What a pleasure it has been to continue with the wonderfully written “Dragon Mage” series by Scott Baron. This audiobook review covers the fifth audiobook in the series, and I can only say that Charlie’s adventures get even more complex and vast as things progress. In “Star Fighter Charlie”, Baron has done an exceptional job of taking a science fiction and fantasy-based series and blending together both technology and magic where one begins to believe them to be equally important. And, in this book, it becomes evident that the master of both of these powerful skills will become the victor; it is the only way to succeed and survive. As with the previous audiobooks, Gary Bennett does a magnificent job with the narration and I can say that I’m happy he has continued to be the voice and personality of Charlie and the multitude of others. If you enjoy great story telling and superb narration, I highly recommend you give this series and listen, you would not want to upset a dragon now, would you?
As with the other audiobook in the series, this one amps up the adrenalin quickly by placing the listener in the heat of battle with heavy action. Although the author includes some decent prologue information early in the book, be aware that one should listen to this series in order or you will not fully comprehend all that has taken place. There are multiple characters and alien races which could get confusing if you have no prior knowledge of previous events. The book does a wonderful job of including various AI (Artificial Intelligence) system along with some very unique alien races. What could a smart toaster do to assist Charlie? You might be surprised when you listen to this story.
Let me say that this book felt vaster and more galactic in scale because many of the characters take numerous jumps to various systems in route to their final destination where they come across many newer and different inhabitants. While a number of others remain back on Earth and the nearby moon base trying to keep things in check. The story forks in to two different parties, those traveling and those not. However, I liked that both groups had important roles to play impacting the outcome of not only themselves but the others as well. It was fun to travel to distant worlds and see new things in one chapter and then be brought back to Earth to see what is going on there.
The other audiobooks in the series were a bit more humorous and light-hearted. Here, we begin to see a darker side to the story. There is a taking of sides including rebels, loyalists, and even some aspects of terrorism woven into the story. We even see the different forces implement FUD (Fear, uncertainty, and doubt) as a part of the campaign to win this ever-increasing fight. Charlie knows that he will fail if he is unable to win over one of the alien species to assist in his goal. What I found interesting was the ever-increasing use of magic and technology from Charlie. In earlier audiobooks from the series, Charlie was all about the importance of technology and in later audiobooks we see him hone his magical stills. Yet, in this book we see him putting both these skills to use, and you will begin to see why it is necessary. Here is what I enjoy most about Scott Baron’s writing, he makes this blending seem effortless and believable.
Like with other audiobooks in this series, there are the regular band of characters which have been with Charlie from the beginning along with some newer races or characters introduced along the way. Another thing I like about the author’s writing is his ability to build close relationships between characters which do not feel forced or planned. We also see how important each individual character is to the story and their required skill for success. Not only do we have the regular banter between these characters, but there are some more serious and emotional moments as well. Charlie and his friends learn the importance of sacrifice and how the many are more valuable than the one. Even though Charlie is the main character, he understands the significance of using all who are willing to fight this new foe, and this even means leveraging a different race willing to be at his side. I do not want to give away too much, but if you are also a fan of Scott Baron’s “The Clockwork Chimera” series, you will start to see a tie-in with Daisy’s timeline and story; what a wonderful surprise.
The audiobook’s narration by Gary Bennett was solid and professionally produced as all of the series has been thus far. The audio itself was clean of any artifacts such as background noise. However, I did notice a few slight audio plugs/edits, but it was not something that took away from the story. It amazes me that Mr. Bennett is able to maintain the many character’s voices over the series, and I would not have Charlie sound any different than he does. I’m always excited to have a narrator stick with a series, so thank you for this.
For parents and younger listeners, please note there is a fair amount of vulgar language in this series. There are also a few crud jokes and light sexual references mixed in. Nothing that is overly inserted into the story line, but it is there. This book in the series does have a few more subjects that may not be appropriate for very young readers (war, terrorism, etc.) but nothing that is not found in many other works of science fiction.
In summary, I found the tie in with Mr. Baron’s other series fun and welcoming. The story is still interesting and felt much larger than previous ones due to the amount of space travel and flashbacks to events on Earth. The narration was outstanding with only a few slight places where edits were necessary. It is a great series and one that I would recommend to people who like a blending of tech and magic in their stories. Well worth jumping in the series if any of this sounds interesting.