Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cargo (The Reservation Trilogy, Book One) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Blog Tour*, Review, & Giveaway!

Release Date: January 17th 2016
Genre: Young Adult
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!

"Every argument, every hot glare that brings them nose to nose,

like rams caught by the horns, makes me pine for a parentless existence."

This line in the prologue, from then six-year-old Cassidy Hartinger, the narrator, immediately separates Cargo from other dystopian stories. Author Jen Castleberry has created a character who wants to escape her parents, and when Cassidy's taken from them, very rarely does she look back.

Castleberry does a great job of establishing the setting in a future world where the earth is ravaged, extraterrestrials have attempted to annihilate humans, and those people remaining are consolidated into just one territory. The descriptions are bleak and convincing, and it is easy for readers to insert themselves into the feel of this world.  In contrast, there is the Reservation, supposedly the only place left on earth that is safe, peaceful, and where nature still flourishes -- and only those selected get to go there. 

Readers are given details enough to keep the interest level high for the next installment of The Reservation Trilogy.  Cassidy is one of those chosen for the Reservation, but the criteria are not revealed to explain why. It's clear the answer is coming, and also clear is the promise of meeting the non-humans and hybrid humans referenced throughout Cargo. Readers experience an interesting dynamic between Cassidy and her transporter, Nathan, and the book's ending indicates there is more to come in that relationship. 

The writing is a bit simplistic, but the story is clear and concise and moves forward at a steady pace. A few minor edits are needed for incorrect pronoun use and a consistent use of "there's" when "there are" is correct; however, most readers won't be bothered by the errors. The book is very short and reads very much as a prequel, mostly laying the groundwork for what's to come in the next book, Stowaway, which I look forward to reading.

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for providing me an eBook in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give. 

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.

At twenty-seven, Castleberry hopes to soon realize a life-long dream of writing professionally. 

The first installment of her YA debut series premiered in January of 2016.

Ends 6/1/16
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A Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour
Click for Hall Ways Review

*With the exception of the Hall Ways review, the content of this post has been provided to me by Fantastic Book Club Tours.

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