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SpecOps

Expeditionary Force, Book 2
Written by: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Length: 15 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (377 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

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review 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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration, rehashed story devices

This sequel doesn't advance the plot in any significant manner, and recycles the same character interactions and mini-adventires again and again. Band of Pirates faces a problem, Skippy claims there's no way the monkeys can come up with a better solution than him, they do, As Kippy makes it happen while delivering the same old insults to the humans.

The meta-story is interesting enough that I considered moving on to book 3, but looking at reviews it seems that things continue similar to this book all the way to #7.

The narrator IS excellent though, which makes this an entertaining listen, dispite the story repetition.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A very light and entertaining read.

A simple read coupled with good humor, and entertaining banter mixed with abundant SciFi technology.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good sequel

The performance from the narrator is as good as the first book.

The story is also very well done. The bant

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

Really enjoying the character Skippy.
The narration is great also.
I highly recommend this title

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Well performed. Entertaining story... but...

I enjoyed this story. It is a very comedic space adventure, but the presence of the Magnificent Skippy means that the crew could never really be in any real danger. Suspense level plummets. Interest wanes.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

93 of 106 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • B. Phillips
  • 2017-12-16

Too much Bromance!

The budding bromance between Joe and Skippy is way overboard in this book. That and the repetitive crisis that stumps Skippy but Joe is able, with his monkey brain, come up with an technically ingenious solution - every time. It was a good formula in Book 1 but there is no need to beat readers over the head with it. This book is like a modern action movie; there is no fear of impending doom concerning the good guys, they easily defeat the super villains every time.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 2017-12-05

Disappointing, Story Goes Nowhere

I very much enjoyed the first book of this series. The Skippy character was amusing and added an interesting twist to the "humanity caught up in intergalactic war" style. However this book felt like a series of short stories, all with the same premise, execution, and resolution. As if the author was writing five different variations of the same story and stapled them together in one book.

The formula got boring fast, and soon became frustrating. If you enjoy this series I highly recommend reading a paragraph summary rather than wasting your time with this filler, hardly anything important or interesting takes place. However I must commend R.C. Bray on his performance, it managed to get me through the otherwise mind-numbing writing.

I would not recommend this book to anyone frankly.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John Michael
  • 2017-06-24

Definitely worth a credit!

I'm a person who enjoys watching Sci-Fi, but im usually disappointed when I read it. This is the 2nd book in the trilogy and the author's style is definitely different, but it's a "good" kind of different! His choice of words and his ability to make me think and feel that it's entirely possible for an object that's shaped like a beer can that's, because it is the most intelligent being in the universe is a testament that the author' is creative and his book is worth listening to.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • DMITRY
  • 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.

44 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

218 of 261 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • 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!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mickey
  • 2017-11-20

Painfully Repetitive

From Chapter 14 on it's like reading/ listening to the same chapter over and over again. In book one, the saving grace was Skippy, now he's become... just ... annoying. With the same "stupid monkey" or "masturbation" joke over and over again. It was honestly hard to get through. So much so that I don't think I'll continue to book 3.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful