“Daisy’s War” is the fifth and last book in the “Clockwork Chimera” series and what a ride it has been. I will miss Daisy and her combined crew of humans and AIs. If you want more of her, make sure you listen to the author’s Dragon Mage series as many of them are in this audiobook series as well. The entire series has been a pleasure to listen to in audio format and I feel that the conclusion to the series did not disappoint. The author (Scott Baron) did a wonderful job of telling an engrossing story with plenty of action, fighting and science fiction fun. The audiobook narration was skillfully performed by Vivienne Leheny who has nearly ninety titles under her belt on Audible at the time of this review. Both the story and the narration just seemed to fit well together like a hand in a glove. If you are seeking a new series to start, I would highly-recommend this audiobook; along with the entire series as well.
What I enjoy most about the author’s stories is that they all flow well, each have a purpose, and the characters are rather well defined and dimensional. Things are no different with this finale. There are struggles, friendships and even some emotional parts that make the story feel alive and more like watching a movie or television episode. Here in this final chapter of the series, we continue to see that war is difficult, and it can take time to plan and prepare for it. We also see that with war, there are high risks and even greater consequences in losing. We continue to appreciate Daisy growing in her skills, but this audiobook additionally focuses quite a bit on Freya’s learning and maturing as an AI. Along with that, we are given a deeper view into Sarah’s development and expansion within the story. In this book, we have a few surprises of returning characters while some are lost forever. I would not want to give anything away; sorry no spoilers. For those who enjoyed “stabby”, he is back as well; and just as powerful.
The author’s ability to develop the various character’s relationships is something I often do not find in this genre. We see that Daisy and Sarah’s relationship grows closer along with many of the various AI and loyalists. Bonds that have been created feels like something more than just co-workers. Instead, you get a sense of what those in battle face and that only they understand what one another is going through. There is also a dependency upon the many others to ensure a positive outcome. You have humans, AIs and rebel aliens willing to stand together against their common foe. If anyone aspect in their great plan fails, the entire plan fails; and all will be lost. You can really feel the tension even without it being directly called out by the author. Add to this the issue of each side having spies, and the amount of deception and intrigue grows deeper. Misdirection and misinformation are the keys to winning any war, and this is leveraged quite a bit to both sides advantage.
Here in this audiobook, the author blends in aspects of humor or lighter materials to break up the continued focus upon war. We have even some classic saying such as not wanting to be a bee filled pinata; ouch. We also have the same teasing between characters found in previous books. Like many of the previous audiobooks in the series, this one also contains pop culture references to a few movies and witty portions that make you smile while listening. There are times when the listener rides an emotional rollercoaster as cohorts fall in battle. Yet, we still have elements of romance, AI improvements, and many other tasks that keep us engaged as the battle rages on. I can say that this book contained more action and plotting then the previous books, but again, this is war and what most of the previous books were leading up to this point.
The audiobook’s narration is what I have come to expect from Vivienne Leheny after listening to a number of books in the series. She is a professional in her ability to voice the many characters along with some added audio effects when a few of the characters are conversing. The reading pace was decent and the volume consistent. Apart from a few audio patches/plugs, the rest of the narration was professionally performed. I have enjoyed her voicing the characters throughout the series as that provides some consistency across the series.
Parents and younger listeners, as with the previous books in the series, the author does include a fair amount of vulgar language. There is also a fair amount of mature/adult banter and innuendos used in a few places that I would not recommend the series for younger listeners.
In summary, nearly half of this book focuses on the very large battle the group faces. There is still a good amount of jesting and humor along with the aspect of some additional time travel. The characters are well defined, the story is well rounded, and the flow feels more like a TV series or movie as the author does a good job of painting the environment using descriptive words. The narration is solid, and the character felt they had their own voice and personalities. The audio had a few slight plugs, but nothing that would keep me from listening. If you are seeking a shorter space opera series and you desire good story telling, I would recommend you pick up this series.