Book Review “Cargo” Jen Castleberry

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The earth has been reduced to a singular continent, governed by extra-terrestrials, collapsed by nuclear weapons residue and wracked with radiation sickness. Only one viable territory remains, and access there is restricted by a mysterious selection process. Everyone hopes to be chosen for transport. Everyone but Cass.

Seventeen year old Cassidy Hartinger has spent the past eleven years living in a government-maintained bunker. She should be thrilled when a handsome transporter arrives to take her to the Reservation. So why does she feel like he’s dragging her, kicking and screaming, straight into the anti-paradise?

Faced with gun-wielding survivalists and elemental catastrophes, will Cass make it more than two steps out of the bunker? Will her journey to peace and safety in the Reservation turn out to be the most perilous thing she’s encountered so far?

Fast-paced action and a tumultuous teenage romance will keep readers begging for more installments of The Reservation Trilogy!

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First lines: The extra-terrestrials are aggressors. They’re hostile, right from the start. That’s what my father tells me. He says hostility is potent when it’s quiet; he says the ETs are as quiet as mice.

Castleberry delivers a fast paced dystopian with characters that pop out of the book and come alive. The story pulls you in and the book holds you pretty well. When I saw this was a dystopian novella I worried that there wouldn’t be enough room for world building, character development and the like. In some ways I wasn’t wrong.

The very first page sets the pace for Et’s to be an integral part of the story. So, you can imagine my confusion when at the end of the book I had still not read about a single one nor was much else really said about them other than the off-hand wonderings if each person Cass meets is fully human. I think the author made a mistake when she decided to make this story a novella instead of a full length book. 

The scene struck me as apocalyptic and destroyed. The buildings abandoned or blown up. The travelers dangerous and abandoned by any kind of government system. The climate appears to be scorching and almost inhabitable. There’s a real survivor string to it all. 

I really wanted more information about pretty much everything in the story. Explanations are hap-hazard and glimpsed at. I was dissatisfied to say the least.

My advice to the author would be to bring the book back to square one and format for a full length novel. The novella is lacking in too many areas and there is no real ending either.

All of this is a damn shame since the book definitely hooked me. I want to read more. I want to know more about the world and it’s characters. I want to know about the ET’s.

I’m giving this story 2 stars.

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The Technical Data:

Title: Cargo | Series:  The Reservation Trilogy |  Author(s): Jen Castleberry |Publisher: Create Space Independant Publishing / Publication Date: 4-22-2016 |Pages: 182 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1523797271  | Genre(s): Sciene Fiction / Dystopian | Language: English |Rating: 2 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-25-2016 |Source: Copy from author

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