Paradise - more of the same in book 3
If you are considering picking up book 3 of the Expeditionary Force series then you already know what to expect as the formula doesn't change at all. Facing an impossible situation Colonel Joe will come up with a clever idea that somehow eluded Skippy's vast intellect and then the crew of the Flying Dutchman will execute the plan, which in turn will lead to the next impossible situation. (Lather. Rinse. Repeat.) Of course the entire sequence of events is always laden with the typical banter between Skippy and Joe so the only real hope of this book being something unique is the progression of the larger story arc. Is that enough to make it worthy of your time?
I must admit that it was the title of the book, and my desire to know the fate of the Expeditionary Force soldiers who were stranded on the planet Paradise, that convinced me to continue with the series because the repetitive nature of the story telling was fully evident in book 2. Conditions on Paradise have become pretty bleak for the humans stranded there as they are nothing more than refugees with nowhere to go. As two alien races fight for control of the planet the humans also fight, although that is mostly over which side they want to ally with, and no outcome seems favorable. That is until the Flying Dutchman secretly implements one of Joe's plans to help encourage a more positive outcome for UNEF, all without anyone on the planet knowing they are involved.
Unfortunately the overall story arc moved forward so little in this book that ultimately I do not feel it was worth it. As always there were some funny moments along the way, but the perfect balance of Sci-Fi and humor that made this series enjoyable now feels crushed under the weight of the repetitive nature of the story telling. So I would advise you to only pick this one up if you know the Skippy-Joe interactions will be enough to keep you entertained. I enjoyed my time with this series, but as of now I do not plan to continue. Perhaps someday I will become nostalgic for more of this style of humor, but for now the thought of a 4th book in a row of the exact same formula is just not appealing.
For the audiobook version R.C. Bray once again does a great job with the narration and I look forward to hearing him more in the future. His work on this series has really elevated my opinion of him and I will gladly seek him out in the future.