REVIEW by Trish: Cargo (The Reservation Trilogy #1) by Jen Castleberry

CargoThe 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!

by Jen Castleberry
The Reservation Trilogy #1
Young Adult
Publication Date
January 17, 2016
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Reg. Kindle Price $0.99
Cargo caught my eye primarily because of the description. Why would a girl cringe at the idea of being taken to a place everyone else dreams of going? Book one introduces the main characters, Cassidy and her friends and Nathan, the handsome stranger whose job is to transport cargo, like Cassidy, to the Reservation. It also outlines the alien takeover and wholesale destruction of earth, but from a kid’s perspective.
So let’s start with what I liked. First off, this is a pretty quick read, perfect for a weekend, and the world building and the character interactions were realistic and engaging. I liked the pacing, and there was plenty of action to keep me interested. I also enjoyed the growing tension between Cass and Nathan and between them and the mysterious aliens whom we don’t glimpse in this installment, though I do suspect at least one of the characters was one of the hybrids. Add in a rather dangerous and threatening human underground, just a quick glimpse to build some danger and put Nathan, Cass, and Nars in harm’s way, and you have quite a good read.
The story is told from Cassidy’s first person point of view, and it comes off pretty well. She may not be a super woman, but she’s tough and pushes herself to overcome her fears to find out who she is and what she’s made of. She’s also not easily swayed by other people’s opinions or hung up overly much on any particular love interest. Besides that, I love her loyalty to her friends.
On the downside, I found some of the wording choppy and a little overly simple and direct. On one hand, that makes the story rather easy to read, but it also draws attention, at least for me, to how certain things might have been reworded to ebb and flow a bit more naturally.
Overall, I really liked this story and would recommend it to fans of YA dystopian or sci fi, particularly those who prefer a quick read. From how this ends, I’d say there’s plenty to look forward to in the next two books.

amazon-KU-free-button2Reg. Kindle Price $0.99Trish Finished

The review copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About Jen Castleberry

Jen CastleberryJen 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.

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