This is the first time that you can get the whole CASSA series in one volume.
I read and reviewed all three books
CassaStaR This is a book about friendsThis is the first time that you can get the whole CASSA series in one volume.
I read and reviewed all three books
CassaStaR This is a book about friendship set in science fiction world including space battles. It contains some unexpected turns and is well done for a debut novel.
UPDATE 2011-11-10: Full review including pics and links is available over at Edi's Book Lighthouse.
And this is the text only version:
Today I have the pleasure to present you the review of a science fiction debut novel. CassaStaR (October 19th,2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0981621067] by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Thanks to Dancing Lemur Press for sending me an unproofed review copy. The review is based on this review. Click here in case you want to read the official blurb.
Somewhere and sometime in a future galaxy. The planet Cassa is inhabited by the human like Cassans. One of them is young Byron who wants to be a Cosbolt (= two seat fighter) pilot. Together with his comrade Trindel who is a navigator he takes part in the training in the facility located on the dark moon Guaard. Former fighter ship navigator Bassa is the lead instructor on Guaard. An interstellar war is going on and an adequate supply with fully trained Cosbolt crews is mandatory for an successful end of the war. CassaStaR is the story of Byron, Trindel, Bassa and a lot more unknown men. It is the story of their inner wars and their role in the outer war and how these wars influence their lives.
Let me start with some facts: - It is a debut novel - It is a stand alone novel - It stands for 242 pages (in this case the unproofed review copy)
242 pages is quite short compared to the books I read normally. Of course the number of pages does not tell anything about the content. But it is a limit.
I'm a member of Goodreads and I'm used to add a short impression in the review section for every book I read. And that is what I wrote about CassaStaR :
"This is a book about friendship set in science fiction world including space battles. It contains some unexpected turns and is well done for a debut novel." [Source]
CassaStaR is definitely a character driven story. Therefore you need strong characters. Meet the talented young Byron. As good as he is with machines as bad is his interaction with other people. He acts and appears like someone you would like instantly throw out of the window. I took some time to look behind his off-putting behaviour. And I think it would have been worse without his comrade Trindel who is an talented navigator. Don't underestimate the role of Trindel. The obvious counterpart to Byron is the experienced navigator and lead instructor Bassa. He is a trustworthy officer who still fights with events from his past.
The writing style is clear without any ornateness which fits perfectly to the straight forward storytelling. The pace varies and is always adapted to the situation.
The whole story is told from mainly Bassa's and Byron's PoV and partially from Trindel's PoV. Step by step Alex J. Cvanaugh unveils the past of Bassa and Byron which has an impact of thei nowadays life. Embedded in the daily training the relationship between Byron and Bassa changes. First part of the story ends with a for me unexpected event. An event which influence the rest of the story a lot. One can say without this event the story would have continued in a completely other direction. Until the end there are two more important events. the time between the events is filled at first with simulated battles and later on with real battles which are intervowen with the character development. The end of the story delivers a not unexpected conclusion which gives enough room for further development. I hope I don't tell you a secret that the author is thinking about a sequel. I found it mentionable that there are nearly no women in CassaStaR. Maybe they would have disturbed the relationship between the main characters.
As I told before, for me CassaStaR is a story about friendship in a science fiction world. And of course we have to talk about the world-building. I would compare the world-building with a stage. In a theatre you can see the whole stage but due to illumination not every detail (volitional or not). It is the same with the world of CassaStaR. One could say it is sparse. You get a minimum of information like a spotlight in the dark. Of course I would have appreciated to get to know more information about Cassa, Guaard and other planets, about the spaceships and especially about the enemy - an alien race called Vindicarns. But when I look at the real heart of CassaStaR - the friendship between two really different people - then I must admit it is not absolutely necessary. But it would have been the cherry on the cake.
Conclusion: For me CassaStaR is a well executed, character driven, easy to follow debut novel about friendship, I mean real friendship, set in space including battles.
I look forward to the next Alex J. Cavanaugh story - the groundwork is done and now I wait for the cherry ....
From October 19th 2010 on you can purchase your copy of CassaStaR at amazon.de, amazon.uk, bookdepository, amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Powell's. The book is also available as an ebook for Kindle, IBookstore, Nook and others.
And there is only one thing which is worth to end this post: The awesome CassaStaR book trailer
CassaFirE Before you ask why I own a copy of a book which will be published next year let me tell you that I received a review copy.
Finally I gave five stars. My full review will be up in calendar week 51. hen I will explain my rating in detail.
I think all has been said with the conclusion I wrote for CassaStaR. But that does not mean I expected a celestial novel. I want to see character development and a new part of the Cassa universe If you do not know CassaStaR - it would be a great Christmas gift - let me tell you, that CassaStaR and CassaFirE have much more in common with Star Trek than with Starship Troopers.
This is a book of inner and outer journeys, of inner and outer adventures, mysteries and revelations. It is also a book of friendship, relationship and equality. And last but not least it could be easily part of Byron's biography because All is connected and related to Byron, the Cosbolt fighter hero of the Vindicarn war twenty years ago.
I admit that sounds a bit sophisticated. But Alex J. Cavanaugh delivers a lot which you may not discover at first sight.
It is amazing to follow the mirroring themes inside of Byron and the world around him. Let me give you an example. Any progress with the decipher of the alien language goes along with the revelation of an inner thought of Byron. And Alex J. Cavanaugh does it in a light footed manner. You do not march through the book. You follow Byron and the other characters like a swallow which is the merit of the author's writing style.
The plot looks simple. Alien ruins on a distant planet inhabited by another civilization. An exploration vessel full of scientists who are keen to unlock every secret. But there are pirates and aliens and there are characters with their own agenda. Alex J. Cavanaugh combines these elements to a story with meaning and depth.
CassaFirE is a character story which mirrors in the outer events. Of course it is possible to read CassaFirE without knowing CassaStaR. BUT you will miss an important part of Byron's development. There are no doubts that is a character driven book. Byron, Athee and Mevine are like a magic triangle. For most part of the book I was not really sure in which way the relationship between these three characters would develop. It was like the author was twinkling behind the words. It is absolutely necessary to mention that women play an important part. CassaStaR showed a world without women. with the introduction of the talented Athee, a Tgren woman Alex J. Cavanaugh did somehing very clever. Because Athee is not only a member of another civilization. She is at the same time a mystery like the alien ruins detected on the planet and to top that she tend to be a thorn in the flesh of Cassan society. Athee is young, emotional, intelligent, thirsty for knowledge and on several levels a challenge for Byron. Of course there are more characters either on the planet of Tgren and on board the exploration vessel Rennather. But to tell more about them would give away too much of the story.
For me CassaFirE is definitely the cherry I expected. Great characters who are far beyond to be over the top. A main character who develop in depth. The great idea with mirroring themes. the well dosed mixed of action and dialogue. Science which does not overstrain the reader. Mysterious aliens who deny to reveal their identity. A book in best Star Trek tradition.
CassaStaR is the cake. CassaFirE is the cherry. And CassaXxxX will be the cream on the cherry. There is no way out for you Alex J. Cavanaugh. An author who pampers his readers with excellent books is doomed to write one more. The end of CassaFirE is a clear end. It is that clear that it screams for a third Cassa novel. I'm sure Athee and Mevine will agree.
CassaStorM In my review I will answer the question if CassaStorM is the cream on the cherry on the cake or not.
All of you, who would like to read the extensive, three parted description (the present - characters - setting) please follow THIS LINK.
All of you who have second thoughts to read the third book in a trilogy without knowing the two previous books should drop their doubts.
It is possible to read CassaStorM without knowing CassaStaR and CassaFirE. B U T you will definitely miss a lot regarding character development and you will miss entertaining hours with two excellent books.
Leap in time Twenty years after the events described in CassaFirE Byron is still on planet Tgren. He is now the Commander of the Cassan Base. Also his private life changed a lot. Byron and his beloved wife Athee are the proud parents of ten years old Bassan. The whole story is told from the point of views from these characters. If you meet them for the first time, you should know that they use an additional form of communication: telepathy.
Wheels There are two wheels set into motion. The first one is the declaration of war between the ten known races of the galaxy whereas the Tegren try to be neutral at all cost. The second one is the signal sent by the alien ship on Tgren in the same direction as twenty years ago. People are afraid that the mysterious and powerful probe will return ......
Thoughts Welcome back Byron. After twenty years you are still the character we know from CassaFirE. You are still the honest, stubborn, undiplomatic, trustworthy and loyal officer. Even it seems that the time with your beloved wife Athee softened you little bit. Your son Bassan is proud of you. Did you spend enough time with him? No time to think about it because it comes thick and fast - not only for Byron, the linchpin of the trilogy.
There are many, many relationships within the story. The more I think about them the more I discover. I'm not sure if I discovered them all. For me these relationships are like invisible elastics who keep the story together.
There is the most obvious triangle Byron, Athee and Bassan. At first sight they are just a family. A father, a mother and a son. But at the same time Byron and Athee are lovers, parents, working team mates, example for the mix of races and more. Bassan is a half-breed, the son of the commander, mother's darling and more.
The events are mentally and physically exhausting for all three. The war demands Byron's full concentration and "rob" the time he needs for his son and his wife. Athee support Byron at work as liaison officer to calm down unreasonable politicians and at home as the "anchor" of the family. And Bassan does what most young boys do. Discover the world and touch things you should not touch .... As a half-breed he has to cope challenges which should have disappeared in future ... The description of the impact of outer events on the inner events (actions and emotions) of the Byron family and vice versa is one of the highlights of CassaStorM. And it gets really intense due to the use of telepathy which means you follow the thoughts and communcation of the characters directly! A reader can't be more nearer to a character as in such moments.
The story of young Bassan is a kind a coming of age story within the story. But that does not mean it is separate, it is quite the contrary.
The characters put a heavy stamp on the story. Nevertheless the author delivers more. With the mystery of the alien ship transmission a strong plot driven element is added to the story. At this point science plays an important role and readers of CassaFirE will meet again Mevine who is now the leading science officer. By interweaving character driven and plot driven elements raise to a new height.
Let me assure you that there are more characters which play important roles in the events described in CassaStorM.
A final book in a trilogy should deliver the answers to the open questions from all books. I promise you that you will not leave CassaStorM with unanswered questions. That leads me to one of the many highlights of the book: The final revelation
I admit that the final revelation has been a big surprise to me and is a more than worthy end of the book and the trilogy.
Cream or not Now the time has come to answer the question from the beginning. YES, for me CassaStorM is the cream on the cherry CassaFirE on the cake CassaStaR, which I hoped to get, the readers deserved to get.
Congratulations Alex J. Cavanaugh. You crossed the high like the Himalaya hurdle to deliver a worthy end of your trilogy and excelled yourself.
CassaStorM is the entertaining manifesto for trust, tolerance, respect, solidarity and love beyond space and time. CassaStorM is a magnificent end of the Cassa trilogy, fat free for the body but rich in mental calories for the brain. CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerising space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery. CassaStorM is the incredible end of a most entertaining trilogy packed with action, emotion, politics, science and mystery which does not leave you with unanswered questions
Edi: On October 14th 2010 I wrote "Dear Alex J. Cavanaugh , I hope and wish all your effort will be crowned with success because I want to read more novels written by you." Three years later your third book is released today. So my wish has come true. Did you ever expect what happened within the past three years?
Alex: ....... Not in my wildest dreams! I really thought I only had that one book in me. I didn’t even want to be an author, let alone the author of a trilogy. The past three years have been incredible though. Two Amazon Best Sellers – whoa! But more than that have been the friends I’ve made over the years. I never would’ve even started blogging had it not been for that first book. (And my publisher’s insistence that I get my butt online.) It’s all been worth it though.
Edi: I remember that you wanted to write one book. Today your third book is available which is the conclusion of the Cassa series. Beyond all the joy and happiness there is one question running around my brain like car at the Daytona 500: Do you have more stories to tell and do you want to tell more stories?
Alex:........ That is a loaded question. Do I have another story I could tell? Yes. Will I write it? I don’t know. Music has always been a part of my life and I strayed from it for so long – now that I am playing guitar and in a band, it seems so natural. It’s where I am supposed to be. Is there room for writing? That I don’t know. I hate to disappoint anyone, but I can’t give a clear answer right now.
Edi: I can't imagine how much time you spent for CassaStorM and the preparation for the blog tour and, and, and. Do you still know how your wife looks like? I hope and wish you do something good for the both of you after the end of the blog tour. The Ninja Army will understand when you take a few days off .....
Alex: ........ My wife is beautiful – I will never forget what she looks like! The blog tour runs into November and then yes, we are taking a vacation. She deserves that and more. There had been a lot of time spent in front of my computer working on the tour, last minute revisions, etc.
And I would like to thank you, Edi. You were one of those who encouraged me to continue this journey. I wrote CassaFire and CassaStorm for you. I’m glad you enjoyed the ride!
Alex, I feel deeply touched by your words. Instead of the thousand words circling in my brain, I just say THANK YOU! ...more
Full review in progress and will be ready within the next days.
Attention: Please read the book description BEFORE the review because I doI loved it!!
Full review in progress and will be ready within the next days.
Attention: Please read the book description BEFORE the review because I do not tell the description in my own words. Full review as posted on Edi's Book Lighthouse
The 323 pages of the book are divided into four named parts which are subdivided into 70 consecutively numbered chapters. The four parts are enveloped by an epilogue and background information. The story is told from third person point-of-view.
With such an excellent book description it is not necessary to repeat it with my own words. But is important to talk about characters.The three main characters have been introduced in the description.
LANGSFORD is a Lord and his first name is not mentioned once in the whole book. He spent time in school with HEINRICH who is the the second son of the patriarch and German Reichsgraf (Count of the Empire) Dieffenbacher. While in England a lot of people call him Henry instead of Heinrich. Finally there is young ANNA Boardman who is working as a shop girl. Her parents died of typhoid when she was a child The parents of her childhood friend Charlotte whose aunt and uncle had taken her after the sad event.
Beside that a lot more people come into play. Their descriptions vary on their importance for the story. None of these characters appear one dimensional. Furthermore they all use language in a style that fits perfectly to their social rank. Combined with the detailed description of clothing, habits and actions it is one of the ingredients which make it one of the ingredients which let 1884 No Boundaries shine as a star in the historical fiction heaven.
Language is really important and I admired that part of the books are presented bilingual which means English AND German. It makes really sense as one of the main characters is German and part of the story takes place in Prussia and other parts of Germany. As a reader with English as first language you do not need to worry. Every word has been translated. My first language is German and I can assure your that the use of German language has been done without faults. That is not a matter of course which I know from other books.
The depiction of the scenery and locations from a pub in London over the different cabins in German trains to a hamlet in Prussia is excellent and it is the perfect "drug" to blossom the world of 1884 No Boundaries in your imagination.
Are there boundaries for love? The answer is stated in the title: 1884 No Boundaries And this answer is also valid for the areas stated in the sub title: A STORY OF ESPIONAGE, AND INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE
It is Heinrich Dieffenbacher who set the story in motion with his crossing of social etiquette. It was outrageous in Victorian Era to talk to a woman about love without knowing her and without following the rules of courtship. It was a scandal to do that as an aristocrat and furthermore to disobey the social rank! at this point the story could have ended as one of the many social dramas. But that was not the intention of the author. Remember the title: 1884 No Boundaries
It is this disobeying of social boundaries which is the read thread, the leading theme of the whole book. You would not believe me if I would enumerate all the boundaries which have been crossed until the end of 1884 No Boundaries. I admit that Heinrich Dieffenbacher has an exquisite talent to be at the wrong place, to be at the wrong time and taking the wrong action. What do you expect from a young man in love, with a determined future in front and who is wholehearted and cooperative? A young man who has just one aim - to marry the woman he loves.
Fortunately is such a lovable character who can count on his friends and especially on Lord Langsford. Langsford appreciate Heinrich a lot and he supports him with all his power, influence and intelligence from the bottom of his heart.
It is Heinrich's talent to be at the wrong place that set another story into motion which involves terrorism, colonial policy, social unrest and creation of political awareness. The criss crossing of the different story lines drive the plot along and culminates in explosions on several levels physically and emotionally.
So far we have a fantastic story set in the year 1884 which demonstrate what it meant and would could happen if you crossed boundaries on every level in life.
But that is not all. It is unavoidable and a must to talk to talk about two pages with the heading BACKGROUND: 1884 NO Boundaries Let me quote a few but impressive words:
"The history is real - [...]. Many people of the people in the tale are also real. [...] Henry and Anna are based on real individuals [...]"
Beside that several events did really take part like the Congo Conference in Berlin 1884-85. Not to forget the accuracy when it comes to inventions like dynamite, the method of transportation of goods and people, the political development and social etiquette.
I don't know what to expect more from a historical fiction book. It is such an excellent reflection of society and the times presented in a most entertaining way. It is satisfying and it is demanding to get more information about the world in 1884.
1884 No Boundaries is one of the best historical fiction books I read in 2015.
I was more than happy when I discovered that there will be more books starring Lord Langsford.
Additional Information Site: A. E. Wasserman Twitter: twitter.com\aewasserman
Before I share some thoughts about this book I want you to take the following warning given in the description seriously:
Warning: This book is not forBefore I share some thoughts about this book I want you to take the following warning given in the description seriously:
Warning: This book is not for the faint of heart. Do not buy if you abhor violence, intense language, and non-explicit sex.
This was a tough but excellent read. The main character Micka is a young girl but not in her world which differs a lot from ours. This dystopian novel delivers a plausible explanation for the great catastrophe which happened in form of a great pandemic which wiped out most of the Earth's population. Survival is a day to day fight. Micka is a real fascinating character and far beyond to be lovely and pretty girl. In fact she has a lot of problems and it would take for to long to explain the complexity of her character. Fortunately she is intelligent enough to take the one and only opportunity to lead her life in an other direction.
If you like a strong and tough dystopian novel with a believable background then you should try "1/2986"
Book two is available and book three will follow soon.
This is the second short story starring the Regency Detective Stephen Lavander and his sidekick Constable Woods.
This is a lovely short story to escapeThis is the second short story starring the Regency Detective Stephen Lavander and his sidekick Constable Woods.
This is a lovely short story to escape for an afternoon into a world without high tech and stress. It is impressive how Karen Charlton integrate real persons and events in the story. Regency London, police procedurals of the time and how to cope with daily life comes a alive in this entertaining story. Do not forget to read the quite informative Author's Note at the end of the book. I did not know anything about the crime of "snuffing" before.
I really like the duo Lavender and Woods. After enjoying the available two short stories which give a good impression of the main characters and the author's writing style, the time has come to dive in the first full story delivered with The Heiress of Linn Hagh.
Not to forget that the Detective Lavender Mysteries series will continue in October 2015 with the second book The Sans Pareil Mystery