Battle for Cascadia - Kenneth G. Bennett
I won this book and the first book, The Gaia Wars in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway in order to give an honest review.

In general for the series:

The main character, Warren and his friends maybe 13 but that doesn't mean this series is just for kids. I thoroughly enjoyed these books and highly recommend this series to everyone from tweens to adults of all ages.

This is a mash up of genres with fantasy/sci-fi/adventure/action elements with suspense, true friendship, bullies, coming of age and a first crush. The mix isn't sluggish or choppy, it flows naturally encompassing everyone and everything in its path. The suspense in the first book is trying to figure out who is who and who to trust while in the second book it's all about wondering what is going to happen next. Sure, there's things that can be easily guessed at and expected but really while reading I was completely caught up in the story. It doesn't matter to me if others found the plot to be formulaic or unsurprising. The reason why such tracts become popular and standard is because when done well it's a great ride. That's exactly what we have here. The combination of Gaia hypothesis, Native American myths, and the alien contact is certainly different than anything I've read, even if it doesn't turn genres on its head completely. It is just done so very well and I was thoroughly entertained.

I loved the writing and the style. I could easily imagine everything and really become fully immersed in the book. The descriptions of nature alone are awe inspiring. The covers and title fronts are beautiful and it really gets across the feel of the book. It's tightly wound around the characters, the setting, the few days, these events take place going into detail and doesn't wander off course. It's an easy, quick read that just doesn't let you put it down til the last page.
To review Battle for Cascadia by itself is tricky. It has all the great elements from the first book with a few new tantalizing toppings. It's hard since there's not much to say about this book that wouldn't be a spoiler of some sort. It picks right up from the end of The Gaia Wars and just keeps the break-neck pace up through to the end. It's all action. It answers a few of the questions from book one and heaps more to pile as well.

If you've been hooked in by The Gaia Wars then reviews won't make a difference since you're going to need to find out how the story continues regardless. Just get a copy and read it! You won't be disappointed.

If you hadn't been hooked in by The Gaia Wars and are wondering if you should give this book a shot....well, I don't know what to say. I can't imagine that happening personally. This book is definitely the twin of its predecessor. Both books could be combined into one and it would work flawlessly. The main differences are things like character progression and answers to questions, which is given just due to the passage of pages. Todd Jr.'s position is explored, he grows as a person and it has a stunning conclusion. Warren grows as well, though on a different track. We get to know Ina, Achak and Thaddus better to really connect with them, which will cause some extreme emotions as the tale unfolds. There's even a surprise addition to the gang and a twist that causes another cliff hanger ending. It's written in the same detailed descriptions that capture people, nature and fights so well. It has the same atmosphere and feel as the first book while exploring the layers to get more depth. It's better than the first book because it stays true to the original elements and builds upon it. I don't have any instances of questions or minor nit-picks like I did with the first book, which means there weren't any or I was so involved that I didn't notice The only irritating thing about this book is the same with the first : cliff hanger endings. It's well done and is standard in a trilogy but damn is it annoying to be left hanging on the precipice of great happenings. There isn't even a title or date for the third book that I could find anywhere, which makes me grumpy and sad.

If you're looking into Battle for Cascadia because you don't want to start The Gaia Wars without knowing if the series is worth it, then you're in luck! I covered that in my review for The Gaia Wars. It really is worth it.