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CassaStar #3


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From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

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…

268 pages, Paperback

First published September 16, 2013

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About the author

Alex J. Cavanaugh

14 books285 followers
I'm a science fiction writer on a journey of discovery...
I 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 Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for Lynda Young.
Author 4 books29 followers
June 10, 2013
4.5 stars

Set 20 years after the events of CassaFire, CassaStorm is aptly named with the story opening with war encroaching on Byron's peace. Byron is now commanding the Cassan base on Tgen.

Cavanaugh's space operas are first and foremost about the characters and this gives his stories realism, relatability and heart. CassaStorm is no different, despite the ambitious plot including war between ten races across the galaxy.

The book is seen through three different points of view. The first is, of course, Byron. He's still the Bryon we remember from the previous books, though slightly softened by age and experience. He's exceptionally good at what he does--a skilled pilot, a valuable asset, a loyal friend. And this three book journey with him has been truly brilliant.

The second point of view is Athee's, Bryon's mate. The relationship Byron has with her is a great one. She's a strong woman which makes them true equals and I was pleased that, unlike so many sequels, their relationship remained strong over the years. I also loved that Athee's inexperience in battle put me right in her seat on the Cosbolt, heightening the tension, making the read a fabulous experience.

While Athee takes less of a role in this book, a new character is introduced: Byron's son, the third point of view. I'm always a bit wary of new characters, but Bassan is wonderful. He isn't a carbon copy of his father. Instead he has his own mind and his own interests. I was immediately drawn into the story through his eyes with his youthful enthusiasm. Bassan makes a good foil against Byron's quiet stoicism.

Cavanaugh has created wonderfully moving moments of great poignancy--the weariness and cost of battle, the pull between duty and family, and even the intimacy that comes with the sharing minds. He portrays an amazing sensitivity and at the same time he's able to make me laugh from little captured moments that shine like gems.

CassaStorm could have been a dark story full of hardship and angst, but instead it's a cleverly balanced story about hope and triumph. The action sequences are pacey and kept my heart pumping and there's an unexpected surprise at the end. A really satisfying read and a great conclusion to the series.

(I was given an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review)
Profile Image for Andrew Leon.
Author 63 books44 followers
June 7, 2015
The first and most obvious thing to be said about CassaStorm is that it's an obvious effort by the author, Alex Cavanaugh, to expand the universe he established in the previous two books. We find out that Tgren does, indeed, have more than one city on it and even get a peek at the other races only hinted at previously. And the end provides an explanation for some of the things that haven't made the most sense in the series overall, like the significantly low populations of the races.

There are ways the explanation creates more questions, but that's okay. Leaving questions unanswered is not something I necessarily have a problem with.

'Storm also rounds out the relationship progression of the other two books. 'Star deals with friendship, 'Fire deals with romance, and 'Storm deals with parenthood. As with the other two books, Byron has to figure out how it's supposed to work. The only issue with this idea in 'Storm is how it contrasts to the other two books. Both of the other books deal with Byron and initial meetings (first with Bassa, then with Athee) and 'Storm, in many ways, follows that pattern. The problem is that his son, Bassan, is already 10, and there are parts where it's like Byron has no idea of how to interact with his son in the same way as with someone you are just meeting.

This is both a strength and a weakness in the book, because in actuality Byron doesn't have any idea who his son is. It's clear that he's one of those who father's from a distance, and he is, in fact, learning who his son is. The problem is that there don't seem to be any clearly established patterns in their relationship as is usually the case. Neither the son nor the father ever seem like they know what to expect from the other.

There are a few interesting wrinkles in this book, like the introduction of the Rogue, which I didn't see coming. That's a big positive for me, because most books fall into established patterns making it difficult for me to find books that aren't fairly predictable. Possibly, the biggest issue I had with 'Fire is that I knew what was going to happen throughout the book; nothing was surprising. However, with 'Storm, every time I thought I had what was going to happen figured out, there would be some new wrinkle. It made the book a worthwhile read just to figure out where he was going with the story.

Basically, if you read the previous two books and liked them, you should definitely read this one. I can't see how it could be a disappointment. It's even possible that this book could be read as a stand alone, because any background information needed is provided. Sure, the other two provide a bigger picture, but I don't think they're necessary.

Look, this isn't deep or philosophical. It's pretty straightforward space opera in a Star Trek kind of vein. It deals as much with relationships as it does with space battles, but that serves to strengthen the book in overall sense, not weaken it. Hmm... Still, if you want space battles, CassaStar is probably the book for you if you haven't already read it. Not that there aren't space battles in 'Storm, but it's, ultimately, a different kind of story.
Profile Image for Charity Bradford.
Author 12 books87 followers
July 10, 2013
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.
Profile Image for edifanob.
613 reviews53 followers
September 2, 2015
I have been lucky to get a review copy BEFORE the publishing date.

This is the more than worthy end to the Cassa trilogy with an unexpectred revelation at the end.

My review will be online on 17th of September 2013 which is the official publishing date.

UPDATE 2015-09-02

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.
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.

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 ......

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!
Profile Image for Nancy Thompson.
Author 4 books278 followers
July 2, 2013
Alex J. Cavanaugh’s third installment in the Cassa series soars to new and greater heights, but while it is set in space, the theme is both universal and intimate, that coexistence is essential for survival.

Since I don’t often foray into space opera, it’s hard for me to say how this story compares to others within the genre. What I can say, having read Cavanaugh’s other novels, is that the genre doesn’t really matter. It’s the story that counts, and just like the author’s other works, CassaStorm is packed with the heart and soul any reader of any age would undoubtedly enjoy.

True, they may be of an alien variety, but this novel strikes on one of the most basic principles of life, no matter the species—tolerance—that the synchronization of races, of life experience and civil doctrine, creates a more understanding, harmonious, and peaceful society, one less inclined to teach hatred or suborn suspicion. And that’s pretty much the message CassaStorm imparts.

As the ten races of Byron’s world battle it out among themselves for territory and dominance, they all simultaneously come under threat from a single source, the alien race they believe seeded each of their worlds a thousand years ago. And when it’s determined that they will all either die as separate warring foes or live as a peaceful reunited people, Byron must find a way to demonstrate a shared heritage in order to show that peace is possible among these vastly different races. But when Byron’s young son, Bassan, is revealed to be the sole source of possible unification, Byron has to choose between the safety of his child and the survival of everyone else, even his sworn enemy.

Even with all the action and politics that drive the plot, there’s way more to CassaStorm than this battle between power and trust. It’s equally character-driven as it tells of the deep familial relationship between Byron and his mate, Athee, as they struggle to raise Bassan while living up to their individual duties, hers to her native planet of Tgren and Byron’s as Commander of the Cassan base there. And it delves into the complex bond between a rigid father who was raised without a family to guide him and his son who wants nothing more than to have his stern father be proud of him.

But as complex as these three relationships are, it’s Bassan’s inner struggle with his own mixed Cassan-Tgren heritage that fuses the two parts of CassaStorm together into one cohesive, mesmerizing story of survival, personal sacrifice, tolerance, and compassion. It’s a rare jewel that successfully utilizes both character and plot to tell a story of such immense scope and intimate passion—for peace, happiness, solidarity, and empathy. Well done, Mr. Cavanaugh. Well done!
Profile Image for Natalie Aguirre.
135 reviews89 followers
September 21, 2013
I’ll be honest. I was nervous picking up CASSASTORM to read because I haven’t read an adult book in almost ten years and was worried I don’t like them anymore. And I wasn’t sure I would understand enough of the story since I haven’t read the first two books. I’m happy to say that I was totally engrossed in the story within the first few pages. Alex did a great job bringing the reader up to speed on what’s been happening. And I loved that the story was told from the points of view of Byron, the main character, his wife Athee, and his ten year-old son Bassan. Being a children’s writer and reader, I especially loved the parts written from Bassan’s POV. This was a fast-paced story with high stakes and danger. It was fascinating learning about the planet Byron and his family live on and then seeing more of the universe Alex created. This was a book I couldn’t put down. Even if you haven’t read the rest of the series, I think you’d enjoy reading this.
Profile Image for Louise.
21 reviews
October 15, 2017
I stayed up very late a couple of nights ago, because I had to finish "Cassastorm" before I went to sleep. "Cassastorm" is the third book in a science fiction series written by Alex J. Cavanaugh. I have read the entire series, and I have enjoyed each book. "Cassastorm" wrapped up the series well, but I hope that Alex writes more books about the characters I have come to know and love.

When I read Alex’s first book "Cassastar," I dove in expecting a shoot-'em-up space opera. To my surprise, the book was primarily about the friendship between young, troubled, and rebellious Byron and his demanding, fighter pilot instructor Bassa. The relationship develops against a background of impending war, and then war itself, between the Cassans and the Vindicarns. And yes, there were plenty of compelling space battles!

The second book "Cassafire" places Bryon on the distant planet of Tgren, as scientists excavate alien ruins and try to decipher the language found on alien artifacts.
Again relationships are paramount, as talented Tgren pilot Athee and keen young linguist Mevine upend Byron’s private life. And yes, there are many awesome sky and space battles among enemies in a race to stop an alien probe that could destroy Tgren.

The third book "Cassastorm" finds Byron in command of the critical Cassan base on Tgren. Athee is Bryon’s mate, and they have a Cassan-Tgren son Bassan who struggles with his half-breed status while living among pure Cassans and Tgrens. Mevine is back, mated, and the father of Bassan’s friend Drent. And oh what trouble these two curious boys precipitate on a school field trip to the excavated alien ruins on Tgren!

Some forty years after Byron trained as a fighter pilot on Cassa’s moon base Guaard, war has spread across the galaxy among all ten known races. The alien probe that threatened Tgren in "Cassastorm" has returned and is striking home planet after home planet of the ten warring races. If Byron, Athee, Mevine, and others cannot bring about galactic peace and stop the alien probe, the races face decimation, if not extinction.

At the same time that Byron is trying to stop the galactic war, he and Athee face a personal crisis. Their young son Bassan begins to suffer terrible nightmares when his parents return to active battle in space. Basson’s nightmares worsen as Byron coordinates an emergency evacuation plan to save some Tgrens if the alien probe attacks their planet. To the dismay of Byron and Athee, they realize that Bassan must play a dangerous and crucial role if the Tgren and the other races are to survive. I won’t say more about the plot, but what happens in "Cassastorm" is a fast, fun, and emotionally satisfying read.

"Cassastorm" and the other Cassa books are not weighty science fiction novels with complicated plots and numerous subplots. Nor are they burdened with difficult science and technology. The novels do have compelling characters that change and grow from one book to the next. One of the pleasures of reading the series is seeing just how the characters mature and handle increasingly desperate challenges. In all three books there is an immediacy about the space battles that I enjoyed. Alex's fast-paced and tight writing in these scenes made me feel like I was in the Cosbolt cockpit and one with the navigator and the ship. In "Cassastorm," the author tackles the difficult themes of race, prejudice, and being different through the eyes of a small boy. It is a gritty and poignant exploration of these issues that adds emotional weight and truth to the story.

"Cassastorm" is Alex's third novel, and it’s fascinating to watch his development as a writer. From book to book Alex builds his galaxy and deepens its history. I was pleased to see how he pulled everything together in the last book and tied up the loose ends. Alex’s writing style matures throughout the series, as he finds his writing voice and gains confidence in his story telling.

Science fiction is a genre that a lot of people avoid. In some sci-fi books the technology, the science, and the world building overshadow the story and its characters, and this can turn readers away from the genre. Alex did not make this mistake. "Cassastorm" is character-driven, as are "Cassastar" and "Cassafire." The series is one that appeals both to readers who don't normally tackle science fiction and to avid sci-fi fans like me.

I enjoyed the series as an adult reader, but as a teacher, I would not hesitate to use these books in upper elementary or middle school. It is hard to find science fiction novels that appeal to boys (and girls!); stories that are good, pose interesting questions, and are appropriate in language and content. Alex’s books speak to overcoming adversity, loneliness, and conflict. They illustrate what friendship means and how to build it. They show how a person can manage fear and face danger with courage. In short, they are inspiring and memorable.

Alex Cavanaugh’s fourth book "Dragon of the Stars" has a release date of April 7, 2015. I’ll definitely be buying it that day. Check out Alex’s books! They are well worth reading!
Profile Image for Jemima Pett.
Author 30 books327 followers
May 5, 2023
For me this is the best of the Cassa series, but then CassaStorm is the climax of Byron’s story, and all that has gone before leads to this.

It’s pacy, full of twists, and excellent characters. I suspect you might not get as much out of it if you haven’t come from book 2, though. Cavanaugh’s space description and tech is first-rate but this story will satisfy the scifi lovers who prefer the social side of the genre to the militaristics, despite being heavily involved with ‘the fleet’. Key to this is the emerging understanding of how the factions in the universe managed to get themselves into these alliances. These underlying reasons for hatred threaten to derail the whole plot. Cavanaugh has done a great job on complex societies with reasons for entrenched views of their opponents.

If you havent already read book 4, do, as it features Bassan, several years on. He has every right to be as mixed up as I said in my early review! Picking up the prequel (it’s an extended flash fiction) will complete your set, but you know the story already.
Profile Image for Jean.
133 reviews9 followers
June 16, 2014
CassaStorM is everything which a reader could ask for in a science fiction action adventure, and more.

To portray humanity in all its grandness and in all its frailty is a very difficult task. To accomplish this on such a vast a scale is very rare. Although I have not read the first two parts of this trilogy, I have become intrigued and involved enough to return to the past two stories of this series.

Incorporating and featuring believeable and unique, previously unheard of civilizations and races, which in our world don't truly exist, takes a master author.

The author must have a comprehensive understanding of what drives the nature of his characters (whether they are human or not) in order for the readers to follow along and and care enough to love the plot. It is something many authors do not seen able to attempt in science fiction. Somehow many remove themselves from what is most important in reality, preferring instead to create simple "imaginary worlds". These worlds are often far more limiting even as they attempt to enlarge the reader's vision. Maybe it is just me but it seems that at times the weakness of the science fiction category can be frustrating for the reader. The audience is ultimately unable to care.

This is NOT the case with CassaStorM!

I am a major Heinlein fan, although I have not read his work since I was a lot younger. However I found his ideas to be enthralling, consistently. I remember and love everything about why he is considered one of "the big three". His ability to absorb the reader in the human-style aspect, as well as the superhuman or otherworldly, was, to me, a major part of what touched me about his writing.
I am happy that I spent time reading Heinlein. It was worthwhile. His scope was astounding, to me.

I am happy to report that it is grand and gratifying to have spent my time reading CassaStorM, by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

It is noteworthy that this fine author has often been compared to Heinlein, which is why I brought that great man up.

What you find when you read CassaStorM is that it possesses a strong and gripping style, always driving forward. But that is not all.

In fact, for this reviewer, even more notable that that, is the touching and moving sensibility emanating from this story.

The lifeforce infused in the major characters is just completly compelling.

This tale is basically a story of the struggle of a family pulled and wrenched in many ways by the frantic circumstances which are thrown in their path. They alone have the key to saving the universe from destruction. It is at once terrifying and uplifting.

It is a space story at its best. Through the fascinating plot, we are poised at a point which is critical to the safety of the galaxy. It is a great study of bravery and love.

The reader primarily sees all through the eyes of Byron, who is Commander of the Cassan base on Tgren. At this point, he is striving to keep the peace between nations and confront the threat of destruction which looms ever nearer. His wife and soul mate, Athee, is from the Tgren race. Their young son is therefore considered a half breed. The reader eventually finds that this child, and this family, will be tossed this way and that, depending upon the powers of the young child and what is required of him. Fortitude,determination, strength of will and, most of all, love will all play a part in whether this family can together save civilization from ancient and mystifying destructive forces which are threatening all of the inhabitants of the galaxy. To have the main burden of this fall upon the shoulders of Byron and Athee's son Bassan makes for a very taut dramatic situation. It is impossible to turn away from this and put this book down. The excitement builds as the depiction of the relationships offer even more tension to the plot.

What is the most gratifying part of this book, CassaStorM? Is it the action? Is it the characters, so honestly and excellently delineated? Is it the ending, which is totally cool?

Let's just say this. If you love space odysseys and you "grok" telepathic powers, as well as enjoying tons of exciting action and great heroics, and even love some cool humor as you grow to know and respect the characters, CassaStorM, by the wonderful author Alex J. Cavanaugh, has everything you could want and more!

I hope the author offers another awesome book like this soon. His fans await!

Highly recommended for all action adventure lovers who like nothing but the best!
Profile Image for Tony Laplume.
Author 46 books33 followers
June 8, 2015
Seems to me almost like a combination between Prometheus and Ender's Game, insofar as the character who's most interesting is a little boy who ends up helping to solve a civilization's greatest mysteries about its origins.

This is the third of Alex Cavanaugh's Byron trilogy, begun with CassaStar (featuring the lead character as he enters military service) and continued with CassaFire (in which Byron meets his future bride and ushers the true start of this particular installment). I haven't read the previous two volumes, but it's easy enough to figure out what's going on in CassaStorm so that this shouldn't be much of a problem for anyone else, either.

Cavanaugh favors a fairly simple approach in his writing, matched by the fairly simple rules of his sci-fi universe. Science doesn't seem to have progressed on any of the worlds it features, insofar as basic concepts like DNA profiling don't seem to exist. With conflicts between these races a given that's never really explained, I guess that helps when the real problem of a mysterious probe that looks to wipe out all life because of all the warfare makes more sense than it otherwise would.

The heart and most intriguing element of the story, as I said, revolves around Bassan, Byron's young son who feels intimidated by the legacy of his famous father. (It should be noted that Byron remains intimidating to the reader as well, always to-the-point and soft only when thinking tenderly about by wife or son, not very romantic a hero by traditional standards, nor portrait of an aged veteran, although he frequently reflects on former colleagues who have moved on with their lives. Byron has a savior complex that is never quite corrected. His frequent condescending attitudes can sometimes seem justified, other times hard to support.) Bassan is a half-breed, the product of Byron and the wife he took in the last book from another species. This is his other great struggle, because he doesn't fit in with his classmates, other than his likewise half-breed friend. He derives his greatest pleasure from visiting an ancient ship the luckless scientists of this universe can't figure out, another leftover from the last book, until similar ships are discovered on the other worlds as well, coming to life after Bassan accidentally activates them.

It's a lot like biblical wrath, these progenitors looking to undo what they'd done in seeding these worlds long ago, and so once I figured that out I took a little more interest in the story. Bassan eventually falls in with a fellow half-breed who represents an entirely unknown collective of such individuals. If that had come about a little sooner, maybe I would have enjoyed the book a little more. Instead, for much of the story Byron engages in regular and fairly random battle sequences, gets tired and really wants sleep, is interrupted, is irritable, doesn't have patience for anyone, including his own son (though he does to a point) and a medley of politicians who mostly get in the way. Bassan, in an alternate version, could very well have been the Ender of this story, and thus the true star of the whole saga, is instead relegated to fretting for much of the events, even though he plays a huge part in how it all plays out.

Still, I'm sure young readers of sci-fi adventures will enjoy all this, especially with Bassan as the occasional hook. Older readers will have a bit of fun watching all of it play out, though its lack of general refinement will hinder a greater appreciation. It's not bad material, and Cavanaugh clearly has a sense of making sci-fi seem a little more human-scaled than it can sometimes seem. It's both and not quite what similar material has accomplished numerous times already. If you're still looking for the Prometheus alternative, this will probably be it.
Profile Image for Eva.
32 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2015
I’m glad I was able to read all three books in the series. I enjoyed them immensely. If Mr. Cavanaugh’s books are indicative of the Space Opera genre, I’ll definitely be reading more of them.

Forty years earlier, Byron helped end the Vindicarn War and became a hero in the process. But it wasn’t without sacrifice and great personal loss. Twenty years after, he finds new friendship, a loving mate, and gets back in the pilot’s seat to prevent a catastrophe from eliminating the planet Tgren. I just summed up the first two books in two sentences.

Now Byron is twenty years older, married, and has a young, mixed-raced (half-Cassan/half-Tgren) son named Bassan. He no longer flies an explorer ship, and his days as a fighter pilot are over. As Commander of a Cassan base on Tgren, all he has to worry about are occasional stray attacks and appeasing the egos of the Tgren prefects and bureaucrats. Or so he thinks…

Bassan doesn’t have many friends because of his ‘half-breed’ status, so he is bullied often. Drent is his closest friend and mixed race, too. He is the son of Senior Science Officer Mevine, Byron’s close friend. Bassan doesn’t have an interest in flying like his parents do. He’s more interested in the scientific and technological aspect of things. He is excited beyond belief when his class takes a field trip to the alien ship where Officer Mevine works.

Parents can tell kids ‘Look, but don’t touch’, as much as they like, but…I guess they don’t listen in space either. Soon after the trip, Bassan starts having terrorizing nightmares; the alien ship on Tgren starts sending signals from a once dormant console. Soon the other planets in the system begin uncovering alien ships on their own planets too.

The uncomfortable truce between the Cassans and Vindicarn is gone and there is fighting again as other planets ally: some with the Cassans and some with the Vindicarns. It’s only a matter of time before an all out war galactic war takes place and it must be stopped. Byron figures out that Bassan is somehow connected to what is happening. I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers, but the ending DID NOT disappoint!

As always, Mr. Cavanaugh fleshed out his characters well and I was impressed with Bassan and how he handled his ‘growing pains’. I didn’t notice any grammatical or spelling errors in this final book of the trilogy.

What bothered me a little: Byron, Byron. I love him. I do. He’s come a long way since the first book; he still some issues he needs to work on. It may just be me, but I hoped personal connections would have been easier for him by now, particularly with Bassan. It was good watching their relationship evolve through the book, but having a closer relationship earlier would have been nice.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It can been read as a stand alone, but if you truly want to know who Byron is as a person, I would suggest starting from Book 1.
Profile Image for Tyrean.
Author 45 books85 followers
December 30, 2013
I love the action-packed, gripping Cassa trilogy by Alex J. Cavanaugh!
CassaStorm takes place twenty years after CassaStar, and I enjoyed seeing these beloved characters again, and being introduced to new ones. Cavanaugh's world-building, or in this case Universe-building, is excellent and flows perfectly with the pace of the novel's plot and character growth.

The war between the Vindicarn and the Cassans has grown and become a War involving all of the ten races when the alien probe starts a new threat. Bassan, Byron's son, accidentally finds himself involved . . . and Byron must deal with both the political and emotional conflict that surrounds the entire situation.

My only issue with the novel is that I would have liked to see Byron start out a bit more calm and then struggle with the conflict. His tension makes sense as the conflict in the novel mounts around him, but from the very start, Byron seemed irritable with everyone and I had a tough time in the first forty pages.

I loved seeing his relationship with his son, Bassan, grow by the end of the novel, but at the beginning, I was struggling with Byron's overall attitude. Shocked by Byron's brusqueness, I felt extremely thankful when he became more and more affectionate with this son. Of course, my husband told me he thinks that Byron's relationship with Bassan is pretty normal and expected for a military family and environment - so it may have just been my perception at the beginning.

As a whole, CassaStorm is a good ending to a great trilogy, leaving us with a wonderful, open horizon of possibilities ahead while wrapping up the main plot throughout the series in a way that left me satisfied and slightly surprised. I'm tempted to go into spoiler mode, but won't - let's just say that I loved, loved, loved the ending.
Profile Image for Sydney Michelle.
Author 44 books808 followers
October 6, 2013
While I love Science Fiction movies, I never got into reading these type of books until I read Alex J. Cavanugh's Cassa series. It takes a special skill to weave an intricate balance between human and non - human characters with building a made up world and turning it into a solid story with intensity and heart.
I love the series, but I love this book most of all. CassaStorm begins twenty years after the previous book. We find Byron, same good looks, same intensity and the same disciple an as the commander of the Cassan base on Tgren. While he is still a, by the book, kind of guy, Byron reveals more of his emotional side. You feel the instantly of where his heart lies, with his mate, Athee and you are introduced to his ten year old son Bassan.
Much of the conversation in the book occurs between the character's minds. This makes for a unique exchange of not only words, but the communication of feelings and emotions as well.
Byron's son, Bassan is a half -bred (half Cassan and half Tgreen) searching for his identity, while at the same time seeking his father's approval and respect. The most amazing moments in the books occur with the exchange of emotion between Byron and his son.
But, I would be remise if I didn't mention that despite all the love, romance and emotion, this is a science fiction space opera/adventure. There are amazing battle scene written with such clarity, you feel like your in the cock pit with Bryon and Athee. Even three books in, I continue to be amazed by the teleporting skill of the main characters and how they utilize this skill in battle. It's a tribute to Cavanuagh's imagination and brilliance.

The rumor is CassaStorm is the last novel by Cavanaugh and if it's true, well, he couldn't have ended on a better note. CassaStorm, as a book, has everything you love about science fiction movies and more.
Profile Image for Toi Thomas.
Author 16 books72 followers
July 14, 2016
I must admit that this book was the hardest of the series to read, but it was not a bad difficulty. This book is challenging and Cavanaugh honors his readers by not dumbing down or softening the edges of deeper issues at hand. Yes, there is still plenty of action and use of powers, but the sociological impact of this story is what makes the lack of smiles and sunshine all worth it.

In the first two books, readers had an opportunity to travel the usual gambit of emotions in a story such as this: thrill, happiness, hope, sadness, suspense, etc… In this book, however, we readers have the opportunity to face our own insecurities, senses of pride, and even our regrets as we empathize with Byron and his struggle to save not only the galaxy but his precious family.

War, politics, and the most dangerous of words people dare not speak, racism, is what fuels this story. Of course, this is all happening in a galaxy far away and in another time, but this is a universal struggle: past and present, fiction and reality.

The thought that the end of the world could be avoided by simply getting along with those different from you or allowing a Cassan to marry a Tgren and let their child grow in peace is profound. But not as profound as when a father lets the dark skinned destroyer of his brother hold his son’s life in his hands as a gesture of peace.

I’ve probably already said too much. This is a story that will stick with you long after you’ve read it.

Highly recommended.
2,490 reviews41 followers
July 21, 2013
Author Alex J. Cavanaugh's space opera series takes another twenty year leap since the last book in the series. Byron is married to Athee and they have a son, Bassan. He's commander of Cassan base on Tgren and the ten races have formed two alliances. The Vindicarns from that long ago war are once again enemies.

Bassan on a class trip to the ancient alien ship found on Tgren accidentally activates something and suddenly the boy begins having nightmares. The old ship is transmitting something in code to all ten planets and toward where the probe from twenty years ago that had nearly destroyed Tgren.

Was that probe returning? And what would be it's purpose? What were the signals sent to all ten planets? More ancient ships, one on each world, were discovered and they were activating as well. War was heating up between the ten races to an insane degree!

The author answers each of these questions as he builds up a page turning SF novel. A quite satisfying conclusion.

If one likes good space opera, this was a good one.
Profile Image for Christine Rains.
Author 59 books235 followers
January 24, 2014
In this final book of the Cassa trilogy, Byron no longer sits in the pilot's seat but behind a desk. War is encroaching upon his home, and he will do anything to protect his family. To add to his troubles, an alien ship has been found and it poses an even larger threat. The entire galaxy might be lost if Byron can't help bring all the races together.

A phenomenal end to this space opera. I do like seeing how far Byron as come and what possibilities his future might hold. The family dynamic in this book is well written. Stressful, sweet, tense, and loving. Bassan is a likable boy with great potential. It's amusing to think of Byron as he was in the first book of the series and now to see him as a father.

It's cleanly written with a fascinating mystery. Those who are fans of a lot of battles in space would do well to know this story is more about conflict within, familial dynamics, and political maneuvering. It ties up the series nicely, and with a world this big, there's always the possibility of more stories. If we can convince Alex J. Cavanaugh to write them!
Profile Image for Jeff Beesler.
Author 19 books37 followers
October 26, 2013
There are books out there that I'll simply gobble up almost without pause. And then there are books whose worlds I'll linger around in longer simply because I don't want to leave that world. CassaStorm, the final entry in the Cassa series by Alex J. Cavanaugh, is a prime example of the latter. Having followed the adventures of protagonist Byron since CassaStar, I greatly looked forward to this final installment of the trilogy.

To say that the book exceeded my expectations would be a vast understatement. The characters were again true to themselves, and there were again twists and turns that I could not see coming. Still, these made sense. The way the story ends is a firm reminder that nothing is ever as simple as it seems, or cut and dry as we might like to think. The story resonates with a firm lesson on second chances, which I think most, if not all people, can relate to on some level.

I simply cannot endorse this book enough.
Profile Image for Trisha.
793 reviews29 followers
June 4, 2014
This was probably my favourite book in the series, as everything heats up towards the ultimate apocalypse and one little boy is the key to everyone's survival. I liked the theme of the "eleventh race", and the fact that they were the only solution to a very scary problem.

I also liked seeing Byron's character development as he adjusted to being a father - though of course he'd been a father for some time when the book began.

I did wonder if it was realistic that he was still so incredibly angry at (read: hate-filled) the Vindicarn even though he was about 60 years of age (by my calculations). He was also still riddled with pain over the loss of Bassa. But I guess some people do still cling to those things when they get to 60. Anyway, he did learn a few lessons with the appearance of the main Rogue character (other than Bassan, of course), and seems to be at the point where he's finally let things go that he clung to most of his life.

I really enjoyed this action-packed read.
Profile Image for Robyn Engel.
61 reviews2 followers
February 18, 2014
I knew Cavanaugh to be a stellar author, but this book accentuates his brilliance. Not only is it layered with rich messages regarding father-son and family relations, Cavanaugh's writing challenges the reader to consider interfaith and interracial relations in a way that merges the magic of sci-fi with the realities our day-to-day existence on earth. Greater issues that we grapple with--e.g., homelessness, war vs. peace, being seen as "different"--emerge while the main characters fight for their own and others' survival. This grand finale to the trilogy takes the reader on an action-packed journey, underscored by prolific matters of the heart. CassaStorm is a humanitarian gift to the sci-fi genre and to the literary world. It far surpassed my expectations!

Though I don't read sci-fi (except this trilogy), I highly recommend it to all - without reservation.
Profile Image for Sherry Ellis.
Author 8 books56 followers
November 6, 2013
Cassastorm is the third and final installment in the Cassa series. Byron, the protagonist, is a commander of the Cassan base on the planet, Tgren. He is married to Athee, of the Tgren race. The two produce a son, Bassan, who begins having recurrent nightmares after touching a mysterious alien relic on Tgren. Without giving too much away, it turns out that Bassan is an important figure in bringing warring races together in peace.

The emotion between Byron, Athee, and Bassan is touching. It's not often you see space operas with a family unit at the center of the story. While the majority of the plot is character-driven, there's still enough there to appeal to sci-fi fans who appreciate intense battle action. Readers who enjoy sci-fi space operas would enjoy this book.
Profile Image for John Gunning.
21 reviews3 followers
September 22, 2013

When all the ten races go to war it triggers an alien ship doom's day probe that will destroy each of the races' home worlds. Byron, the commander of the Cassan base on Tgren, must get the ten races to stop fighting and stop the probe before its to late. Twenty years ago, Byron interacted with the probe to delay this day, but can he do it again? And is his son's, Bassan , nightmares a clue to their survival or just an omen of worse to come. A good read independent of the first two books. Would like to see follow up books from the different races , to see what they are like and their point of views? But now I must go back and read the first two books. Highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Len Evans Jr.
1,451 reviews204 followers
June 7, 2017
Warning review contains one small spoiler! Scroll down if you wanna read!

OK... first thing I am gonna say about this book it I sincerely hope the author has plans to write more in this series. Each of the books in this series were incredible reads. This as of now final book managed to somehow exceed the others. I love this universe the author has created with so many races! And the idea that the 11th race a combination of the other 10 is crucial to the survival of all was brilliant! If you have not read this series... YOU MUST!!!!
55 reviews
June 12, 2014
I had high hopes toward to this book, and luckily I haven't disappointed. I enjoyed every bits of the CassaStorm.

I admit this book is much better than the CassaFire, however I had small problem with it at some points. The core idea and the story is great, but a little bit short. The characters are strong, but sometimes - IMHO - overacted their roles.

The story rolled easily page by page, because it was very interesting and exciting.

In nutshell: it was great job, Alex! I'm waiting for your next book.
7 reviews
June 12, 2013
Another twenty years has passed for Byron and Athee and they have added little Bassan to the family. As history tends to repeat itself Byron and Bassan must attempt to save everyone from extinction. Their journey brings father and son closer together in a very touching story. Love the story and characters! Sadly this book feels like the finality to the series which I really hope it's not! Would love to read more adventures about Byron and Bassan!
Profile Image for Medeia Sharif.
Author 21 books428 followers
July 19, 2014
In the third book of the Cassa series, Byron is a family man and someone who has a quieter career, but the warfare around him pulls him into battle mode. All the races of the galaxy are at risk for destruction. One thing he didn’t expect is how his son is affected. Bassan is afflicted with horrible nightmares that are somehow related to his surroundings. The intense battle sequences, the mysterious alien ship, and Bassan’s presence make this my favorite book of the series.
Profile Image for Kurt Bennett.
31 reviews
October 3, 2013
Super story. Hopefully not the final book in this series as watching the characters grow through all three books was great. Love the characters and the world Alex Cavanaugh has put together in this series. Believable technology, great action, suspense, and realistic situations. A pretty good mix over all. I read this book in 2 days whenever I has spare time and really had a hard time putting it down. Thanks to the author for another truly engaging and fantastic read.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Seckman.
Author 16 books89 followers
February 14, 2022
Just like the other books in this series, this was a great read. I enjoyed all the books in this series, but must choose this one as my favorite. Fast paced, this story had everything a favorite book needs: wonderful characters, intriguing plot, and enough action to keep the heart racing without being over done.
Profile Image for Jemi Fraser.
Author 20 books48 followers
October 5, 2013
So good!! What a great wrap up to the trilogy! The characters and the world get deeper and even more intriguing. Love the new 2ndary characters, especially Bassan & Piten. I didn't see the ending coming and yet it's a perfect fit. A fantastic read!
Profile Image for Lisa Buie-Collard.
Author 4 books23 followers
February 2, 2015
Great finish to a great series. Characters are vividly written and I found I cared very much about what happened to Bassan. That's all I'm saying! No spoilers here...CassaStorm
Profile Image for Raymond Solsvik.
41 reviews1 follower
April 19, 2015
Really enjoyed these three books, a good story in a new universe. A good start for several new adventures if the author feels like... The genre is not my preferred sci-fi, to me it's too much personal/tuchy/feely kind of story, but it was entertaining.
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