Friday, February 17, 2017

Stowaway (The Reservation Trilogy, Book Two)

Castleberry, J. (2016). Stowaway. Self-published.

Young Adult / Dystopian / Fantasy


Blurb: Twelve years ago, Nathan was forcibly transferred into governmental custody.

Once a brother, a son, and an outsider, he is now little more than an instrument of the Continental Order.

At least, that's what his superiors think.

Now, the Order is shipping out, and a resurgence of destruction lies in wait for the continent.

Will Nathan break free and embrace the hostile outside world, or will he take his place on the last train scheduled for the Reservation?


Stowaway, book two in The Reservation Trilogy, is the follow-up to Cargo, and in this installment, readers get to read from main character (and hybrid!) Nathan's point of view. Who knew so much was going on in Nathan's head? His often poetic, soft thoughts don't mesh with his outward appearance and actions, so this perspective is a delightful change of pace. 

Since Nathan is alone and/or alone with his thoughts for much of the book, his non-stop internal monologue is what keeps him (and the story) moving forward.  It makes sense that he'd talk through so much, as he leads an intentionally lonely life and spends time talking himself out of having feelings (especially about Cassidy, the main character in Cargo) that would jeopardize his lone wolf status.

Readers must be patient the first quarter of the book, as it's primarily world building and reflection, with very little action.  However, author Jen Castleberry writes highly descriptive passages, one after another, using a variety of figurative language devices.  For example, Nathan says (to himself),

The sun “caresses every part of me, sweeping out the old draft of the garage, soothing my body like a swallow of bread, straight off the coals.”

While the similes, metaphors, personification, imagery, and symbolism are more striking than not, the sheer volume of literary devices was a bit overwhelming. However, as a glass-half-full kind of gal and former language teacher, I kept thinking about what a fabulous high school literary devices lesson this book would make, especially given the story length.

The story is short -- a novella, really -- and well-written with just a few errors, none of which interfere with reading.  At times, it is difficult to believe that a seventeen-year-old male could think and process things the way Nathan does, but then, Nathan isn't fully human . . . or is he more human than those who have the genetics to be categorized that way?

Sensitive readers need to be aware that there is violence, and it is sometimes fairly graphic. Several characters use expletives and blasphemous language, and there are references to sexual situations but none are overly descriptive. 

Thank you to the author for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give. 

ABOUT JEN CASTLEBERRY: Jen Castleberry is a North Carolina native currently based in Virginia Beach, VA. She is a Communications graduate and proud ECU alum.  When she's not writing, Castleberry works full-time as a Veterinary Assistant at a local animal shelter.

Her affection for all critters, large and small, comes home with her at the end of each day. She frequently lends her house and heart to homeless animals in need of foster. Her own clan of silly creatures include an Akita, a Basset Hound, a Maine Coon, and of course, her active-duty husband.

The first installment of her YA debut series premiered in January of 2016.  Connect with Jen:


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