The Starship Mage Omnibus was an enjoyable mix of magic and science fiction (with the emphasis on the latter). Author Stewart did an excellent job of setting up the premise of how the two mixed and at no time did I need to suspend logic for the system to work. Main character Damien Montgomery was interesting to follow despite being our typical unique snowflake. The serial nature of the novel is evident, however, as arcs are very small and tend to finish conclusively at intervals throughout the book. It’s a bit jarring for those used to a 3-part novel but this is the nature of modern writing, I guess.
Story: Damien Montgomery has just graduated as a Starship Mage – the individuals who weave magic into a star drive engine in order to make hyperspace jumps. Unfortunately for him, lack of contacts means he is desperate to find a ship in which to serve. When a trader needs a mage suddenly, he jumps at the chance – only to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy that will upset the balance of power in the system. But Damien is a very gifted mage with a unique ability – one that will bring him to the attention of the all-powerful Mage King of Mars himself.
The book has quite a bit of action and the story moves smoothly. The characters are interesting and ones we want to follow. The author does a great job of creating surprises that will constantly strain our leads and force them into important discoveries about their own abilities. As such, this is a ‘forged in fire’ type of revelatory journey that we typically find in fantasy but here in science fiction.
The audio narration was decent – not enough to put me off the series but yes, a bit flat. Starship Mage is a book that is very different from many sci fi today and it does remain a character driven piece throughout. As such, I do recommend it for those interested in lighter sci fi without all the pseudo-science trappings.