.

  4. Honestly, a book like this wouldn't normally interest me, except I'm always willing to read books that I can learn how to world build from, so I'm going to have to consider this one!

    1. If you only read one of the three in this series, I'd suggest the middle one CassaFire. Especially if military scifi isn't your usual thing. There is plenty of other things going on to grab your interest and you still get the wonderful world building.

    2. The reason I say that is because CassaStorm loses a lot of impact if you don't read at least CassaFire. I started with the second book and then went back and read the first one. :) That's how much I liked CassaFire.

  5. Hi Charity - I love what you've written re Alex' books .. and I'd agree - I've never read Sci Fi before .. but Cassa Star - the first one I loved, and I have Cassa Fire to read .. then I look forward to reading Cassa Storm .. as you've suggested and I can believe I'll thoroughly enjoy the last two ..

    Cheers - and I'm so pleased for Alex .. Hilary

  6. Oh, very nice review! Congrats, Alex! And I love when the science is clear and understandable. It is one of my Sci-Fi MUSTS because I just don't have the background for books that assume I have some giant knowledge base.


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