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Cassastar Paperback – October 19, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Cavanaugh's maiden space flight tells a familiar story. Byron lost his parents at an early age. Abandoned by his older sister to a group home, he rebels against authority and refuses to let anyone get close to him. Like many young men with troubled histories, he joins the military to have a better life and enters training to become one of the elite Cosbolt fighters. This goal requires Byron to drop his defenses and telepathically bond with a navigator so he can use his ship's teleportation device to jump from point to point in space. In the process, he discovers some unusual abilities. This formulaic space opera aspires to be a bildungsroman for its petulant hero, but it confuses the archetypal with the clichéd.
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"...calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein's early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars." - Library Journal
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Byron has piloting skills and good instincts, but isn't nearly as strong in his people skills. Even as part of a race whose people communicate telepathically, he rarely shares himself with others, and this hesitation doesn't do him any favors when it comes to working with people—or being liked by his fellow flight school students (and then fellow pilots).
I had a few questions I'd like to see answered, though, and I'm hoping they're addressed in the second and third books, since I do plan on continuing the series. For example, who are the Vindicarns? There is no physical description of them, so I have a vague humanoid impression of them. But why are they at war with the Cassians? Are they seeking to increase their territory? Was something done to offend them? Are they fighting over trade routes?
Also, we know nothing of the Cassian society other than they're telepaths. Is their world military?
Space-oriented? Agricultural? Are they overflowing with fine arts, or are they spartan in nature, sterile and functional? We aren't told why Byron feels his only choice is to become Cosbolt pilot and not explore other careers.
I liked the side characters well enough but would have liked more development of them, since I didn't really get a feel for their "look" or personalities other than how they acted and reacted around Byron.
The only thing I was truly disappointed in was the editing. I had seen some Amazon reviews that mentioned editing issues, but since most of those reviews were from 2010-2015, I assumed the errors had been corrected. I was wrong. I couldn't help but notice numerous missing words, some incorrect verb tense, and a few common errors that were not noticed by the publisher's editor. For a brief time, I was confused because I thought he was on a planet named Sorenthia—because the name was not italicized, I didn't realize it was actually a ship. Each time it and another ship were mentioned, I had to remind myself that it was the name of a spaceship, not a place. The number of editing "misses" in a book of typical novel length was much too high.
That said, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit and CassaFire is next on my list.
Overall, a good start to a series I'm looking forward to reading more of.
In some recent sci-fi I've become lost in the technical aspects, but in Cassa Star the technology and the futuristic concepts of mental contact were clear and integral to the story. That was a major plus for me.
The super charged battle scenes were exciting and visual. The author did a fantastic job of making those future-time fighters and space ships very real. I was particularly pleased that the stakes for each battle increased, so what could have been repetitive became more and more tense.
I'd say that the one issue I had was some phrasing that took me out of the story momentarily. The over use of ", though" and the attributes that called attention to themselves. Outside of that I enjoyed this story and had to read to the end to find out what happened.
Almost from the get go, I was pulled into a story that although started innocently enough, quickly got my attention. Byron was not your so-called typical "bad boy", but a complex person who pointedly craved solitude, but eventually allowed enough cracks to show in his seemingly impregnable character to prove himself almost human (or humanoid, as Alex seem to be deliberately vague as to what the Cassa race was. Normally a bad thing, but in this instance, worked very well).
The steady pacing, coupled with the extremely tight prose, allowed for the story to build to an intense crescendo of dynamic proportions. The action scenes, while definitely not over the top that some sci-fi books fall victim to, keeps the reader thoroughly involved. The intensity of the non-action scenes kept me hooked all the way through and the closer to the end I got, the stronger my emotions became.
This book had me hooked and it took me about 2 1/2 days to read it from cover. It's a rare work of fiction that hooks me to the point where it takes me less than three days to read, but this one did. Beyond a doubt, this was one of the best series debuts I've ever read. More importantly though, this book got a rare five star rating out of me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the others in this series.
Most recent customer reviews
Byron is a stubborn young man whose only choice in life, for some unknown reason, is becoming a Cosbolt...Read more
I appreciated the honest portrayal of the MC Byron, as a rebellious and cocky but gifted young man, who travels on a physical and...Read more