How to Pick Up Women with a Drunk Space Ninja

The Adventures of Duke LaGrange, Book 1
By: Jay Key
Narrated by: Will Tulin
Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: Fiction, Humor
4.5 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bounty hunters. Ninjas. Anthropomorphic musk oxen from the moons of Gartosh. Welcome to the gut-busting universe of Duke LaGrange! 

When bounty hunter Duke LaGrange and his oft-inebriated Japanese-Irish ninja companion, Ishiro’shea, entered their favorite watering hole, Cyborg Joe’s Grill N’ Go & The Why Not Saloon, they had no idea that they would soon be gobbled up by an unhinged astral anomaly and deposited on an uncharted primitive world. Few things are worse than undeveloped planets, especially those that haven’t even made it to the soufflé stage. To top it off, this particular planet comes with its own insane ruler and an Orb That Controls Everything and Must Be Respected. The bounty hunting duo will need to navigate a violent rebellion, flying fire-breathing panthers, and mutated swamp cannibals in order to avoid being stranded light years from the nearest well-made martini. 

How to Pick Up Women with a Drunk Space Ninja is the first book in The Adventures of Duke LaGrange, a series of hilarious sci-fi adventure romps from the creative mind of Jay Key. You are sure to fall in love with Key’s menagerie of colorful characters and laugh-out-loud storytelling talents.

©2018, 2019 Jay Key (P)2019 Jay Key

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Read the books, now got the audio!

I have read all of the Duke LaGrange books. They are some of my favorite sci fi books, along with Space Team and Hard Luck Hank. I think they represent the new era of sci fi comedy (can we be done with the Hitch Hiker's Guide love finally?). I listened to this via a free code so I didn't pay for it but I will be if he does the 2nd and 3rd books. The 2nd book is the best.

My family is from Japan so I do like that one of the main characters is a ninja--but, in my wildest dreams, I never would have thought of an Irish-Japanese ninja. So weird. So good.

Sayonara,
Tetsuyo

11 people found this helpful

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Laughs, Action, and a Mute Ninja!

I heard about the Duke LaGrange books when I visited WorldCon in Dublin, Ireland--I am obviously a huge fan of the sci-fi genre but I do love a good soft sci-fi comedy every now and then. I heard Key speak and really enjoyed his insight and was able to score one of the free promo codes that his publisher was offering. I am not an audiobook person (didn't even have an Audible account) but I listened to it on the flight back and fell in love.

**Spoilers to follow**

First off, it's a comedy--which is very subjective--but, fortunately, his humor clicked with mine. It was witty and zany but not too slapstick/fart joke-y. At the core, it was a very good story. It wasn't necessarily groundbreaking but it was well crafted and fast-paced. If you are a sci-fi reader and what to understand how things work or the subtle nuances of interstellar government or how a ship can fit into a throne room, this is not for you--but you probably know that by reading the title.

Second, it reads as more of a fantasy adventure in space than a sci-fi/space opera--and I was okay with that. From the opening scene at Cyborg Joe's to the interstallar dogfight with the two-headed prince to the final trek back, there was enough "space" in it to meet the sci-fi benchmark. I think the author understands the fantasy genre, at least the adventure genre, quite well. The action scenes were well described but didn't drag (a personal pet peeve of mine is when the you can't tell what's going on in a brawl or melee).

Third, the characters are the best. Duke is believable as a space rogue that has his priorities all wrong; a bit of a scoundrel but a bit of a good guy. His arc is not totally unpredictable but crafted nicely. Ishiro'shea is a great addition. I have never read a main character that is entirely mute (even though it's by choice) and Key did a nice job of keeping him fresh despite only communicating in thumbs up, eye rolls, and head nods. But where the book exceeds others in its sub-genre is with the side characters. There are a lot! But Earl the barkeep (narrator does a great voice), Orbius, The Keeper, and Vernglet Wip are very memorable. I absolutely adored the arc of Wip. I didn't see it coming!

Fourth, the Deus Ex Machina ship is hilarious. Most writers try and avoiding writing themselves into corners but Key did it on purpose to showcase this zany, plot defying ship's prowess. I loved it! The manual is so fun!

Fifth and finally, though the title does convey it being from a male point of view, the author builds a world of gender agnosticism and equality. The most powerful being in the universe is a woman and the character that actually saves Neprius from evil is a women. I don't know if that was intentional but it juxtaposes nicely versus the title. I wonder if the title is more good (you know it's not a serious book) or bad (it may dissuade folks by conveying a chauvinistic tone).

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fun, enthusiastic work of the narrator. I loved it.

8 people found this helpful

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Action-Adventure in Space - Really Good

I'm not a big sci-fi fan (or audiobook listener), I like it okay, but I received a promo code for this book so gave it a shot. It was a great adventure story with lots of action. I think its probably more of an action-adventure piece set in a "not super serious universe" than a straight up comedy but there are funny moments. I feel there is a real story here and he's not just jumping from joke to joke. This made it easier for me since I don't read every sci-fi that comes out.

Besides Duke, the Queen was my favorite character. I hope she appears more in the other books.

Great performance by the narrator too. I could probably have a beer with that guy.

7 people found this helpful

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This is a must listen!

The story and the narration both excel in this sci-fi adventure (actually, more of a sci-fantasy). It has a very pulp-y feel but you can tell that the writer knows what he's doing. Love the characters, love the pacing, and love the story. I thought a ninja that doesn't talk would get old but it never does. I thought yet another "scoundrel" bounty hunter would just be a cookie cutter retread but it wasn't. I don't even know where to place this book from a genre standpoint: it's sillier than Space Team but not as over-the-top as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it's more pulp-y than an A. Lee Martinez or John Scalzi story and it's more space opera-y than Hard Luck Hank or anything from Scott Meyer (yes, I know that's more fantasy) or Michael Rubens. Regardless, I would love to have a beer with Duke LaGrange.

I am eagerly awaiting books 2 and 3 on audio.

I have to give a big shout out to the narrator--he is wonderful and utterly perfect for this story.

13 people found this helpful

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Character-driven book that pokes fun at SF tropes

Okay, this is not very space-y but has a lot of the "pew pew" space opera tropes mixed in with laughter and a touch of fantasy. The plot is solid (not overly unique) but the characters and narration are second to none. I like this over a few of the other science fiction comedy books because this one doesn't try too hard and its more of a satire on sci-fi. I actually emailed the author and he shared some inside baseball on how he poked fun at sci-fi tropes like having a million aliens with cliche naming conventions (apostrophes, etc.). I have already purchased the second audiobook (I got this one with a code) and its converting me into an audiobook listener. I would say that the story really hits its stride about 1/3 into the book and then it cruises. Funny, well-written, lots of action, great characters.

5 people found this helpful

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New Favorite Sci-Fi Series

I have a new favorite sci-fi series! This is the right parts adventure and wack-a-doo-ness. I really like the author's wordplay and colorful descriptors. The characters are always front-and-center and the story had me guessing. I mean who doesn't love anthropomorphic musk oxen and magic orbs and whiny priest aliens and ninjas.

On the narration side, it's exceptional. The publishing company did a great job finding the right voice to bring this to life.

5 people found this helpful

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fun scifi

Pretty good book for fun light hearted scifi adventure think hard luck hank or space team. Worth a credit if you have one to spend.

4 people found this helpful

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Good Story

It was a good story and narated well. I thought parts could have come off funnier, almost as if a comedic character were missing. There was enough there that I would get the next one if it comes out on audiobook.

4 people found this helpful

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SciFi Space adventuring and Fantasy Worldbuilding

The narrator was great, especially with making distinct voices. Plenty of action and humor. I'll definitely but the next in the series (if there is one).

9 people found this helpful

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What a fun ride

I can't express how much I enjoyed this book. I'm really looking forward to book 2. Duke Lagrange is equal parts Gus McCrae, Han Solo, and Humphrey Bogart.
I found How to Pick Up Women with a Drunk Space Ninja a funny original take on the genre while still giving a slight nod to classics like the work of Douglas Adams.
I'm very picky about the narration of audio books. A bad narrator can ruin what would be an otherwise great book. This was not the case at all here. Will Tulin is one of my favorites and he gives a masterful performance here.
Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-20

Just couldn't get into it

Nice concept of story and the first chapter was good. but there was a lack of character progression and I didn't find the humour people had mentioned in other reviews.

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  • Super K
  • 11-11-19

Free Promo Code

Received a free promo code.

Great book. Very funny. Good adventure. Already picked up the second book (paperback / no audio).