Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Release Announcement: The Battle of Castle Nebula (Review + Giveaway)

Can you believe it's been six months since the Five Glass Slippers blog tour? One of our guests during that fun shindig was Stephanie Ricker, author of one of the five stories that made it into that Cinderella collection.

Well, it's my pleasure to help announce a new story from Stephanie, which releases today! Better yet, this novella features some of the same main characters from A Cinder's Tale (an engaging sci-fi retelling). This series will include both past and future tales, starring Elsa, Bruno, Karl, and the rest of the cinder crew. Here's the official scoop on Volume 1:

She has nothing left, not even her dreams. But Elsa Vogel still has her duty, and she will do it, no matter the peril, no matter the anguish in her heart as she leaves her ravaged home planet, perhaps never to return.

And the same tragedy that tore Elsa’s life to pieces also transformed the lives of others. Others who may need a reason to go on living, after the cataclysmic Battle of Castle Nebula…

The Battle of Castle Nebula ebook is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Don’t have an e-reader? Not a problem. Amazon offers a free Kindle app for almost every device.

Stephanie Ricker is a writer, editor, and tree-climber. She adores the cold and the snow but lives in North Carolina anyway, where she enjoys archery, hiking, and exploring with friends.

Stephanie’s first novella set in the Cendrillon universe, A Cinder’s Tale, was published in Five Glass Slippers, an anthology of Cinderella-themed stories. Stephanie’s fiction has also been published in Bull-Spec, a magazine of speculative fiction, and in four consecutive editions of The Lyricist, Campbell University’s annual literary magazine. Her senior thesis on Tolkien was published in the 2009 issue of Explorations: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity for the State of North Carolina.

Find out more by following Stephanie Ricker at her blog, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter

My Review

This first volume of "The Cendrillon Cycle" takes us back in time (well, the future for us, but the past for the characters from Stephanie Ricker's novella in the Five Glass Slippers collection, A Cinder's Tale). Not only does the story begin in Elsa's past, but partway through it jumps back into the past again, to ten years prior and the lead-in to the Battle of Castle Nebula.

Suffice it to say, it would be good to come to this story with the knowledge that 1) you're getting some of the back story from Ricker's first novella, and 2) you'll be doing a bit of time travel during the reading experience.

With those caveats in mind, fasten your safety belts and prepare for a battle of galactic proportions!

Truth be told, when I began the story, I wasn't sure if I wanted to finish it. There's a wild beginning with some animal-related gore, and while the action caught my attention, I didn't think this sci-fi tale was going to be for me. I never did become overly emotionally invested, but I'm glad I kept reading, because the characterization shines.

Not to mention Ricker's world-building. I'm not a Trekkie or a Star Wars fan (do those fans have their own cool name like Star Trek fans?), but Ricker's inventions are graspable to a certain degree, while still being incomprehensible enough to be cool and futuristic. (Well, that sounded very intelligent, didn't it?)

But it's the people traveling in the spacecraft and using the new technology - their stories, their trials and heartbreaks - that make Ricker's stories accessible and enjoyable to those who aren't normally sci-fi readers. This particular set of scenes is rather battles are wont to be. War is no respecter of persons, and no character is left unscathed by the trauma.  

This is no light-hearted romp through deep space, but it's not without hope. And the ending brings everything together in a satisfying and optimistic way, leading fluidly into A Cinder's Tale. These are characters you'll love to meet up with again in Ricker's debut novella and in Volume 2 of the series, set to release December 2015.

*With thanks to the author for providing me with a PDF copy of the book, in exchange for my honest opinion.*



Rissi said...

Sounds like a fun kind of read. I'm not much "into" sci-fi/space books so this one might be a cool read. Plus, I'm sure it's wonderfully written by a talented new author. :)

Laura Pol said...

Great review! I'll have to read it before reading her other novella!

Amber Stokes said...


Stephanie is definitely talented. :) This might not be a "fun" read in a comedic sort of sense (as the story is more dramatic and sobering), but it is "fun" in the sense of traveling to a different world and getting to know some interesting personalities! I hope you enjoy this sci-fi if you give it a try. :) And thanks for checking out my review!


Amber Stokes said...


Thank you! And yeah, I'm sure it would be neat to read this one first and get some of the history. :) It can also work the other way, in that it's intriguing to see the history of characters you already love. Either way, you should definitely check out A Cinder's Tale and the rest of the Five Glass Slippers collection! :)