Is there any better day/night to post a review of a book which delivers an essential turning point in the life of a person?
It ... oh dear! I'm sorry. that should be part of the cherry on the cake. I love cake but that is a completely different story. The cherry. I wanted to talk about the relation between a cherry and a book I reviewed on October 17th, 2010. I wrote in my review:
"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 ...."(*= CassaStaR (October 19th,2010) [ISBN-13: 978-0981621067] by Alex J. Cavanaugh)
CHERRY is the catchwordThanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and Dancing Lemur Press for sending me an unproofed review copy of the possibly cherry CassaFirE (February 28th, 2012, pb, 240 p.) [ISBN-13: 978-0982713945].
At the end of this early review you will know what to expect:
Cherry - Farrago - Lemon
I think it should be obvious by now that this is not a review which follows my standards. I think CassaFirE deserves something different which is in terms of the main protagonist Byron.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Alex J. Cavanaugh
All of you, who would like to read the extensive, three parted description (the past - the setting - characters) please follow THIS LINK.
In case you are the more audio/visual type then spend a minute to watch the CassaFirE trailer.
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.