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(CassaStar #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  94 reviews
From the Amazon Best Selling author -

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.

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Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Published (first published October 2010)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  411 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I saw that this book was pretty well reviewed on here so I decided to check it out, since I'm always on the lookout for some new sci-fi.

I read almost exactly halfway through before I decided I didn't want to continue, so bear that in mind when reading this review.

If I had to describe the novel in a single word I would go with "hollow". It felt more like reading an outline than a fully flushed out story.

The characters were one-dimensional, boring, and completely unrelatable. For instance, Byron,
Oct 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, arc-review
I'm really glad Alex J. Cavanaugh contacted me to review his book, CassaStar.

This was a fun tale of friendship and overcoming the odds that I flew through pretty fast. With this in mind, it wasn't a perfect book and that's why this review will be divided into The Good and The Bad. Very creative I know.

The Good

At first I was really annoyed with the main character, Byron and he, in turn, is annoyed at almost everyone he meets. Byron gives off a surly attitude mixed with a cockiness, which quickly
Barbara Brien
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked this story, the characters, the world, the technology, the ships; pretty much everything. At some points, I felt the motivation behind Byron's and Cassa's actions was not shown adequately, or was not really adequate. However, it is possible that a longer story would have been able to show the motivation better.

My main issue with this book was that, at the beginning at least, the writing seemed... stilted. A few times I felt the author explained instead of illustrated. Byron's feelings, h
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
CassaStar (Dancing Lemur Press 2013), 1st in the Cassa series, is the enrapturing story of Byron, a young boy with a storied past, whose life started with losing his parents at a young age. He was headed down a bad path until he discovered he wanted to become a Cosbolt pilot and fly one of the most powerful military warships of his time. He earns acceptance into the elite school to prepare for this goal and does well though not without challenging the norms. Part of the reason he succeeds is a s ...more
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads, my-books
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
Andrew Leon
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, let's look at the technicals first:
This is easily one of the best edited small or independently published books I've seen. In the top 3, for sure. I wouldn't know more specifically than that without going through those three books and actually counting up the errors, and I'm not going to spend the time doing that. Although there are a few more toward the end than in the beginning, except for one consistent misspelling of a word by substituting in a homophone for it, all of the mistakes
Nancy Thompson
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a little intimidated by this book, mostly because I don’t read sci-fi. Like ever. But I’d heard many good things about it, even from readers like me who don’t know the genre, so I thought I’d give it a try, knowing full well that I put down far more books than I keep reading. I was wary though, made so by a couple other reviews. I guess I went in expecting, maybe even looking for those “flaws,” for lack of a better word. But what I found was something completely different from what I expec ...more
Stephanie Lorée
(No Spoilers) Part space opera, part adventure, and applicable to both young adult and adult readers, CassaStar is the thrilling debut novel by Alex J. Cavanaugh, science fiction writer and blogger.

Alex has a simple writing style with good flow. I found myself quickly caught up in his prose. CassaStar is written in multiple PoV, limited to the two main characters of Byron and Bassa. Byron is an arrogant, insecure fighter pilot trainee, and Bassa is an experienced instructor with a stern disposit
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex J. Cavanaugh’s CASSASTAR is a moving portrayal of sacrifice and friendship set in outer space.

Bassa, a senior officer on Guaard, waited for a chance to train a pilot like Byron, an arrogant but highly skilled pilot from the planet Cassa. While Bassa keeps an eye on Byron’s safety, Byron does everything he can to prove he’s the best damn pilot in the fleet. With war on the horizon, both men know they have to do their best. But when Byron’s secret leads Bassa and him to a new ship, they must
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t read much science fiction. I read memoir, romance, commercial women’s fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, the list could go on, but, well, not much sci/fi. Not my thing, whatever a “thing” is. But I really liked CassaStar.

Cavanaugh creates a fully developed world with believable characters. You take our world and plop it down in the midst of a war where fighter pilots and their navigators go up against the baddest Star Trek soldiers and you got CassaStar. But it’s not all fighting. Br
Clarissa Draper
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
My Thoughts: It wasn't what I expected. Not that it was bad. In fact, I loved it.

Here's what I expected - Dune. Here's what I got - Star Wars. And I love Star Wars! I haven't read Dune so... maybe it's Dune-like as well.

Why do I like Star Wars? Not for the Klingons...oh wait, I mean Wookies, but because of the relationships. I wanted Luke Skywalker to get his training from funny-speaking-Yoda. I wanted Leah and Hans Solo to get together. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! And, I think those little Ewoks are so c
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple yet enjoyable story.

I appreciated the honest portrayal of the MC Byron, as a rebellious and cocky but gifted young man, who travels on a physical and emotional journey. We read about the difficulty he has trusting others and dealing with authority, as he tries to realise his dream of becoming a Cosbolt pilot. With the help of his mentor, Bassa, he faces and overcomes many challenges. The story also focuses on the human relationship factor and the friendship between Byron and Bassa.Thei
Terri Rochenski
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start by saying that I LOVE Sci-fi movies. Not sure I actually ever read a Sci-fi book, though. I've been wanting to read this series, so when I won this in a giveaway I was THRILLED.

For those of you who don't know, AJC is an awesome blogger & faithful follower. I *heart* him.


World building, characters who snag your empathy, a great plot, and tension - inner & external galore, make for one heck of a book.

Even if you're not into Sci-fi, this engaging story won't let you go. Can't w
Juneta Key
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun adventure. I listened to the audible version too and so enjoyed it. I felt like I was there watching a movie. I also read the ebook. It is about friendship, competitiveness and having to move past that to a deeper friendship in a turbulent universe where war beckons on the horizon. There is some repetitiveness, the pace is great but the story keeps you reading and is well worth the read or listen. I definitely recommend the read to anyone that enjoys sci-fi with character development along w ...more
Tasha Seegmiller
Dec 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first science fiction I've read in a long time, and I really enjoyed it. The wording threw me a little at the beginning, with the sentence structure bring different from what I am used to reading, but it was consistent throughout and I quickly adapted to it. The characters are unique, as is the setting, but not so much that it is inaccessible to people who don't just read this genre. Fun read, interested to see where Cavanaugh goes with the second one. ...more
Christine Rains
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic science-fiction tale of a talented young pilot determined to be the best. Byron is stubborn and rebellious, but an older officer Bassa sees through that tough exterior and offers to help him. Alex J. Cavanaugh's writing is sharp and fast-paced. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat with intense drama and gripping action. What impressed me most is how wonderfully vivid the fight scenes are. They come to life on the movie screen of my mind. ...more
T.B. Markinson
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I haven’t read too many space operas and I had heard good things about this one. The book didn’t disappoint. Not only was the action good, but I enjoyed the characters and watching them grow. The friendship between Byron and Bassa was intriguing. The world building is subtle and the writing is effortless. I do wish we learned more about the enemy and why they were at war. Other than that, I enjoyed this novel.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(No Spoilers Here) I read this book in two sittings. I appreciate Mr. Cavanaugh's ability to give you enough detail to get a vivid picture as to what's happening, yet pull back the reins a little to make room for your imagination to open up. Reminds me of Orson Scott Card's style. The beginning actually reminds me a little bit of Ender's Game, where the protagonist is a gifted young warrior. But that's where the similarities end. Cavanaugh did a great job with characterization and making the mai ...more
Elena Alvarez Dosil
My original CassaStar audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Byron is a stubborn young man whose only choice in life, for some unknown reason, is becoming a Cosbolt fighter pilot. He enlists to train at the moon base of Guaard, where he will meet Bassa, one of the most strict and renowned instructors. Cassans have a special way of mental communication, along with some special mental abilities, in which Byron excels. Byron will meet some difficulties due to his diffic
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great read!

Byron is a young, arrogant, and troubled young Cassan man who has issues with authority. He is sent to Guaard for Cosbolt fighter pilot training with a young man named Tindel as his navigator.

It seems to Byron that nothing his team does is good enough for his Senior Officer Bassa, though he and Tindel score remarkably well on their training missions. Some of his maneuvers are seen as reckless, but he and his navigator always come away unscathed. His special 'gift' plays a part
Toi Thomas
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, sci-fi, fantasy
This book is not what I expected it to be at all and I loved it. The words “Space Opera” are suitable to describe this but there’s something else in this story that goes beyond sci-fi, fantasy, and space war.

CassaStar tells the story of a young Cassian named Byron who is talented and troubled. All he wants is a chance to escape Cassa and become a fighter pilot so that his life can have some meaning. His only problem is that, when compared to everyone around him, he has a bad and arrogant attitu
Lynda Dietz
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book of the Cassa series has my attention. I enjoyed getting to know the main character, Byron, and kind of liked the fact that his growth didn't come too easily.

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 stude
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
Cassastar is the Freshman effort of author Alex Cavanaugh. Full disclosure: I read Alex's Blog and enjoy it, he also has been known to visit my blog. I was actually leary of reading the book as I didn't want to not like it. I mean, I read his blog and while Cavanaugh can be entertaining in short bursts, I didn't know if he could carry it over to long form. I was worried for nothing it seems.

Cassastar follows youn Byron through flight school and his first assignment as he learns to fly star figh
Moonlight Gleam
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Far away in a distant galaxy, one can find a planet known as Cassa. Human like Cassans inhabit this planet, and among them there is a man named Byron. Byron is determined to become a fighter pilot, a Cosbolt, more than anything. His wish is granted by a man named Bassa, a former fighter ship navigator and now lead instructor in the training facility on the dark moon Guaard where Cosbolts teleport from. Byron soon embarks on a mission to end the oncoming war between the Cassans and an alien race, ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You might think a story without a murder mystery, any romance, or even strong graphic violence would be rather stale, but that’s not the case if it’s written by bestselling author Alex J. Cavanaugh. Add to that the narration by Michael Burnette and you’re in for an awesome listening experience.
CassaStar is an entertaining and intriguing story that takes listeners/readers to new planets, presents new technology, and introduces well-developed mesmerizing characters. If you’re a Star Trek and/or St
Michael Pierce
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alex J. Cavanaugh wrote a sci-fi novel that will appeal to more than sci-fi readers. CassaStar is a character driven story delivered to the reader through a sci-fi universe. It is not bogged down with the world building detail that sci-fi and fantasy books typically have, but paints enough of a picture and lets the reader fill in the rest. Alex has written a streamlined story that propels the plot forward at an enjoyable pace from beginning to end.

CassaStar primarily focuses on the relationship
Susan Roebuck
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was well outside my comfort-zone when I bought this book because I never read sci-fi. I bought it because Alex Cavanaugh is such a friend and helper to other authors. So I began CassaStar with some trepidation.
How lovely to discover that my fears were unfounded. I was immersed in the story and characters right from page one.
I’m obviously no expert on the genre but, for me, the themes that ran through this were on relationships – not sexual, by the way, interaction with others, and the rights o
Beverly McClure
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imagine flying through the air, zeroing in on your target. The pilot of the other craft also has you in his sights. The tension builds. You fire. The opponent fires. What happens next? If you enjoy space stories, action, and unforgettable characters, take a look at CassaStar by Author Alex J. Cavanaugh.

The characters are what draw me to a story. In CassaStar, we meet Byron, a young pilot with an attitude. Byron is an excellent pilot, better than most, but his life has left him with wounds that d
Allison Alexander
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CassaStar is fast-paced and character driven. Its strength is not its explanations of high-tech gadgetry or world building (though I did enjoy the mental communication and the jumping techniques of the Cosbolts), but in the characters. Byron is withdrawn and cynical, yet somehow he is enjoyable to read about--perhaps because he seems so real. Bassa is older, wiser, and I found him more likeable than Byron at first. His persistence in befriending Byron is the heart of the story.

This is a good boo
Barbara Jean Byrem
CassaStar or Top Gun meets Star Wars in only the very best ways.

I started out reading this book thinking; OK, I ’ll keep an open mind. Space Opera/Intergalactic War/Male Bonding, not exactly my thing, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. It turns out good writing is, well, good writing.

In no time at all I was invested, involved, and interested in these two guys. Their characters are vibrant with very real emotions, pasts and intersecting futures. I was engaged in the process of their lives an
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I'm a science fiction writer on a journey of discovery...
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and work in web design, graphics and technical editing. I'm also the guitarist in a Christian rock band. A fan of all things science fiction, my interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online I'm the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I'm the author of the

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CassaStar (3 books)
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