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Publisher's Summary

Magic. Steel. Blood. Victory.

The Earth’s navy is left drifting among the stars as Nyctus ships swarm, their purpose unknown as they continue their advance, burning one system after another. Humanity's extinction seems inevitable. But on one of the forgotten worlds, a boy is left behind, and he holds a talent unlike anything the galaxy has ever known.

Thorn Stellers is a mage, trained to lead and fight. With a renegade division of warriors at his side, and with weapons far different from those of old Earth, Thorn has a chance at standing up to humanity's enemies. For these mage-soldiers, armed with power that had once been thought the stuff of legend, the outcome is no longer certain.

Each Starcaster has a talent - except for Thorn, who has many. With his childhood companion Kira Wixcombe, he’ll confront a threat from beyond the stars, meeting them in the darkness with a light born of magic...and a lust for revenge.

Is his power enough? Or is Earth a forgotten memory, lost forever to history?

©2021 Variant Publications (P)2021 Podium Audio

What listeners say about Starcaster

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

great book

Terry Maggert and JN Chaney have created a fantastic plot, plenty of action, a little romance, and fully filled out characters with quirks and personalities that make them endearing and memorable. This new series is bound to be a wild and fun ride, so jump aboard now and enjoy. The fusion of Science Fiction and Fantasy is fantastic, well developed and intriguing. Intense mystery with a surprise around each curve. A must read for that problem solving mystery reader. I already want to read book #2!

4 people found this helpful

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I love the character

The narrator delivers on the action scenes for this one. I loved the development and worldbuilding too. Looking forward to book 2.

4 people found this helpful

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Surprised me

I wasn't expecting much from this book, but it took me by surprise. The narration fits so well and the story is addictive. I'm now eager for the sequels. Hopefully they don't take too long to come out.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Poor writing of a good plot.

The author jumps from point to point with a lack of dialogue. So much happens in such a short book that could have been three times as long with more details being added. All the characters are very 2 dimensional and unrealistic. No military would act like the characters do in this book. Also just giving the main character the ability to do everything is just lazy writing.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I'm hooked

Never dreamed I'd be persuaded to join a audio club with monthly payments. Got hooked on a book presented by someone else's voice other than my own mind's voice.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Space Opera meets Urban Fantasy, in the best way!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this one. The premise of space opera with magic has been done before, so I wasn't sure how this would differentiate itself. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with how it did differentiate itself. This was accomplished through their would building. They created a very credible threat with the Nyctus, who are a mysterious alien race who have been handing humanity loss after loss, trying to wipe them out of existence. The humans discover the Nyctus use magic to power their most powerful weapons, forcing humanity to realize that magic is real, and that some humans can use it to try and fight back. Its a great combination, a cutting edge space fleet that is being wiped out, that has to fall back on what amounts to myth and superstition to try and stave off extinction.

This myth and superstition, which is rediscovered magic, is wielded by Starcasters, those rare individuals who have a magical talent that is useful for the war effort. Individuals like Thorn Stellars, a war orphan who's grown into a smart mouth with no respect for authority. Growing up an orphan in a hard scrabble orphanage has made him tough and wary of others, living on the fringes of society. This affects how he responds throughout the story, since it causes friction with his command as he is inducted into the military to learn to use his abilities. It even affects his powers, since control is so important to use them, and his past has left him with a lot of jagged edges. He goes through such an interesting character arc, as it's revealed he is unique among Starcasters, and may be the best hope for winning the war, or the cause of it all crashing down. He is just such a fully realized character, with strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures.

The secondary characters are an interesting mix as well, from a bunch of different backgrounds, all striving to try and keep humanity from falling. They don't all get super deep backstories, but their character arcs are centered on the events in the book, so it works for them. Their military trainers are more archetypical, being the usual hard core instructors who will crack down on the troops to break them, and then build them back up as a cohesive unit. You get some hints of character growth towards the end, which was a nice touch.

The Nyctus are an intriguing enemy. Not human, or even humanoid, in any way, their motives are still somewhat a mystery, but we do get some peaks into their thinking. Their view of humanity is based on biology and social order, and its hard to see how these differences can be overcome. With their abilities and more advanced tech, it's amazing the humans have held out as long as they have, especially with humans resistance to change. It will be intriguing to see where these authors take the story in later installments.

The narration is very ably performed by Tom Taylorson. I was unfamiliar with him before this book, but I have to say, he is very talented. He does a great job capturing the mood of the story, and his narrative pacing is excellent. He works hard to bring the various characters to life, using all kinds of accents, cadences and tones to differentiate the characters. I look forward to hearing him on book two.

This is definitely a book that should have a broad appeal to a lot of SFF fans. With its blend of space opera and urban fantasy elements, with a nice cast of characters, it has something for everyone to love. With its mix of action and threat of overwhelming doom, it will keep the reader/listener on the edge of their seat, in the best way. Highly recommended.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Really wanted to like this book...

...but pretty much right off the bat, the MC becomes so overpowered as to make everything effortless and godlike. He so special that he immediately goes from a loser civilian to a goofy spin on basic training/technical training, to consulting with Admirals over operations and strategy. Oh...and despite never piloting anything but a helicopter...once, he is immediately thrown in as a small ships co-pilot whilst doing super powerful magical stuff.

I'm rather surprised that he didn't insert as an undercover squid in a completely unknown alien society as a super-duper spec ops mage warrior.

Really. This series had potential with some work on the universe's mechanics and history. But the book is paced so fast and skips over so much that it exceeded my suspension of disbelief capabilities.

The narrator was good to go.

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Good one

well the description it's kinda inaccurate since he never gets abandoned or leads a group of renegade starcasters. He is a survivor of a planet that was almost completely destroyed by aliens then goes to an orphanage where he makes friends with a girl and kinda protects her of the other kids then fast forward to where he is working at a planet cleaning mud then girl shows up and takes him to the starcaster academy and he becomes OP over time and wins some major victories against the aliens. oh and the magic system its not really explained because its new and no one really knows what's going on with magic

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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow! Love this one!

I love this book, I think the narrator was excellent, and it was my first time listening to him. J.N. Chaney and Terry Maggert have a winner with this one. I was immediately sucked into the story and the universe. There are so many stories, characters, and threads that can be fleshed out from this universe and they have only scratched the surface.

Pros:
- The narrator was excellent and I was extremely happy with his performance.
- I love the combination of sci-fi tech and magic. They also don’t overdo it with the magic, so it’s a lot more sci-fi than fantasy. While I know there are books that have done this before, it’s my first experience with it.
- So much potential for future stories and expanded universe.
- The main character is a badass. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Cons (if barely):
- The main character developed a little too fast for my liking. While the part of boot camp/training drug on a little long, the character evolved from a smart ass to a yes man what feels like overnight. This in no way ruins or degraded the story it just seemed a little off.
- there are also a few things that happen in the story that we don’t really get an explanation for. Very minor things like why they switched transports a bunch of times for the trip to training. They hint at something but I couldn’t really grasp it. There is another character who appears in the end without explanation. I don’t want to give it away so I won’t include any additional details but I was confused.

All in all it’s excellent and I’m along for the ride now.

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Enjoyable story

There are some minor plot details that seem to get forgotten throughout the story but they're not so large that you rage quit. Overall, the story was enjoyable. The narration was well done although I do wish a male could have done the male characters and a female could have done the female characters.