CassaFire is today’s book review. This is the second in the series, which started with CassaStar, which I reviewed a few years back. Then I jumped to the last in the series on publication, so now I’m on catch-up. This one qualifies for my Spacetime Reading Challenge as well as my Finishing the Series challenge.


CassaFire (Cassa #2)

by Alex J Cavanaugh

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend – to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy… [goodreads]

My Review

This is a worthy follow-up to CassaStar. The war hero Byron is really doing mundane work, from choice, which means that you know that something is going to go extremely wrong and drag him out of it. At first it’s not as wrong as it could be. He’s sent off to the planet to deliver stores and personnel on an important project, and a girl takes centre stage.

This is the first girl we meet in this series. I complained about the first book having none at all, and the author promised me one in future. Yes, so in two books we’ve had one female character. I know this started as military scifi, spaceships in deep space, but it’s a little bit one-sided as a result of introducing one girl. She’s very emotional, very bossy, very teenage. It’s not easy for me to describe her because she irritated the life out of me (and Byron). But she has far too much talent for the situation she’s in and inevitably the savvy reader has got the plot sorted out in his or her head, and won’t be surprised. There’s really not much of a twist.

Despite Byron’s response to the emergency being exactly what we expect, it was good reading. The author writes well, maintaining pace and an element of excitement. So CassaFire is an enjoyable book but I’m not really interested in Byron’s future. But as I’m keen to finish what is a perfectly nice series, I’ll read more. Fortunately I know the last in the series is really good!

Book Review | CassaFire by Alex J Cavanaugh
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5 thoughts on “Book Review | CassaFire by Alex J Cavanaugh

  • 25 March, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for reading and reviewing! The second book does explain why you don’t see women in the first one – Cassan women can’t teleport, a necessity on a warship.
    You did cheat reading the last one before this one, but I think you will really enjoy CassaStorm. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written.

    • 25 March, 2023 at 3:34 pm

      Hey, Alex, that explanation is still cheating! Maybe too much Asimov in your youth? IIRC the classics of Space Opera forgot to put in women, too (like the classics of fantasy), and I think Asimov was just scared of us.

      I’ve finally got CassaStar on my ereader and look forward to reading it when the library books run out.

  • 26 March, 2023 at 9:56 am

    Hi Jemima and Alex – I’ve enjoyed the Cassa books … they’re entertaining and very readable. Cheers Hilary

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