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Much better than the last book, but still missing the excitement that the first books had - perhaps because the story isn't focused so much about magic. And I'm still waiting for the huge plot-hole of the investigation of the alien runes to be resolved.
What makes Roslyn Chambers special? Nothing... and it shows all book long.
Started Starships Mage with a starships mage that was dedicated, principled and powerful using his special ability to help people he cared about. Watched him rise and overcome to the point he saved humanity AND everyone became his to protect. He was powerful thoughtful and effective a western in space.
That was given up to follow an angst filled young woman in command of a single ship. Originally thought perhaps I was a chauvinist for the last two books but realized I enjoyed the Mage Queen more than her father or brother. So I think it's not me but that Mage Commander Roslyn Chambers has become a terrible character, its like reading a propaganda book for the Martian navy no real foibles or failures just terrible terrible angst about breaking a regulation or doing something wrong the twenty year olds were sleeping with people they weren't supposed to... the horror.
Damien Montgomry's fist book fights off pirates, illegally alters a jump matrix, escapes custody, evades a hand, discovers runes of power for himself, and destroys a RMN cruiser with his jump freighter ending the largest criminal piracy syndicate in the galaxy. Illegal and thrilling.
Roslyn Chambers third book plays XO, angst, promoted because she is well connected and decorated, angst about leading, shows how dedicated to the regs she is with the world's cleanest pirate base assault, more angst, destroys cruiser with a destroyer does not actually get the info she wanted.
Roslyn Chambers was a wonderful character when she was a street smart and mouthy teen mage aiding Damien (on his NOT by the book operation) Why the author chose to follow her indoctrination by the navy I will never understand. The whole plot feels like it's going backwards I am more interested in daily meetings of the cyborg governor ruling legatus (really) than Roslyn Chambers saving the multiverse at this point.
Heres to hoping Damien kidnaps the queen and escapes Roslyn Chambers fanatical (by the book) clutches and joins Nemesis or even the First Legion. His conquest of the protectorate would be a fun alternative as he is obviously never going to put Nemesis down and the RIN will live forever.
Until they provide the unexpected support against the aliens that have been coming for what feels like a dozen books now.. Get on with it already!!! Damien being chancellor and petting his cat must be too important to end the people that killed the last king, betrayed the protectorate and continue to sabotage his efforts. (And have to be dropping sales) Barring that have Romanov sent to kill Roslyn if sales are needed that would be immensely satisfying, I would give that book a dozen stars. Hell I'd go back and give the Roslyn books five stars each for the amazing buildup of the galaxy's most annoying enemy. At least then we would have a main character worth following if only for one book.
Two stars one for Damien and one for Admiral Jakobs and their combined four pages of presence. The Mage Queen will get a star when she tells Damien to go protect her protectorate. Until then this once wonderful series has fallen to obscurity in a market with hundreds of better choices.
I enjoyed this book, but it was missing part of the dynamic that made me love the series originally.
The scale of the magic in the book feels markedly lower than in previous. This felt much closer to normal military sci-Fi than the earlier books did.
I understand why Montgomery is relegated to the homeworld now, but the series built to having mages who could shape worlds, and the magic in this book felt like we were back to book two level power at best. That feels like a hard shift for book 11 in the series.
I hope the level or depth of the magic is a focus in the next book. Otherwise this progression risks the series losing the ideas that made it special.
As a normal KU book, I would give this 5 stars. As a Stewart book with how well he can write, I will give it 4. As a Starship’s Mage book, I would give it 3 stars if that wouldn’t hurt the book in the algorithm.
I'll admit that after the last installment of the Starship Mage serie had a somewhat relation to zombie apocalypstic feel to it.. Many readers would feel disappointed in Stewart for even going that route. But I didn't. Heck, It built Chambers' characteristic to continue to rise up in her status as a Mage Comander in this latest installment.
Mage Commander Chambers eventually becomes a Comander of a ship named the Voice of the Forgotten which is an apt name for this particular installment. Since the war with the Republic of Faith and Reason is over.. There are those who defected after First Hand Montgomery released a horrible truth behind the Promethian Interface in the RIN ships. Those defected ships eventually became their own little empire that ends up waging war against the Protectorate and the Mage Queen Kiera Alexander.
It's up to Mage Commander Chamber and Captin Lamont from their respected ships the Voice of the Forgotten and the Raspedy and Purple to hunt down this little empire that is spreading piracy across the borders of the Protectorate worlds.
Will they find who's behind this empire? Or will they finally find the answer to Nemesis?
You probably want to read this latest installment to find out!
If you are fan of Terry Mixon, JN Chaney, D.J Holmes, then Stewart's books are the books to read, y'all!
Firstly I have to put this line here in the interests of fairness : "I received a free advanced reader's copy" That said I have to add I purchased the book just after release as I have with all the authors other books. I found the book to be well paced and was interesting enough that I read it in one sitting. I'm normallu a character follower and once a story chages mains lose some love for it, but this time I'm still enjoying this story and am keen for more. I'm thinking the way forward in the series will bring some plot twists that hopefully make use of older characters, especially with the current information available to us the readers, but will be happy even if it doesnt. I think the author is easily up there in my top favorites of all time.
There has never been a better Kombination of Space Opera and Magic. Loveable Characters, solid technical Worldbuilding. "In the Name of the Mage King of Mars, I declare this work worthy of the highest praise."