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CassaStorM by Alex J. Cavanaugh
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Dancing Lemur Press Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781939844002
Date: 17 September 2013

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Byron is based on Tgren, the most backwards of the ten races. He leads the Cassan forces that are protecting the Tgren from the attacks of the Vindicarn and Rogues. His wife, a Tgren, Athee is his copilot. His son, Bassan, is scorned for being the product of different races, but his potential means he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

A war between the races is heating up. Every race is being forced to take sides. But this war has a new side. The ancient artifacts are activating, and new menace comes into the fray. The secret to stopping the new threat lay with the least valued and ignored.

CassaStorm is the third book following the adventures of Byron. Since there is separation in time between the first two books and CassaStorm, there isn't a need to read the earlier entrants. I haven't read the earlier books and was able to follow the story. That said, I acknowledge that the story may be even better for those that have read CassaStar and CassaFire.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I requested this novel. I didn't realize that it was a part of a larger series. In truth, I would have passed on it had I known, since I don't like starting in the middle of a series. But sometimes things work out. I really enjoyed this book. I am sure there were some nuggets that readers of the series will appreciate. When I have time I will be looking for the first two books in the series.

Although Byron is the hero of the series, I found myself drawn to his son Bassan. Bassan struggles with being the child of two heroes who face death every day. His psionic powers help him to understand his parents and others at a deep level, but his parents' business leaves him starving for attention and approval.

The action was pretty consistent, and there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. The final solution is foreshadowed, but still satisfying. There are space battles and exploration. CassaStorm is like a plane trying to survive a hurricane, the storm hits hard and keeps going but the pilot will see the plane through safely.

There is a good discussion of race relations. People in this universe are more similar than they care to admit. This is something that we've experienced in the last hundred years. It wasn't all that long ago that people of color were considered to be less than Caucasians. The various races in this universe must come to accept that they are connected and that each group has value and a place.

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