CassaStar had been on my reading list for over four years. It has probably been on my Kindle for just as long. I’m trying to work back on some of these almost certainly free copies that I acquired in the past, and this one in particular is important, since it is written by the Ninja Captain himself, founder of the Insecure Writers Support Group, Alex J Cavanaugh. I reckon I probably had an early copy, so I’m ignoring some of the copy editing it needed (and the blurb still needs) when I got it so long ago!
Shockingly, it’s March, and it’s my first scifi book of the year. That also reminds me that a quarterly SpaceTime Reading Challenge is due next week!
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. Much to Byron s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron’s tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential. As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit? [goodreads]
Young troubled teen+ seeks first career and to prove himself as the best pilot in the galaxy. I can’t remember how many of these I’ve read. I have another ebook hard on this one’s heels (although I read its sequel some time ago, so I know what I’m letting myself in for). I’ve marked it YA for that reason although there’s no teenage angst over the opposite sex, thank goodness!
In fact there is no opposite sex. This is an entirely male space world from what I understand of the names, although one character is excused some duty or other to commune with his ‘mate’ who is in labour (I think).
Enough of the negatives. Once you get into it, this is a rip-roaring story with excitement, accidents, heartache, and drama. The writing is generally good, and the key difference in this universe is that the best pilots all have a mind-reading capability with which they bond with their navigator. The difference between speech and think-communication is clear, and makes sense. It’s also a great device leading to both unusual accidents and exceptional opportunities. I did occasionally find the point of view hopping abruptly from one character to his partner. That may be sorted in a later edition.
Alex J Cavanaugh has developed a wonderful world for the CassaStar system. The intricacies of space combat, the background of civilian life, and the shadows in our hero’s mind are all finely drawn and offer the reader a feeling of safety in the universe. There are more in the series, and I’m tempted to add them to my list. I just wonder if the system will develop any gender diversity in future.
Once you get past the training stage, CassaStar is a page-turner. So much so that my Kindle seemed to be having trouble keeping up with me. If you like a good space opera with clear lines between the good guys and the baddies, this is for you. In fact, even if you prefer complexity, some of the underlying dilemmas should satisfy you. Recommended for space fans.