Book 2 of the Commune series starts off with a warning up front about strong language and a new character that is the source of that language, Sergeant Gibbs. Gibbs is a former marine that brings a whole new element to this series with his personality and his skill set. The foul mouth marine finds himself shepherding around a rag tag collection of survivors and quickly discovering that his willingness to protect these people in the apocalypse is a heavy burden to shoulder. Things go from bad to worse for this new group of survivors until they meet up with Jake and this is when things get real difficult. Winter is approaching in Wyoming and there is not enough food to go around for a bunch of new people, so Jake and Amanda must decide if it it is worth sacrificing their humanity in order to survive...
R. C. Bray
Yet another entry in the crowded genre of apocalyptic story telling, this series starts off with humanity being hit by a double whammy. First "the flare" occurs which brightens the night sky and wipes out most electronics. This causes the most developed nations to focus on restoring communication and travel first, and just as these start to come back online humanity finds itself hammered by a deadly plague that wipes out most of the population. Those lucky enough to be immune to the disease find themselves in a broken world that is mostly uninhabited, and they must now find a way to survive. This story is about three of those people and what they must do to survive. Jake, Billy, and Amanda all feel like real people, and their stories are definitely worth hearing.
Book 5 picks up immediately after the ending of Book 4, which is a good thing because that cliff hanger ending left fans of the series eager for more. What threat could possibly be worse then the mutated creatures that rule the Earth's radioactive surface? Of course, it is the humans that somehow managed to survive hidden in the ocean on the Metal Islands. The Cazadors are far more numerous and brutal than the inhabitants of The Hive could ever have imagined, and they won't be easily defeated. With key personnel now being held captive on the Metal Islands, the dream of returning to the surface of the Earth has officially turned into a nightmare. Is returning to the Earth's surface really a viable future for the residents of The Hive or will it lead them to their ultimate doom?
A long distance colonization mission gone wrong, Infinite is a stand alone novel that at first glance appears to explore the concept of what happens when a ship winds up traveling through the cosmos for eternity. However, it turns into a many layered story that explores a number of common sci-fi concepts including artificial intelligence, virtual reality - holodeck style, and what it means to be human. This book often went where I didn't expect it to go and at times did its best to lose me when it took things too far, but ultimately I stuck with it because I wanted to know how it was going to turn out.
Wolves picks up shortly after the end of Deliverance with X and Magnolia aboard the Sea Wolf looking for the Metal Islands as a potential home on the surface that would allow humanity to leave the air and return to the Earth. Of course finding that new home is really just an excuse that X used to justify this mission and his real agenda is to kill the leader of the cannibalistic Cazadores who live in the Metal Islands. X quickly finds out that the sea is just as dangerous as the land and the mission goes south quickly as all manner of unexpected obstacles need to be overcome. The action sequences come one after another and let up just long enough for the story arc to move forward as the true cause of the war that devastated the planet is finally discovered.
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?
If you enjoyed book one of the Expeditionary Force series and wanted more of the same kind of humor then Craig Alanson has you covered here; however, if you were starting to get tired of hearing "stupid monkey" insults being hurled at the human crew of the Flying Dutchman, then you should definitely steer clear of this one. The story heads back into space when Joe Bishop and an elite crew of special forces and scientists attempt to help Skippy find the Elders who created him. A mission that must be carried out in secrecy because if anyone figures out that humanity has a ship capable of traveling through wormholes then Earth will become a target once again. But there is no need to worry because nothing will go wrong with Joe Bishop and Skippy working together to lead the mission, right? lol
I have a pretty poor track record when it comes to humorous Sci-Fi books. It is not uncommon for me to get my hopes up by reading reviews that claim a book is hilarious only to be disappointed when I discover that the humor just doesn't resonate with me. In fact, I have been disappointed enough times that I usually steer clear of this sub genre, so I am glad that I took a chance on this one. Perhaps my past experiences kept my expectations low, but this book managed to not only keep me interested but it also had me laughing out loud at times. Kudos to Craig Alanson for finding a nice balance between serious sci-fi topics and irreverent humor that kept me interested for more than just the laughs.
Commander MIchael Everhart, aka Tin, isn't the first Hell Diver to be betrayed by the leadership aboard The Hive but he is determined to be the first to actually do something about it. His dive team has acquired an airship of their own, Deliverance, and they have also found strong evidence that X actually survived his fall back to Earth 10 years ago. Not only survived the fall, but apparently actually found a way to survive on the toxic surface for an extended period of time. Even if X is no longer alive the truth of what happened to him must be uncovered, so searching for that truth becomes the top priority for Tin and his team. Payback for Captain Jordan's betrayal will need to wait for the moment; however, his time will come...
Ten years have gone by and much has changed for the remnants of humanity that remain aboard The Hive. Leon Jordan is now the Captain and Tin has grown up to become the Commander of team Raptor. It is no surprise that he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and X and become a Hell Diver since X's loss is still felt to this day. X may be gone, but he is not forgotten, and his final sacrifice has turned him into a role model that still gives people hope, which is in short supply. Captain Jordan has abandoned Captain Ash's belief that humanity would one day return to Earth and he is willing to do whatever it takes to convince the rest of the crew that the surface is forever lost. However, walking away from the dreams of so many people is bound to have consequences...