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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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Scott R
  • Falkirk,Scotland, UK
  • 14-01-18

Bit of a Mixed Bag

Overall its not too bad , however especially for about 50% of it I found myself not getting to grips with it, either because of the Story itself which just didn't seem to grip me , which I can't fault the writing as it seemed fine or the Narrator who seemed a little too fast even at 0.9 speed but far too slow at anything slower.
I can't quite put my finger on this story as I think overall its quite good especially the last 50% where I got more used to the Narrator Tyler ( pretty good although struggles with female voices I think, a not uncommon problem with male narrators) and the story seemed to flow a little better.
Story overall after I finished it was , yes that was ok I might read more of this.
Narration , yes I might try this narrator again on some other materials.
Size of audio may be why this didn't help as perhaps in ebook it works a little better for this size perhaps because we don't get a lot of time to bond with the material before completion.
Scored 4 stars across the board as this may just be me , sex and violence I think worked well with the story and the characters worked well within the frame of its work.
I was gifted this and choose to leave an Honest review

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

The sh*t kicker

For a short story, this certainly packs a punch. Staring full blast with a retired soldier reduced to herding beef clomps on a far flung territory colony, angry at the useless equipment and anxious to put paid to the creatures stealing from the herd. Lee is noisy, wants to do things his way, be a soldier again. They won't let him.
Then two colonists go missing...
And the pace increases, the tension builds to a verbal explosion.

The whole is complemented by Ben Tyler's narration: forceful and loud, he perfectly components the textual description of Lee, the frustrated soldier and the fast pacing of his delivery matches the speed of the story. Tyler's voicings of the other protagonists is clear and distinctive, an overall good performance which carries the listener along.

I received a complimentary copy of Ember of War from the rights holder, via Audiobook Boom and it exceeded my expectations, given the brevity: in a few simple sentences a full backstory is lightly sketched in as well as the tale of Lee and the colony. (There is also an intense sex scene in the mid to latter stages of the book.) It succeeds as a small snapshot of life in a far flung colony of the United Planets and as the portrait of man for whom there is no longer a comfortable place to be.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 05-12-17

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cyn
  • 27-11-17

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Arielle Joy
  • 04-11-17

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. 

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • HeatherY
  • 23-10-17

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christine Newton
  • 13-12-17

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • sheryl beauchemin
  • 22-11-17

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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kingsley
  • 21-11-17

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jared
  • 20-11-17

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.

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
  • Book Junkie
  • 19-11-17

An enjoyable story!

A cigar smoking former soldier placed on an outpost because he was too much for civilian life. There’s cursing, funny situations/comments, alien swarms to destroy, and a young damsel to rescue. An action packed short story. The narrator did a great job as well!

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • James & Cindy Jackson
  • 08-02-18

Space Cowboy

Would you consider the audio edition of Ember of War to be better than the print version?

Did not read the printed version

What about Ben Tyler’s performance did you like?

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

Any additional comments?

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Bikram Agarwal
  • 12-12-17

Way too fast.

What would have made Ember of War better?

As another reviewer mentioned, this book would've been better suited to be a novella within a series of novels where the world building is already taken care of in one of the previous novels and thus the novella gets time to explore the main story it is trying to tell. In its current form, this book tries to tell a lot of things in a short amount of time, and hence everything sounds too rushed and jumbled up. There's not much of a character buildup and thus I didn't connect with any of the characters. Their actions felt out of place and implausible.

Would you ever listen to anything by Stephan Morse again?

Whatever he was trying to write in this one particular book wasn't quite accomplished here due to the short size. I think I will find good content from this author if I read any full length novel from him. So, I might try out his other novel sized books.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration was very monotonous. There wasn't much variation or any infliction. He kept reading and reading and reading the book, line by line, without any consideration for effects.

Any additional comments?

I received this audiobook for free from the author / narrator / publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.