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Publisher's Summary

Lee’s too wild for the military, but too good at his job to get rid of. The government's solution is to banish him to the outer planets until he’s deemed civilized. His latest attempt at rehabilitation has him signed on with an outpost colony.

He hates ranching. He hates taking orders from his boss. But he likes shooting aliens. Luckily, the planet he’s on is about to face a full blown infestation.

©2017 Stephan Morse (P)2017 Stephan Morse

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Good listen

I really enjoyed the narrator's voice. The story was short and decent. only two things I dislike are the little girl is supposed to be 10 but she speaks as if she is 6, and I dislike when they only use one narrator for both genders.

I received this audiobook free for an honest review. 

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Space Cowboy!

Lee's a former soldier, banished to an outpost planet to ranch the hilariously named beef clops. Everything in the colony is breaking down, and the raids on his herd by the local predators aren't helping Lee's temper. When two of the colony's residents go missing, Lee has the chance to relive his former glory and shoot up some aliens.

Sci-fi isn't my usual genre, but I'm really glad I picked this one up. God, it was funny, the beginning chapters had me cracking up and rewinding every few minutes. There's cursing, and explosions, and sex, and more cursing, and shooting, so if that's not your taste, steer clear. Lee is a foul-mouthed Clint Eastwood style space cowboy, and I loved it when he finally met his match. There's no wasted space in this read, the author sketched a lot of character into this novella. It was a huge change from his LitRPG Continue Online series, and I'd recommend them both.

The narration was great, Ben Tyler fit my image of Lee perfectly. He lightened his voice for the female characters, and his accents were perfect. I requested a copy of the audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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3.5* - would make a good series side-story

3.5* - This short story has received some mediocre reviews from others (including myself), but I think it's better-written than some of the full-length novels that I've read during the past year.

The first thing I need to do when I review short stories is to remind myself that it's a short story. Compared to full-length stories, I can't have high demands for world building, character development, plotting, tension-building, and so on. Also, it usually takes at least a few pages for me to find the rhythm of the writing, so I'm used to being a bit confused at the start of a story. This story had a bit of a confusing beginning, but I think it had more to do with the narration rather than the story itself.

I give 3.5* for the story, because I liked Stephan Morse's writing style. I liked that he returned to the 'three lights in the night' image, and I liked the 'a good soldier obeys orders' counterpoint to the main character's rebellious spirit and roughness and pure pleasure at shooting bad guys (alien parasites). I didn't give the story more stars, because I thought that we zig-zagged somewhat too abruptly into a pulpy sex scene and then just as abruptly right back out of it and into the story again. I just wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Also, I thought that the end of the Epilogue was a bit cheesy. As a stand alone short story, I would have liked the story to end before the Epilogue.

BUT.... if the author plans to write a full novel (or series) set in the future after these events, and Becky/Lee appear as a couple in that future novel (or series).... then I think this current short story (including the epilogue) will make wayyyy more sense and readers might embrace it more fully. Kind of like the 'Tales from...Mos Eisley Cantina (etc.)' short stories that are companion pieces to the no-longer-official Star Wars canon. Those short SW stories didn't stand alone, they added more flesh to the SW universe that I knew and loved. Anyway, I see good potential here that belies the mediocre 3.5 star rating that I gave this story... (I noticed that another reviewer gave a similar opinion, about this working better as an installment in a broader series - that opinion resonated with me and I've expanded it here.)

Regarding narration, I find myself in the unusual position of enjoying the narrator's character voices (except for the whiny little girl's) and not particularly liking the narrator's exposition voice. Usually it's the other way around -- the narrator's 'normal' voice is great but (in my opinion) they tend to mangle character voices. I'd be happy to listen to this narrator's character voices any time, but his normal voice for the story is a wee bit intense and macho for me to listen to for a long period of time. If he could have dialled it down a notch or two and made the little girl a little less whiny, I'd have given the narration 5*.

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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just ok

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

I think this one would have been better read than listened to, at least by this narrator. He has an amazing tone to his voice, but it just sounds like he's reading. It's very one dimensional, and lacked any emotion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Meh

The narration was off to me. Felt fast and chaotic and jumbled. Always dialed to eleven. I needed more variation in the tone and pauses for effect.
The story itself felt chaotic and mashed into a tiny box. Things felt rushed and other things felt out of place. This just wasn't for me. Wanted it to be but it wasn't.

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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Very entertaining and enjoyable

This is a short audio it is filled with a lot of good writing. Lee’s rehab isn’t going so well, he doesn’t like to listen to orders that he doesn’t agree with. He has a problem with standing down and wants to take control shooting as many aliens as he can which gets him more than he bargains for.

Mr Tyler kept me laughing with his different character voices. The cooks were something else. Lee is a very dry man but has a little humor what makes him more funnier is that he thinks his speaker is off and it isn’t. His boss female voice was great as well as the child’s. He gives you a wide range of tones and voices all are very different. It is very easy to know who is talking and what they are feeling. There is no background noises, no repeating of words and if any breaks were taken I could not tell. The volume never changed from one chapter to the next it was a very clean and clear audio that I really enjoyed. For me the narrator really bought the story to life, I had no trouble picturing the aliens or the characters trying to save their way of life as well as their life. He really did a wonderful performance.

The plot was good, the story very believable. I had no trouble buying into it. I loved the bricking between Lee and his boss. I would call it foreplay lol. I enjoyed the characters, loved the humor and really was hooked. There is a little romance not over powering but very nicely written. The author uses no fillers at all but gives the reader action from the start until the end. The ending was a little surprising but ends well. I would have liked it to have gone on a little longer to see how Lee’s boss took to the outcome but it was a good ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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IRON MAN SOLDIER SHOWS HIS STUFF

I was provided this audiobook through Audiobook Boom at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.

Inventive new frontier landscape with extremely likable players. The witty banter of Lee reminded me of, NOT Iron Man, but Hell Boy, with the glowing cigar and his glowering attitude. The sex scene he was, ahem, invited to, was seriously out of place in the story. It would have been a better opening scene that in the middle of an attack and evacuation. It served it’s purpose though, in establishing a connection that will no doubt be featured in upcoming books.

Stephan Morse used his words or time well in detailing his characters, the enemy inhabitants, and the survival situation. What he left out were descriptions that would enhance the visual atmosphere... of the planet, the structures and their surrounds. Although I would have liked a more vivid mental stage, the personalities of the players kept my interest and made the short story fun and refreshing.

Ben Tyler has a deep theatrical voice and narrated well.

Good introduction to a fresh new series.
ONE THUMB POINTING UP HIGH.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well...

This book would be great as a novella within a series. It's clear that there is a lot of world building that has gone into this book, possibly too much, I felt like the book was trying to accomplish too much too fast and kind of skimmed things that could have been very interesting. The patch idea for example shows lots of promise but it's coverage left me with lots of questions and very few answers.

I liked it, but it needed more substance.

The narration was OK, a bit forced in places, the character voices were distinct.

I received a free copy of this book from the author and/or narrator and/or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Frontier Ranching in Space

Lee is a semi-retired military man. The brass have sent to the backwater worlds to get him away, and he has joined a ranch as security. A difficult, gruff, constantly complaining man he hates his job and everything it entails, just hoping for the day when he can shoot something. When aliens attack the decision must be made - stay and defend, or fight their way out?

The story is fairly straight forward, telling of Lee's preparation and security set out on the ranch, setting up his relations to several other, the attack of the aliens, and then the response.

The characters and how they act doesn't really ring true. They all feel like caricature, rather than real characters. There isn't much time in a book this short to flesh out the characters, and some of their actions and discussions don't really make sense. Things like they were going to do a s staff meeting and roll call, then there is an explosion, and they continue to get together and do the roll call before investigating what the explosion was. It seems a strange, clam and unlikely way to respond to an explosion and potential alien invasion.

There is also an out of place sex scene right in the middle of the story. The idea of having a sex scene included isn't the problem, it's that it's position within the story (right when the characters should have a deadline and should be doing much more important things) seems strange. It felt like author Stephan Morse has a scene written and then just threw it into the story wherever, to create a bond between some characters, but it comes out of nowhere and just feel random.

The narration by Ben Tyler is a little mixed bag. His voices and characters are generally really good, but the base narration - between people speaking - doesn't sound right.

The cadence of the narration is off. There is no rest or slow down anywhere, even when people are saying this that should be relaxed or jovial. It feels like it is read full of energy, to make the story feel more intense. Everything is exciting! There needs to be room to breathe to make the more exciting moments exciting, but that isn't there in the narration. He glides over the dry wit in the narration without the winking sort of narration that would emphasis that there is supported to be a joke there. There is points it should be inquisitive, but isn't. Basically the narration is one note, rather than varied with the tone of the scene.

But then there is the voices and characters, which is actually really great – a variety of voices mean it’s easy to tell who is talking and following along. Each have distinct characters, emotion is conveyed with the voices. Most of the voices are actually really good, although there is one awful voice (a female child) but thankfully it is barely present. There is slight effects added when someone yells from far away (to make them sound far away) or when someone talks over the radio. They are minute changes but work well to add something to the recording.

In the end, the story is okay. But nothing to write home about.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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Short but entierly worth it

Ember of war is a short book, with a protagonist who I will kindly call easy to anger and a pretty simple plot. As short as the book is though I cant praise the narrator highly enough. Ben Tyler breathes life into each character with a flair that for only the second time has made me want to check out other works from the narrator more than the author. Don't misunderstand that though as a detraction from Stephan Morse, He did a good job as well, simply Ben hit a home run and shined particularly bright. Also if for no other reason I am glad I got this book and listened to it for the scene with Bill the mechanic. Somehow with a single scene he stole the scene and was the most memorable thing to me at least.

I received this book in return for a fair and honest review.

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  • 12-05-17

no nonsense action

This story is set in an isolated colony, the banter between the characters made me laugh.

The action felt a little like comic book with little detail but i assume it is because this is a short story.

I would be interested in following this series going forward as the universe this story is based in sounds full of options for further stories.

I felt that the narrator did a good job although the main characters voice took some getting used too.

I was given a free copy of this audio book to provide a non-biased review.