Star Crusader: Hero of the Alliance
Written by: Michael G. Thomas
Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
Publisher: Swordworks Books
Genre: Sci Fi, Space Adventure
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Nate has a talent for space combat after hundreds of victories in the Star Crusader videogame simulation. His skills are unique, enough to gain him a rare privilege: the chance to join five other Alliance cadets and escape the dull routine of the classroom. They will enter a fierce competition light-years away in the ancient Byotai Empire. Yet days after their arrival a rebellious faction begins a bloody mutiny that spreads like wildfire. The time for competition has ended; the time of war has begun.
A handful of capital ships attempt to avoid the massacre, but only Relentless escapes. Nate and his friends are aboard, part of the few to make it out alive. Relentless is a heavily armored assault ship, a relic from another age, but most of her crew members are dead or missing. Nate and his fellow cadets have to face the unthinkable. Under the guidance of Lieutenant Higgins, the ship's last fighter pilot, the six cadets have just days to practice operating the ship's fighters. There are no others. Only they can defend the ship, or face death at the hands of the enemy.
©2015 Swordworks Books (P)2015 Swordworks Books
Nate is a seventeen-year-old who has played hundreds of games on a vidogame known as Star Crusader. Based on his successful victories Nate has won a place in the Alliance cadet program. The Alliance is a space program set up to defend against attacks. The Alliance has a shaky relationship with the Byotai Empire who are an aggressive lizard-like race.
Nate and five other teens are shipped off to a far off spaceport to participate in active battle competitions against the Byotai trainees. The kids are in class when a rebellion breaks out. They barely escape the room trying to make their way to the marines seeking flight to their capital ship. Nate and his friends are among those who get out with the help of the marines, including a tough female.
When the dust settles from the first battles many of the crew members, including pilots, are gone and the capital ship is struggling to get to a rendezvous with other Alliance ships. Reluctantly the last of the fighter pilots, Lieutenant Higgins, who is injured, begins training the cadet pilots on the ship's fighters. The capital ship will stagger along with the thin hope that a handful of teen cadets will be able to defend her if they run into any enemy, especially before they get to restock their supplies and weapons.
I enjoyed the sharp, observant nature of Nate’s mind and the rivalry and friendships among the cadets. Each of the teens have unique strengths that make them a valuable team if they will work together. Before the end of this action packed story they will face the enemy and learn that they must use their skills together to be successful in their mission.
I picked this title as it reminded me of The Last Starfighter. Although it starts with the videogame the rest is a new story. The characters are distinct, if not fully developed, and the action is pretty much nonstop. When this started I thought it might be more suitable to a younger audience. However, as the work progressed I found that I liked the young, brave characters and was fully engaged. I realized after finishing this book that it is the first of four in the current series. Apparently there are older series with a prior generation that lead into Nate’s generation. For now, I will be lining up the current set through Audible but I’ll be eyeing those prior books when I need a good sci fi fix!
Audio Notes: Andrew B. Wehrlen did a very good job with the narration. He captures the youthful personality of the cadets and is still able to pull in the older characters too. I had no trouble following the thought processes and action. I fully enjoyed the audio listen.
Find out more about the author, Michael G. Thomas and the Star Crusader universe at:
This audiobook was provided by the narrator through Audiobook Blast for an honest review. This qualifies for my Audio Challenge.