Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10)

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Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10) audiobook

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Review #1

Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10) audiobook free

I’ll keep this as spoiler free as I can. Book 9 ended with a huge cliffhanger. I spent some time over the last year while waiting for book 10 contemplating the ramifications — wondering what could/couldn’t be done with the new situation. Instead of dealing with the issues fall out from the cliffhanger, it was resolved with a Pitch Meeting worthy, “I bet dealing with that cliffhanger is going to be a real challenge.” “Nope. No problem at all. Barely an inconvenience.” “Whoopsie.” The trivial way in which the author dealt with resolving that was a real disservice to his readers, IMHO. Almost as if it was too difficult to resolve in a meaningful way, so he gave up trying. There was a big wrap up to the major threat to Earth near the end of the book. I’m glad that was finally done. I’ll probably stop with this series on this book. That said, I’ve enjoyed it overall and will be happy to read more Craig Alanson when he moves onto something fresh.


Review #2

Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10) audiobook streamming online

Hmm was really looking forward to this book, after the abrupt cliff hanger of book 9, i was expecting more… I’ll avoid spoilers, nothing worse than checking out reviews which make the book sound terrible, each to there own after all, however… nothing happened, it took half the book to get back to how things were, 90% of this book is pure flutternutter ๐Ÿ™‚ despite my strong desire to savor this much anticipated book, I ended up skim reading the latter half of it. The last 10% was awesome!, classic skippy and joe hold my beer moments ๐Ÿ™‚ sadly overall felt a bit unfocused. 2 stars for the fluffernutter, 4 for the end. Will get the next one.


Review #3

Audiobook Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10) by Craig Alanson

I’ll start by giving this points for doing better with the characters. Though they’ve generally been well done, I feel on this outing Alanson did an especially good job at making them feel more real and relatable. And as usual he gets his science, military knowledge, and pop culture references down. Enjoyable as always.

With that said, I think this may be the weakest book in the series.

For starters, the cliffhanger resolution just felt kind of weak. Without spoiling anything, Book 9 ends with a cliffhanger that leaves the Merry Band in a bit of a pickle. It’s setup as a really bad situation, one that will require the Pirates to really step up their game. But it ends up getting resolved without too much cleverness, and it all feels kind of easy. The resolution feels kind of lazy as it doesn’t really impact the Pirates that much for the rest of the story.

After the cliffhanger is resolved, the book just kind of continues aimlessly for a while. The Pirates never seen to be working towards any sort of goal, and there just doesn’t seem to be much of a plot. The actual plot doesn’t start up until a bit over halfway through. With the way Alanson writes, you basically end up reading a full length novel’s worth of material before the plot ever arrives.

While the actual story ends up being good and compelling, it just makes up too little of the book. Even when it arrives, there’s so much filler material that you just kind of end up slogging through until you find a part where something important happens.

There’s a lot of good stuff in Critical Mass, but I feel I have to give this three stars due to the amount of effort involved in getting to that good stuff.


Review #4

Audio Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10) narrated by R.C. Bray

Alanson has improved almost every aspect of his writing. Over the course of the series, I would get tired of constant reminders and summaries of previous books. It felt like filler and it was almost like the author didn’t trust his readers to remember previous books. There are still references to previous missions, but the filler is gone. It was a welcome and refreshing change of pace.

Characters developed well. Alanson tries to add additional dimensions to well estanlished characters, and he succeeds. Traumas should be traumatizing, and the characters react believably to what they experienced in earlier books. The addition of a new character added fresh comic relief that was very welcome. Banter is funny and snappy and has been a consistent strength in the series.

As always, events are wild and unpredictable. I’ve never been too great at predicting what will happen next, but Alanson is particularly good at resolving problems in unexpected and exciting ways.

Overall, this book is fantastic and showcases Alanson’s growth as a writer and storyteller. It was so good I finished it less than 24 hours after purchasing. I was weary after Valkyrie, and this book has left me energized and excited for the next installment.


Review #5

Free audio Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force #10) – in the audio player below

As always, this stupid monkey is incredibly impressed with yet another Expeditionary Force novel. This has become my runaway favorite series of not only the space opera genre, but of fiction generally. The arc of Book 10, just as with each of the books in this series, has a familiar feel, but it still hasnt grown long in the tooth. Well worth picking up for any fan of the series. And if you havent read the whole series, go get Book 1 now and be thrilled for the many hours of reading/listening you have ahead of you.

Oh, and if you even sort of enjoy audiobooks, this series as read by R.C. Bray is even better still.

Lastly, due to the number of folk who seem displeased with how the cliffhanger from Book 9 was resolved… I actually think it was genius. I can definitely see why it may have seemed like an easy way out, but if my suspicions for the next major plot point of the series is correct, its actually the perfect setup.


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