Scott Baron (author) and Vivienne Leheny (narrator) bring the third exciting audiobook in “The Clockwork Chimera” series to our listening ears in “Daisy’s Gambit”. Here the listener gets the pleasure of tagging along with Daisy and her rather odd team of helpers (AI, human, and alien) while they attempt to save to world and much more. The series has something for everyone to keeping them engaged, along with great storytelling and narration. There are spaceships, lunar bases, time travel and aliens blended together in a compelling story; all in about ten hours of audio. If you are one who likes a good space opera with elements of dystopian or apocalyptic genre thrown in, you will do good to not only pick up this audiobook, but the entire ongoing series.
The audiobook opens in the middle of a firefight where the previous book left off. We have many of the same characters and we welcome a few new additions as well. Sarah, Freya, and Vincent along with many AI counterparts are here to take back what was theirs. In the first couple of chapters, the author does a good job of providing prologue details which help the listener put thing into context. The team is still battling the hostel Chithid forces and needs to protect themselves from the powerful alien loyalist groups. The team needs to work with Earth’s computer systems that were not infected during the first assault while also trying to get to Colorado which becomes quite the journey. Daisy will need to lead all her forces to prevent the Earth falling completely into the enemy’s hands, or destroy it trying to save it. Daisy utilizes her newly gained weapon which was genetically engineered just for her; I’m jealous. As the story unfolds, we see there are so many lies and so much distrust across all the characters that everyone questions everyone else’s actions and motives, yet they still understand there is a single objective that must be reached. The team’s hope of victory often changes to despair and then to not knowing their next moves as the story progresses. It is quite an emotional rollercoaster of a listen and you will feel a part of it along the way. Victory at such a cost is not something that is usually welcomed nor desired. If the early computer systems cannot be fixed, all hope may be lost.
What I like about Mr. Baron’s writing is the deep character development and consistent nature of those characters across the series. Although characters grow and change, their personalities remain the same throughout. I find his research and use of rather unique weapons and technology to be better than other works I have listened too. I find his ability to inject pop-culture references and slight retorts welcomed for an overall darker themed tale. The use of the two battling forces reminds me of Star Wars with the rebel and the alliance parties fighting for their respective sides, here in this story we have the rebels and the loyalists. Mr. Baron also does a good job of developing the worlds the listener is taken to in the audiobook. I felt the scenes are well described and there are quite a few of them.
Switching to the audiobook’s narration, I can say that I have been enjoying Vivienne Leheny professional quality and consistency along with a few of the audio effects she adds. Her voice is smooth and enjoyable to listen to. She does a good job of voicing the many human and non-human characters. Here again, she is very consistent with the voicing and inflections of the characters as the series grows. I do not recall any noticeable artifacts with the audio such as swallowing, background noise, etc. Just clean and crisp professionally produced material.
For parents and younger listeners, this audiobook, along with the previous ones in the series, contain a fair amount of vulgar language. There are also some rather dark themes and graphic violence which may not be appropriate for younger listeners. This series is more for mature audiences as it also contains some adult subject matter found nearer the end of the book. If any of these easily offend you, I would recommend you not listen to the series.
In summary, the audiobook continues to be a bit darker than Mr. Baron’s “Dragon Mage” series, yet it feels like there is more depth and complexity to the story. I enjoy the author’s story telling abilities along with his capacity to keep a consistent plotline over the books released thus far. The narration was clean, but it does have some special effects which I know a few people do not enjoy in their audiobooks. Again, if you are looking for a science fiction story with a dystopian bend, I would suggestion you give this audiobook a listen.