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Zero Hour

Expeditionary Force, Book 5
Written by: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: R. C. Bray
Length: 17 hrs and 20 mins
5 out of 5 stars (713 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

United Nations Special Operations Command sent an elite expeditionary force of soldiers and pilots out on a simple recon mission, and somehow along the way they sparked an alien civil war. Now the not-at-all-merry band of pirates is in desperate trouble, again. Their stolen alien starship is falling apart, thousands of light years from home. The ancient alien AI they nicknamed Skippy is apparently dead, and even if they can by some miracle revive him, he might never be the same.

©2017 Craig Alanson; 2018 Podium Publishing

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Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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

once again a great listen

RC bray does a spot on job with the narration once again and the story kept me locked in from start to finish with the serious nature of the crews situation mixed with a lot of humour (something i feel most other books lack). But there is one teensy weensy problem here.... The book is way too short. I found myself breezing through the 17 or so hour book in little over a week leaving me craving more from this series. I guess this monkey just needs to wait now.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Awesome

The only criticism is I need to wait for the next book in the series again awesome

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JSM
  • 2018-02-10

probably the best one yet...

the author has really found their stride. best book of the series, IMHO. looking forward to #6 and maybe another Paradise novella?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

monkeys kick ass

I usually try to casually listen to audiobooks, stretch out the time as much as possible so that I don't rush into it too much. this series so far proved that I have to break that habit and binge listen to it as much as I can. great series and all hail Skippy the magnificent

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

Fun that has maintained the flavour of the first

All of the books so far have maintained the flavour of the first one. This is good. And they haven't become repetitive yet, which is also unusual. Thumbs up.

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

GREAT book!

Love the series, I'm just finished book 5 . I listen to books at work.

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

5th book, great reading performance story is a sof

I have enjoyed all the books so far 1-5, but either I'm getting bored, or the story is getting a little weak. Reading performance is excellent as usual.

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

Same old

I still like the series but it’s getting a bit repetitive. Looking for some major story updates

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rob
  • 2019-09-05

Physics and the Universe hate Colonel Bishop!!

"Grandma's House" a good place to visit, but you don't want to stay for too long!!

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

outstanding story and narration

absolutely love this series. Especially its frequent comedic moments. The author gives the story an great pace, and the narrator delivers each line with the perfect tone of voice! Easily some of the best audio books I have ever listened to.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • KM
  • 2018-02-14

The middle sags with repetition

Another great performance from RC Bray, and Alanson gives him plenty of characters to play with.

However, the story really becomes tedious with repetitive situations that prevent the story from building any momentum. Here's the pattern: The crew faces an insurmountable problem, Skippy apologizes, at the last minute Bishop comes up with an idea, Skippy says it's stupid, Skippy realizes it can work, Skippy complains about being outsmarted by meatsacks, the solution works, almost immediately a new problem is presented. Repeat a couple dozen times. At no point do we wonder if they will be successful. The big picture can never form because we spend 10 - 20 minutes listening to the details about the problem, along with nearly identical dialog. This has been a signature part of previous books in the series, but this book seems to be especially over-written.

It is frustrating because there are some potentially great plot lines. It feels like the author is deliberately stretching the story, so it feels watered-down. Like the boy who cried wolf one too many times, the repeated use of the same story mechanics has erased all emotion from this book.

218 of 228 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Beachcombers
  • 2018-02-14

Monkeys kick A**, but......

I love this series, but the story is getting bogged down in the usual rinse and repeat cycle. Skippy and Joe's relationship is still as engaging as ever (it even gets a bit emotional), but I wish some of the other characters had time to flex their wings, in particular the no nonsense Sgt Adams. The "Roach Motel" was a wasted opportunity to get some long overdue answers to questions brought up in the other books.

There is still a few laugh out loud moments and it was a enjoyable listen.

I hope things come to a head in the next book.

80 of 84 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • DobieChuck
  • 2018-02-09

Let’s Be Honest

Oh yeah, still an entertaining series w/ lovable and snarky characters, but the least of the series, and the overall progression of story arc seems to be stuck in the mud.... Imo still fun and an absolutely excellent listen, and I’ll continue w/ the series, but would like to see a little more in the upcoming...

39 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lord Nightshade
  • 2018-02-21

it was pretty good

I generally love this series, R.C. Bray makes the book but I feel like it's getting a bit long now. Yes, we are definitely progressing towards a higher goal but I am starting to get a bit fatigued now.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Tose
  • 2018-02-12

Getting Repetative

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I really enjoy these books but the author has to build some additional & unique plot lines into the stories.

This book suffered from 1) impossible situation 2) stupid monkeys/etc 3) sad moments/introspection 4) stupid monkey idea 5) fabricated supertech fix. Repeat for 10 hour narrative.

I like the characters, I think the narrator is perfect for the material but the author needs to stretch and present a better storyline. I WANT him to do better.

Another like this and I wont bother to buy/read the next.

Would you ever listen to anything by Craig Alanson again?

yes

Have you listened to any of R. C. Bray’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Good

Was Zero Hour worth the listening time?

Meh

Any additional comments?

Awesome opportunity to do some great things with this universe and cast of characters.

41 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • xon69
  • 2018-02-19

hire an editor

so much repetition and boring details.
I'm a sucker for the plot and idea but golly, just use a red pen and get rid of a few paragraphs and internal dialogue. we get it! there lots of internal thought process about keeping humanity's space flights on the DL but u don't need to bring it up Every timeeee.

otherwise a lovely book idea.

46 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mike From Mesa
  • 2018-02-18

Just keeps getting better and better

I have been reading sci-fi, on and off, since I was a young teenager and have continued to do so as an Audible member. I buy a fair amount of sci-fi, but almost never buy all of the books in a series since the plots are generally not interesting enough to hold my attention through multiple volumes. That has not been true for this series.

I bought the first book out of curiosity, and the second book because I wanted to know what happened to the characters. After that, I was completely hooked and have bought all of the main books (but not volume 3.5 as it does not concern the main characters) as soon as they were available. As the storyline progressed I had expected to get tired of the characters or, at least, of the continuous series of catastrophes, but have not. In fact I find myself increasingly drawn into the story and concerned about the future of the individuals involved, including Skippy, the alien AI who has become as much of a real character to me as any of the humans.

Even more interesting are the open background questions that have not really been addressed - why is Skippy's memory missing information about his past, why have planets been moved out of their orbits, why and how have Elder cities been destroyed and equipment ransacked, and what really happened to the Elders? I keep thinking that the series, in its own time, may continue to pry loose some of this information but suspect that it may take a lot more books for some of this to become clear.

In some ways the missing information about the Elders has been more intriguing than the individual plots themselves but, as always, it is the back and forth between Skippy and Colonel Joe that forms the backbone of the book. Mr Alanson has done an absolutely wonderful job in making the new books fresh, in changing the crises just enough to keep them from getting repetitious and in keeping my attention.

R. C. Bray's narration is a large part of why I find these books so interesting. I started reading the Kindle version of this volume and found it lacked the humor and interest of the Audible version, and I suspect that without Mr Bray's wonderful narration I would have lost interest long before now.

Now, where is book 6?

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Shawn J Sustrich
  • 2018-06-09

how many times have I said get on with it?

I think the author is trying to fill a required word cout much like an undergrad in a creative writing class. characters get sidetracked why discussing important matters the author takes a side track from pointless dialogue do you have unnecessary context. really you don't think we know what the gingerbread house? you have to remind us it's from the story of Hansel and Gretel? there's that and then there's a limited abilities of the characters to express themselves. major Sims only ever Cocks her head. sometimes she does twice in a row which makes me think she double cocks it and it's now resting on her shoulder. Colonel Bishop can only pump his fist in excitement and hit his forehead on the desk in frustration. random characters can only bump Fists. it's Skippy can only call people dumb dumb. the characters coming in so other characters by calling them MF ER you know instead of actually using the two words like we're in 6th grade. I've developed so much resentment Colonel Joe that I honestly want to see him fail. but nobody ever fails because they have Skippy there's never any chance of risk you never think a character is going to die or even stub their toe. I could keep on going but I'll just finish by saying this Series has become very tiresome.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 2018-02-19

Very Poor

What would have made Zero Hour better?

I love the story line but come on, we know the characters, you could of cut 8 hours off and had a better story.

What could Craig Alanson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

story line cut to the last 6 hours and go forward.

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

Great

What character would you cut from Zero Hour?

none

Any additional comments?

I will continue to listen to the story but come on at this point we know everything we need to know just write a better story.

43 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • M. Rudolph
  • 2019-01-10

Just Meh (Spoiler-ish)

THE BOOK
This book follows the same repetitive formula of books 2 - 4.
...
Crew has a catastrophic problem.

The "beer can" A.I. (smartest being in the known universe) has no solution, so everyone is doomed.

Dumb monkey think up either an obvious or a rediculous solution after some mundane monkey interaction (the answer is in the canolli.)

Beer can is surprised dumb monkey brains came up with the answer.

Crew rejoices in their victory, but are almost instantly faced with another catastrophic problem.
...

Its like this was written for a scifi TV series (like Night Rider or Smallville) where every episode tells the full story, from beginning to end, in one hour. Then the next week you get the same story, but with different characters and maybe one or two new locations. Another good kid has gone karmically bad after exposure to Kryptonite, and the smart car conveniently has a new gadget perfect for solving the new problem. Even the repetitive way every crisis in the story moves from cliffhanger to conclusion feels custom made for commercial breaks.

Of all the stories in the series, this one is the most poorly done. Twice in the this book things that are introduced in a previous chapter are reintroduced in a way that leaves you thinking that the author must have forgotten he already covered that. It's also more riddled with blatant inconsistencies than its predecessors, and "there's a worm in the bear can!" can't explain away all of them. The most egregious deviation was when someone, who spent billions of years silent and alone because he was incapable of communicating with space fairing races, nonchalantly acts as liaison between the dumb monkeys and one of the most technologically advanced apex species in the galaxy.

THE NARRATOR
R. C. Bray is a phenomenal voice actor and narrator. His performance is probably the biggest reason I keep coming back to this series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful