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Bad Luck Charlie

The Dragon Mage, Book 1
Narrated by: Gary Bennett
Series: The Dragon Mage, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (277 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Charlie Gault had all the luck. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the good kind.  

It was looking like Lady Luck had quite a grudge against him. In fact, at this point merely crashing the multi-billion-dollar ship he had helped design would have felt like winning the lottery compared to his current dilemma. If only he were so lucky. Things had started off all right - that is, until a freak wormhole unexpectedly swallowed his ship, leaving him stranded on an unknown planet far, far from home.   

With the crew’s lives at stake, Charlie had no choice but to stop his whining, put on his big boy pants, and step up to save them all, and much to his surprise, it actually looked like he might succeed. Of course, that was when things really went sideways in ways that made merely crashing on an uncharted planet seem like a walk in the park.  

Suddenly, faced with alien space pirates, talking dragons, and something that seemed very much like magic, Charlie found himself adrift, feeling like a space age Robinson Crusoe - only his man Friday was a blue-skinned alien, and this wasn't just a desert island. It was a whole new galaxy.

©2019 Scott Baron (P)2019 Scott Baron

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unlike Anything I’ve Read Before

I really went into Bad Luck Charlie blind. I didn’t know much about it. It’s the first book in a series and the first book by Scott Baron I’ve ever read. The cover gives you some idea (much more once you’ve read the story and understand all of the things on it). But to describe the story – it’s about a lost man, Charlie, who isn’t really trying to find his way home as much as he’s trying to figure out how to survive. Also, he has bad luck… shocker! The beginning was basically a normal every day science fiction story. And by the end, it’s this bizarre fantasy/sci-fi mash-up with a bunch of other things thrown in for good measure.

This one was a weird but intriguing story. Every time I thought I had it figured out it would change a bit more. I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe it (without spoiling anything) and I really can’t. It’s bizarre in a good way and definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

I found myself getting more and more into the story as it progressed and there was only one minor thing that slightly irked me. More than a few times at the end of a chapter Baron would say something like “Charlie got so lucky.” And then the opening of the next chapter was “Charlie wasn’t lucky at all.” It’s interesting and definitely done to try and throw the reader off – but it was done so many times that it started to bother me more than make me unsure of what was to come.

I need to point out that this was the first book I listened to that Gary Bennett narrated and I thought he did a great job. He was able to take on the roles that were given to him and the different species but did it in a way that was pleasing to the ear instead of annoying. Kudos to him for that.

So, overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely want to continue the series. Baron did a good job of showing a little of what’s to come from the series without giving it completely away. I hope that Baron and Bennett work together more in the future (especially on this series).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly Recommend!!!!!!!

This was a great book. There was a lot of set up, but it never got boring and it has a lot of potential. I will definitely read more as it comes out. To be honest if the rest would have been out I would have blown my audible budget for the month. Highly recommend!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sience-fiction-like fantasy

Charlie is a man of science, and one of his major accomplishments is having built a rocket. Little did he know that he also had to fly in it, a task for which he was not mentally prepared. But he did not only fly it, he also got lost with the rest of the crew in another galaxy, far away from home. As the title mentions, Charlie is not lucky, and he will face new situations, each darer than the previous one.

I was curious about this book after the reviews I read, and they were right, this is something different from anything else I have read before. I have to say that I thought about two books while I was listening to it: Gulliver’s Travels, because Charlie’s travels have very differentiated phases, a bit Deus Ex Machina like. It also made me think of The Dragon and the George, by Gordon R. Dickson, excellent fantasy book in which a man of science is trapped in a dragon’s body (it was also an inspiration for the famous movie The Flight of Dragons).

I had the same issues as Charlie at first. Probably the beginning of the book made me think that this was going to be a science-fiction story, even though the series title indicated otherwise. I found the world, actions, and its inhabitants a bit naive, a bit like if I were reading a children’s story or an old book like Gulliver’s Travels.

The feeling improved after a while, and perhaps I, like Charlie, was ready to believe in magic in a science-fiction book. It was a very enjoyable story, and Charlie grew in me. I am definitely looking forward to Charlie’s future adventures in this new world.

Gary Bennett did an excellent job creating the perfect atmosphere in this special world. He gave subtle difference voices and styles to every character, not overdoing it or interfering with the story, which I think it is something difficult in this kind of books. The only thing I missed was maybe a bit more expression when interpreting the characters, but I prefer this than overacting. Bennett has a pleasant voice, and the audio production was spotless.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow...

Wow!

I really enjoyed this book.

It has been a while since I have been floored by a story to this degree!

The story was great, and the narration was spot on!!!

The MC is a brainy engineer working on an experimental spaceship, and he winds up in a universe powered by magic. Shenanigans ensue.

The struggle, strife, and pain is real.

Well worth a credit.

I received a free copy of this audio book for an honest review.

I don't normally gush in my reviews, but this book is seriously awesome - you should buy it

I can't wait for the next book in the series!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Greatly exceeded my expectations!

This story was so fun! Charlie had one hell of an adventure, I can’t wait to see where it takes him next!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Favorite sci-fi/magic book this year!

Holy cow, what a fun book! This is a perfect mix of sci-fi & magic (for me) that is literal non-stop from start to finish. I had a hard time finding a place to pause because there were hardly any points where you are like "ok, I'm cool to just stop here for a bit." NO, it's not ok and you must keep listening.

I laughed out loud tons of times, cringed with Charlie about the state of his surroundings, listened in suspense as he gets himself into mortal danger in what felt like about 4x a chapter. POOOOR CHARLIE! While he may be pretty smart, he's probably got the worst luck in the world...no, the universe. First everything goes explicitly wrong at his job right off the bat and he's (literally) flung into a completely different solar system. From here on out, Charlie is fighting/submitting constantly trying not to be killed for being a human, trying not to be killed as a slave, trying not to be killed as a pirate, trying not to be killed as a fugitive, trying not to be killed by dragons, trying not to be killed by gladiators AND dragons, and finally trying not to be killed or kill himself whilst riding on a dragon! Seriously, it's non-stop because Charlie's life seems to be ruled and shaped by Murphy's Law. Also somewhere in there he gets completely covered in raw sewage too, so he's also got that going for him. I will emphasis again: poor Charlie.

Gary Bennett’s narration is fantastic! His accents, character voices, & emotions have true individuality. He reads them so seamlessly that they seem natural - no problems knowing who is doing the talking. Gary brought Bad Luck Charlie to life for me; definitely a narrator that helps make a book series enjoyable. I actually went straight to audible to immediately buy the next book in The Dragon Mage series but it wasn't out yet - but it is now! Bought it straight away.

I'm so glad I received this book, because it's been one of my favorites all year.

I received this audiobook from the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible Pacing, Weird Power Fantasy

The first hour or two is extremely fast paced, but then the story stalls out for the next 6 or so hours (about the middle 3/5 of the book), and nothing happens except Charlie is sold or captured back and forth between slave owners. The final 1/5 of the book feels incredible rushed and includes massive time skips over Charlie's training in spell usage and his gladiatorial combat.

It is incredibly disappointing, because this book is billed as, "Ex-military engineer falls into a world of magic", and only the front and back of the book contain any of that at all. The majority of the book is about a guy without any real defining characteristics other than not enjoying the life of a slave (shocker), and not believing the magic all around him is real.

On top of all that, some of the characters, namely the free men and slave owners come off as a weird slave-master power fantasy of the author sometimes, almost as if the book was written by a cringey DnD player who couldn't get a group to play with after being expelled for his overly detailed waifu. Further, several characters, including the main character despite his supposed hatred of his captivity, at multiple points bring up how good a life they have, and how really, "This master treats me so well, I could never have a job/life as good as this while free!"

The book starts out strong, with an interesting premise, and semi-excusable magic water mcguffin, but trails off into tedium, and disbelief.

SIDE NOTE: Total of 4 female characters, one of which is immediately executed, one has her brain wiped, one is a maid, and one is a fucking dragon healed by the main character.

Narrator has a tendency towards reading in a monotone, though does improve over the course of the book. Ultimately the book doesn’t give the narrator much to work with.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Different and Good!

Wow, this was amazing book. It was not what I expected but it was something better. It had some good twist and turns and made me want to keep listening to what would happen next, I was floor on how good it actually is!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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interesting genre blend

As a long time John Carter of Mars fan, this book struck me as a pleasant throwback to those stories but with a D & D sort of twist. Well done first book with enough loose ends to make me keep following the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't stop listening!

This book was great. It grabbed my attention and imagination and never let go. It has science, it has magic and most importantly it has dragons. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • 09-10-19

Great scifi/fantasy combination

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the Narrator in exchange for an honest review.
Which is this:

Bad Luck Charlie is an engrossing combination of science fiction and fantasy, encompassing space travel through wormholes, new planets, magic and, of course, dragons. The story is of Charlie and his crew as they crash land on an alien world and try to survive before being kidnapped by slave traders (well the title does mention his bad luck).

The book is populated with engaging and entertaining characters, with plenty of humour. The pace of the story is great, as Charlie progresses from lowly slave to something rather better (without giving details away) and I liked the descriptions of the alien's use of magic instead of technology. References are made to Arthur C Clarke's famous quote that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - which works both ways in this book - Charlie doesn't believe that the aliens' magic is not in fact a form of technology.

Gary Bennett does an excellent job narrating. He has a pleasant voice that I enjoyed spending time in the company of, with enough distinctive voices to enable the characters to be distinguished.

All in all this is a hugely entertaining story and I look forward to spending more time with these characters.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • MR J TOBIAS
  • 08-13-19

Ok but not great

Some good ideas but poorly done. Surprises are quite predictable and characters are pretty 2 dimensional

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt H.
  • 07-18-19

very good

not what I expected. this is a well told story that keeps you coming back for more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • frankmcgrotty
  • 12-09-19

Magic and Magical Charlie

At first I thought this book would be ok, not the science fiction I'm used to
But I must admit that it has surprised me to say the least, I could not put it down, a Galaxy full of aliens, and magic and wonders for a man from earth , Charlie new nothing of magic on earth.
Scott Baron you have brought magic to us through Charlie, I thank you, can't wait to get the next book.

I'm not great at writing Reviews so pls forgive me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen Oates
  • 10-01-19

a wonderful book

completely enjoyable, narrator is wonderful. love the mix of science fiction and fantasy, cannot wait to start the next book

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Selina ryles
  • 08-16-19

Nothing is as expected

This is the first book I have read / listened to by Scott Baron and to be honest I really didn't know what to expect as the cover dodnt give a lot away. I went into the book completely blind and was shocked by just how quickly I got caught up in the story. It was completely different to what I thought it would be in a good way. I love the humour within the chapter names and in some sense it reminded me of books such as hitchhiker's guide and discworld. Just the quirky humour contained within. Charlie is such a likeable character and you want him to succeed but he has to be the most luckiest people that has ever existed. Nothing is as expected so many twists and turns . it's just one of those books that has to be experienced first hand. I was given this book by the author/narrator in return for an honest and unbiased review

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HopSMRT Ltd.
  • 07-30-19

Enjoyable Unique sci-fi fantasy

Really enjoyed this unique sci-fi fantasy. Wasnt sure 1 hour in but the story picks up speed from there.
Charlie gets himself in to some entertaining situations and I found myself getting attached to the character.
The narration is good overall but there are some scenes early on that I found myself getting distracted. He does well with Charlie and his inner voice and some of the other occurring characters are done very well.
Will definitely be reading the next and suggest you give it a try.