Now that the battle for the metal islands is over, the aftermath of that battle becomes the new focus. The former residents of the Hive now find themselves living on the surface and the ancient prophecy fulfilled isn't the dream life that was expected. X quickly discovers that uniting the Sky People and the Cazadores into a single community is much harder than just letting them kill each other. Neither side truly respects the other and just because X is weary of killing it doesn't mean everyone else is. X's attempt to form a new combined society in the metal islands could lead to a brighter future, but it is far more likely to just result in the extinction of the human race...
R. C. Bray
Clay's group of survivors is a dysfunctional bunch for sure, yet they keep everyone alive and they continually grow in number. Clay rules through intimidation and he is not afraid to kill his own people to make a point, yet he is reasonable when compared to some other members of his leadership group. The most unstable of that bunch, Ronny, is far worse than Clay and has been pushing for the group to move to Jackson for quite a while now. Ronny claims to have knowledge of farms and a stable food supply in Jackson, but of course his real motivation is his desire to get revenge against Sergeant Gibbs for the ass kicking he received in the gunfight back in book two. When Ronny finally manipulates things to convince Clay to move everyone north, they arrive in Jackson only to find that there is no food in the city. This sets up the final showdown between Clay's well armed group of scavengers and the members of the Jackson Commune, a much smaller group of people with barely enough food for themselves.
Commune Book 2 ended in a brutal gunfight and now it is time to find out the repercussions of that fight. Two new groups of survivors are now in the mix, one of them from that aforementioned gunfight, and both groups plan to do what it takes to ensure the survival of their people. On display are 3 completely unique approaches to re-establishing civilization and it is inevitable that these different philosophies clash with each other. Unfortunately for Jake and company, the Jackson Commune is the smallest of the three groups by a large margin and there is strength in numbers. When things get tight even friends can become foes and supplies are drying up everywhere.
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...
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 Cazadores 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