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SpecOps

Expeditionary Force, Book 2
Written by: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 2
Length: 15 hrs and 50 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (557 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Colonel Joe Bishop made a promise, and he's going to keep it: taking the captured alien starship Flying Dutchman back out. He doesn't agree when the UN decides to send almost 70 elite Special Operations troops, hotshot pilots, and scientists with him; the mission is a fool's errand he doesn't expect to ever return from. At least this time, the Earth is safe, right?

Not so much.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about SpecOps

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Repetitive and dull

Compared to the first book, this one almost lost me. I’ll give the third one a shot, but if it doesn’t improve I’ll abandon the series. I’ve never read a novel where so many interactions and scenarios repeat themselves without irony or purpose. The same conflict, solution, banter and resolution repeat verbatim like they were written by a far less advanced AI than Skippy. And while there are still moments of excitement or interest, like the backstory of Newark and the Elders, there is almost no plot. The stakes are low and the writing is just bad. Where the first book started off poor and improved by giving us an interesting, high stakes scenario, this one feels like it accomplished nothing and ends right where it started. Just... bad.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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If your memory is bad it might not drive you crazy

generally love the story of the book.. -when- it actually storyed. Insted, there is constant bickering between the two main characters. Then you're reminded every 2 chapters about big main concepts over and over and over almost the same words every time! I sadly found myself skipping forward 30 seconds at a time multiple times throughout the book! Next book better rein that in or I'll have to trade it for something else.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

a good book

I loved it, great second book! am starting the third book now! can't wait to see what's next

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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love the narrator and the story

the narrator is really good. inflection if voice and timing are excellent. the story is also well written and humorous.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Repetitive and lacking any dramatic tension

After gaining access to the advanced Ai, no problem seems challenging. So there's never any real possibility of failure. In fact they have the happiest of endings. The book also keeps repeating itself. E.g: it mentions that special forces soldiers are amazing and get bored easily several times, other simple concepts are repeated several times in chapters.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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solid 4's

solid 4's across the board. there's been some reviews saying this is just a Skippy and Joe show, but I have to disagree. Yes, there is a ton of their interaction, but I also think there is some great character development there. there are literally only so many characters and author can develop. I'm glad this book in the series had that focus. as for the story, solid sci-fi, the beauty is unfuturistic humans in this futuristic realm finally you have to just love the joe and Skippy, or the Skippy human dichotomy a great listen, and yes I had a hard time putting it down

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Great Listen

Only allowing myself to listen to audio books while walking, I put a lot of kilometres on my shoes listening to this wonderful story. Great banter, story-line and an excellent glimpse into expeditionary military experiences.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not as engaging as a lot of the later books.

Not the best book in the series, but the events of this book are often referred to later in the series. Still lots of action and humor, but maybe not as engaging as later stories.

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would recommend

the book it self was just good but the narrator makes this book a 9 out of 10 for sure, what an amazing performance. I will for sure be getting the next just due to the narrator for sure.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing Garbage

Was there a story buried underneath the witless and repetitive banter between Skippy and Joe? I liked the first book well enough to pick up this one, obviously, but the character of Skippy is just awful. He's wedged into every scene, giving the reader no break from the "trying too hard to be funny" dialogue. I gave up 4 hours into it... so I made it about 1/4 of the way through. I doubt I'll revisit.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Trex
  • 2017-04-02

Plot hasn't progressed

The chemistry between Skippy & Joe has become monotonous. I'd estimate Skippy calls Joe a stupid monkey no less that 100 times in this book. The plot is no further along than at the end of the first book. Disappointing.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Jenna Keefe
  • 2017-04-12

Rinse and repeat

This book takes the same joke from the first book and repeats it over and over and over and over and over...get the picture? I'm not sure why people think it's funny because there is nothing clever about this book. While book one was somewhat original and fun this book is just boring. The characters are flat and the main character is made into a god-like perfect human who can do no wrong and is infinitely humble even when he didn't do anything wrong. Skippy gets really old really fast. certainly won't continue with this series.

15 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lloyd
  • 2018-02-19

excellent world/universe... terrible writing

What did you like best about SpecOps? What did you like least?

I really liked the first book despite instances of poor dialog. The universe Alanson has built and the plot itself is engaging.

I picked up the second book thinking that these issues would be resolved after the first, but I was wrong. They only became worse.

a) So much repetitive language. The author seems reticent to use pronouns instead of repeating the same noun within a 1-3 sentence span.
b) All conversations with Skippy just get more and more annoying. The same jokes are used on repeat and they were only marginally funny the first time.
c) besides the main plot line and the universe the characters inhabit, this reads like a sub-par fan fiction. the protagonist is self-indulgent; it sounds like the internal dialog of someone in middle school.
d) the jokes are awful. a lot of 3-stooges physical comedy and repetitive interplay with Skippy about humans being monkeys.

Alanson's world has a lot of potential, but this material is in need of a good editor. This novel and the last should be re-written into a single volume with at least half of the dialogue removed.

I will probably finish this one out as i'm already 5 hours in, but much of it is painful and don't think I can handle another one.

Which character – as performed by R.C. Bray – was your favorite?

The narrator did the best that could be expected with the material he had to work with.

21 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Scott F.
  • 2018-02-03

Repetitive

The same plot from the first book is repeated time and again. I liked the first book, but like so many series the second book brings nothing novel to the story line.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 2017-04-26

Repetitive and watered-down

The story seemed forced and less important then book 1. What really started to bother me was the same 2 or 3 scenerios kept playing out over and over. Skippy has no plan, Joe comes up with plan, Skippy cant believe a monkey came up with a plan. Tbat happend about 5 times i swear. Even phrases and information was repeateded. The performance was top notch, the writing was lazy.

104 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • J G
  • 2018-11-27

I have an idea

*In a tight spot* Human: I have an idea AI: hahaha monkey thinks he is clever Human: *explains idea" AI:........Holy Shit. This happens word for word 4-5 times.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Noon At Midnight
  • 2018-02-15

Repetitive. Hesitant to Buy the Third Book

I love the fact that it's 15 hours and it's something to keep my mind from going numb when I am on the treadmill, but just barely. The reader has a dynamic voice, which makes up for what the writing lacks. Characters don't develop so who they are on page 10 is who they are on page 1000 --- basically which part of the galaxy they replay the same skit over and over again changes but the book ends where it begins with character and plot development a good author could have accomplished in 3 paragraphs. I am heading to the gym, so I guess I use another credit and get the 3rd....oh well....here's to hoping.

16 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-03-28

Sadly repetitive

What disappointed you about SpecOps?

Book 2 takes a few elements that worked fairly well in Book 1 and repeats them ad naseum to fill the pages. Did the publisher require a specific page count from the author? The plot is basically a loose collection of randomly appearing, insurmountable problems that end up being resolved by (1) Skippy, using another one of his god-like, deus ex machina powers that aren't mentioned until he explains the solution or (2) Joe's "brilliant" idea that Skippy for some reason could not foresee despite his superpowers, followed by Skippy's grudging acknowledgement of monkeys being smarter than he thought and "I hate my life and monkeys" screams.... Rinse and repeat N times to fill the book.

The rest is filler without much character or plot development. We don't get much in terms of world building, interactions with various aliens or Elders, but we get a ton of pages about Newark. The constant banter between Joe and Skippy worked well in the first book, but eventually became really repetitive and formulaic. Also, Joe's constant inner monologue is cringe-worthy - we get it, you have a strong sense of duty to save everyone and also don't feel like you deserve the promotion to colonel, but how many times does it need to be mentioned???

Would you ever listen to anything by Craig Alanson again?

No, if Book 3 in this series is like Book 2. I liked the first book, but this is just lazy.

What about R.C. Bray’s performance did you like?

Excellent narration.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2017-03-18

WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY by NO PATIENCE MAN

BREAKING IT DOWN BARNEY STYLE
I wanted to BLUFF IT, but it is your money. I liked this book and will continue the series, but I did not love it. The book is very funny and that is what saves it. It does have some SCIENCY STUFF to the point of over my head. We are talking lots of physics with wormholes and flat universes. I like the main character Joe. I like the fact that he shows humility, but yet is in charge. It is entertaining 90% of the time. I liked the planet of the week, which this week is an Ice Planet.

BONUS OR BONE US
Keep in mind, I said I like the book and I am going to continue the series. When I listen to book 3, I will wear my lucky underwear. YEA, LUCKY UNDERWEAR IS A REAL THING. For the first hour or two, the sarcastic SKIPPY almost becomes too much. Almost every line is a sarcastic remark by him. I love this type of humor, but the first hour was annoying. The jokes are repeated so many times, that I found myself giving the sarcastic remark before Joe or Skippy did. You always know that Joe is going to think up something Skippy does not think up. You know that Skippy will get upset over that fact. You know that the solution will almost always involve Skippy listening in on the enemy's communications and often manipulating them to make the enemy see or hear something different than the truth. When it is not that, it will have something to do with Skippy making a small worm hole. After a while it became SEMPER TEDIUM. With all that, there is still some LOL moments towards the end and of course the love that is growing between Skippy and Joe.

THAT'S ARE STORY AND WE'RE STICKING TO IT
I am also very interested in the mystery of the Elders, along with a new mystery, involving an unknown race that is using Elder technology for evil uses.

IT IS BETTER TO BE SILENT AND BE THOUGHT AN IDIOT, THAN TO SPEAK AND REMOVE ALL DOUBT

R.C. Bray is no idiot and I will always listen to him speak.

223 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaron M. Benzing
  • 2017-11-15

Welcome to an outer space version of Groundhog Day, but boring.

After the twists and turns of the first book, this sequel was a huge disappointment. I kept listening hoping that it would get better, it did not. Here, I will save you 8 hours... Skippy is really smart, Joe is a dumb monkey but comes up with a good plan, Skippy is mad that Joe had a better idea than him, the plan works, bananas for everyone, repeat. Your Welcome!

13 people found this helpful