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Combat Wizard

The Wizards Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Matthew Berry
Series: The Wizards Series (Knapp), Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
4 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An experimental training program produces a psychokinetic, a man who can move objects by mental power alone. He has other abilities as well.

But is he too powerful?

What if the Special Talents decide to go their own way?

©2013 Jack L Knapp (P)2017 Jack L Knapp

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Story & narration could use some polish

This tale is a slow start but it establishes the magic system for the story. The military has trained a select few to use their ESP skills. T is skilled in psychokinetics and has also developed a kind of defensive shield that makes him hard to kill. He meets a few other special people and together they discover that the military has installed a kill button in each of them, making it tricky for them to disappear and deadly to disobey orders.

The story felt like a final draft, needing a few things addressed. T goes on and on about the need to keep his special skills secret yet he does spill his guts a few times without much reason. Chezzy (not sure on spelling) and Surfer become his special telepath buddies as each of them makes plans to extricate themselves from this military program. Yet each character takes actions that feel a bit sudden and don’t have strong motivations, making the plot a little jarring at times.

A good chunk of the story takes place in the desert Southwest, which I liked. Our heroes investigate the possibility of surgically removing the kill button, and that means plenty of time in El Paso and Juarez. They also hide out in the Jemez (New Mexico).

There are few women in the story, Chezzy being the chief among them. She starts off as a sex object, but then gets a little role. Her character grows a bit and then she goes right back to being the romantic interest. Obviously I would have liked to see more women in the story, and doing stuff other than being romantic interests.

As the tale progresses, each of the characters gets a little whiny, creating some emotional drama for themselves, which spurred the plot onward. It was more than I needed and I started to lose interest. The story ends with some things wrapped up but a few bigger issues open, ready for a sequel. 3/5 stars.

The Narration: Matthew Berry’s narration could use some polishing. He has a good voice for T and did well with T’s various emotions throughout the story. Berry mispronounces several words throughout the story, including various military terms (brigadier) and Spanish words (Juarez). Admittedly, this drove me a little crazy. His pacing was slow, so I sped up the playspeed. Berry does have a good female voice for Chezzy. This is one of Berry’s earlier narrations and I recently listened to one of his latest narrations (Trail of Blood) and there is improvement. 3/5 stars.

I received a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

this book was given to me at my request for review

I really enjoyed listening to this book the way E.S.P. was used along with the other mind works was very interesting. the best part was getting the micro chip out of T's neck. was saddened by the death of his friend.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bland performance but serviceable

An interesting listen but some mispronunciations (more-tar?) and the generally banal reading took me out of the story.

There is an air of mystery and discovery about the abilities on display but those seem to have been shuffled to the second book.

The use of an echoplex to differentiate normal speech from telepathic communication is very clever.

I’m intrigued enough to kindle the second book but the performance on display lacks the kind of luster I’ve come to expect from audible.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very poor narration almost like speech impediment

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Either learn how to pronounce military terms correctly, or choose a different genre. A vocal coach or editor was seriously needed on piece, it was like Mr. Berry wasn't even trying.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Matthew Berry?

James Patrick Cronin, Luke Daniels, R.C. Bray, Jonathan Davis, Tom Lenno

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Combat Wizard?

none it's unabridged

Any additional comments?

I realize that the more popular narrators cost more, but for audio you get what you pay for. I have enjoyed most of the authors written works to date. The military commentary and southwest references (Ft Bliss/El Paso, and New Mexico) are spot on.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not a bad story, but PLEASE find a better narrator

Narrator reads very bland, and needs to learn and understand the terminology and nomenclature used in the story he's trying to read. Story line was good, but was constantly being distracted by poor narration.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Taylor
  • Taylor
  • 06-20-19

Intriguing story not quite hitting the mark

General Thoughts
The title of the book is a bit misleading. I was expecting a urban fantasy with magic but in reality it has more of a sci-fi as the talents are more ESP (Extrasensory perception) such as telepathy, telekinesis and psychokinesis. The pacing seemed to be a bit jumpy and there was large time jumps and sections felt rushed.

Story - 6
America starts training individuals who show ESP talents. Their aim is have people who can read thoughts of terrorists in foreign countries. The main protagonist is T who's telepathic skills are weak but he has other ESP skills which interest the organisation. After much training and investment he is deemed a failure. To cut their losses they send him out to an army base in Afghanistan to see if he can be of any use there. T finds out from another previous trainee (Surfer) that most of the Espers from his class have been killed and that they have been implanted with a mini bomb as a failsafe. Surfer tells T of a military nurse in the same army camp who has ESP but was never identified by the organisation. They meet and plan to escape from the military base. Once escaped they travel to Southwest America laying low while working out how to remove the mini bomb from T.

Characters - 6
I liked T and the nurse (Chezy) to start with as they were fairly relatable. T was showing symptoms of PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) which made him more of a complex character as he was flawed. Later on they both became a little bit whiny. Also some of their actions seemed a little weird. In the end I started caring less about the characters which meant my interest in the story started to falter a little.

The Narration - 7
Matthew Berry does a okay job with the narration. I believe this is one of his earlier works as I've listened to Trail of Blood which was a more polished performance.

Wrap Up
The combination of ESP and military is quite an interesting subject but didn’t quite live up to the potential. This often felt like a final draft with some areas that needed padding out. It built up for a sequel without ever having much of interest actually happen.I might give the second book a try to see if it builds on the elements I enjoyed.

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