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Renegades

Expeditionary Force, Book 7
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Length: 17 hrs and 7 mins
5 out of 5 stars (811 ratings)
Regular price: £41.29
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Summary

The battle-scarred star carrier Flying Dutchman is finally on her way back to Earth, after an exceptionally successful series of missions that have once again saved the world. The ship needs a serious refit, and her exhausted crew just wants a break from constant clandestine warfare against a vicious and superior enemy. Wishes come true, right? Not for the Merry Band of Pirates.

Includes special bonus note from the author.

©2018 Craig Alanson (P)2019 Podium Publishing

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

Skippying Across the Galaxy!

They are back! After taking a relative backseat Joe and Skippy are back in the saddle again doing what they do best, streaking across the universe to save the Earth and get involved in all manner of zany high jinks and adventures. Once this one takes off it's pretty relentless. The Merry Band of Pirates are back to the fore, albeit a slightly different version. Alanson has shuffled the pack a little with some of the other best-known characters having to take a back seat this time as a few new ones are sprinkled into the mix! What follows is an incredible series of adventures as the crew take on a series of 'impossible' missions using the usual crazy problem-solving just like the best in this series.

It has definitely been too long since I last had RC Bray dominating my eardrums, he is as good as ever injecting pace and urgency while also once again seeming to enjoy the aural gymnastics that these performances demand of him. He brings the banter between Joe and Skippy to life.

I think for anyone who was hoping for a lot more of the Joe and Skippy show this one will really hit the mark. For some, and I find this nagging at my mind, there is going to be a visit from the law of diminishing returns at some point as this is relentless Skippy and the book does suffer from the editing problems of the earlier books with some repetition. To get you started on your Skippy Bingo card I'll give you 'Unless that's a bad thing' for the early part of the book though it does die out as they leave Earth further behind.

Like the rest of the series though this is good fun stuff with a complete menagerie of alien species out there waiting to be visited by the pirates. Just trust the awesomeness and you'll have great fun!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

Disappointingly Repetitive

This could be so much better if the author stopped repeating the same sequences over and over again. there needs to be a bit more variety than repeating the same mistakes over and over again. I don't want to give up on the series but after this book I don't feel interested in buying the next.

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

still great at book 7

I still love the book even at book 7. Anything to stop Craig Alanson from cleaning the garage

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

A Slower Start But Still Very Entertaining

Renegades is another great story from Craig Alanson. As usual, I pre-ordered this way before release as I wanted it in my library the dayit became available. The Expeditionary Force series to date has been superb. This story purely deals with the merry band of pirates headed by Joe Bishop and the ever present Skippy. For some reason, I thought this book would pick up from the events at the end of the previous instalment with relation to the humans on Paradise forming a new mercenary force working for the Ruhar or something along those lines as I recall. I guess the Paradise element to this story may be the subject of the next in the series and one I look forward to greatly.

The amazing problem solving conundrums we've become used to from Alanson are present here and are worked through in pretty much the usual ingenius monkey brained way with help from Skippy. What is different here is that Bishop is at a total loss solving the main problem, how to stop a pair of senior species warships coming to investigate Earth. There is a raid on another advanced species base - or actually two - which are superbly written (as ever) and are at a pace that keeps you hooked. Alanson has a brilliant prose style that really makes action sequences flow so well and I can think of no other writer that does it better. Combine this prose style with the awesome narration of R.C Bray and you have a winner here.

However ..... I have to throw in a negative here for the first time in any of my reviews of the series so far. I love the characters and the way Alanson writes but I would have to say that this book takes rather too long to really get going. Sure, there is plenty of interesting threads going on here but it takes up too much of the initial story I feel. In addition, I think too much of the narrative was given over to the jibes between Bishop and Skippy. Don't get me wrong, these are often well received and funny and are a key element to the relationship between said characters but I do think it is rather overdone in this story and along with the slow start appears to me to feel rather like padding out of the book. Perhaps I am too used to the story picking up from the previous in such a way as to lead almost right into another dire situation so to be fair it might be written this way as a requirement of how this story unfolds.

Oh, a quick notice; Make sure you keep listening right to the very end of the audio book as many might switch off once the end credits are being narrated. There is an approximate 7 minute authors note so we get to hear the legend, Mr Alanson, tell us about how he got started with writing and his journey so far.

All in all this is a very good story . It just takes a bit longer to really get going than readers of his previous books might expect. Still, the wait is worth it and Alanson doesn't disappoint in that regard.

1 of 1 people found this review 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

More of the same but MORE!

Hitting all the same magnificent beats as previous books our fearless monkeys surprise themselves by surpassing themselves. Again.
With a little help from a beer can of course.
Read it dumdum!

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

They did it again!!

Will not give anything away but wow, nailed it again, superbly done and can't wait to get my hands on the next book. It's going to be awesome!.

I salute the awesomeness that is skippy and the merry band of pirates!!!

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

One of the best if not the........series!

Truly and probably my favorite series ever.
Craig Alanson writing is awesome and that’s a fact that nobody can deny, his imagination is totally amazing!
R.C. Bray is an awesome narrator and that is also a fact that can’t be denied.
A Perfect Match for A perfect Series!
Two things:
1) I can’t wait for the continuation of this series and the sooner the better!
2) Can anybody get me my own Skippy, searching on eBay got me no results, and I’ll pay anything for one ;-). ????

But seriously what a wonderful series, there are very few that even after year or 10 and many other books in between, once you start right from the first few sentences the whole series comes right back to you like you have never left, that is truly amazing and almost impossible to create!
I thank you for that with all my heart.

Absolutely recommend this incredible series to all !!!!!

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

Meh!

I loved the series however have to admit I found this one a bit lacking. A lot of the script drifts off and hasn’t anything to do with the storyline. It just seems it could be done in half the time. And still nothing really important revealed!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

You are NOT gonna like this!

I love this series of books, the next ExForce is the release I look forward to most and I abandon what I am listening to the day it comes out and I’ve never been disappointed. I still really liked this latest instalment but this time I did have criticisms, hopefully constructive ones.

Firstly the change of crew with leaving major characters out that we’ve grown to love, I could have lived with it except for the fact that the new characters barely got a look in and we barely even got to learn more about the returning lesser known characters.

Secondly the story felt very rushed, like we were racing through one scene just to get to the next, especially the battle with the two “strongest ships in the galaxy” which zipped by in the blink of an eye, it just didn’t feel right. In fact it felt a little like this whole book was just getting the Maxolhx threat out of the way so the story can move on to the next thing, presumably discovering what happened with the ancients.

I don’t know, I still enjoyed listening but something just felt “off” with it. Sorry Craig, still love all your books and will buy the new Mavericks book and the next ExForce on release day but this one hit just a little off the mark for me.

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  • Bevs
  • wales
  • 17-04-19

Amazing

I love this series and hope that there are loads more to come, I hope the next bok will be out soon

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Spankybus
  • 03-04-19

Same Problems as BSG and LOST

This series has been what I look forward to the most. Every time a new book hits, i re-listen to the series , in order, to get ready..usually to remind myself of whats happened prior. With each book, there is a slight drop-off in enjoyment as the same jokes, one-liners, and themes reiterate themselves without significant story evolution. Note that until This book, I felt the falling off was slight.

My gut feeling with Renegades is that the author never expected this series to be this successful when he set out...and not he's just padding the story with repetitive crap to wring every cent out of it that he can. Its the same feeling I had with ScyFy's Battlestar Galactica, LOST, and a dozen others shows that were overnight hits. Its like, "Holy crap, this is huge...we need more seasons"

The story is languishing. The jokes are pretty old now: "Let's go with the caring thing", "Hold my Beer", "I hate my life" I don't want to give much away, so I'll not say more...but predictable is the word...its become predictable.

We need to evolve the current characters. The story about overarching Skippy story needs to move forward faster, we need some new characters with depth in their own right. Hell, in this book, there were even fewer players...which meant we had to spend even more time with the same circular jokes and plot.

This series has been great...but please move it along, evolve the characters...More has to happen...If the next book falls off harder than this one did, I think I am done. At the very least, I won't pre-oder anymore and wait to read the reviews.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • BeauFLA
  • 27-03-19

Good But I Hoped For More

Book 7 is a lot better than book 6. For me however, there was too much bantering and not enough story development. Don't get me wrong I like the banter between the characters. But, when I can fast forward a few minutes and the same banter between the same characters on the same subject is still going on for several minutes afterward, its a bit much.

Just my perspective. I am sure there are a lot of Skippy fans who have a different opinion.

All in all I did enjoy the book. Just not as much as if there would have a bit more story development.

24 of 26 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
  • Jeremy
  • 03-04-19

Series needs to go somewhere soon

I've enjoyed listening to these audiobooks at work. I skipped Paradise Lost as well as Book 6 as I felt they were nothing more than fillers or contractual obligations to the publisher. While I don't think this book was bad, I feel like it was rushed out just to have more sales. I know this is the goal of any author and publisher, but I would rather not be able to feel that is the case while I'm listening to the book. The series really needs to go somewhere in the next book.
I agree with other listeners that it needs to explore the Elders, more of Skippy's hidden background, as well as some interaction with some higher species.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Max
  • 28-03-19

Great story but starting to slow down

Honestly the book was great the narrating was amazing, I loved the commentary between skippy and joe. But I’m going to be honest, the plot feels like it’s slowed down quite a bit, like there’s little advancement in the story and the overall plot line. I feel like personally it’s a bit slower in the past 2 books and some moments feel really drawn out. But overall it’s excellent writing and it’s amazing narration always has me coming back to the series!

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • 27-03-19

Felt weak

R.C. Bray is amazing as always.

This series has been fun to listen to till this book.

This felt like Robert Jordan during the filler parts of Wheel of Time. Amazing detail spanning hours that did not progress the plot much.

Hopefully things get better the next couple of books.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • 27-03-19

Irrational behavior and Poor Character Development

I keep buying these titles because the narration is some of the best out there. R.C. Bray is the absolute best. His ability to lose himself in the narration and convey not only different dialects, but female voices, is flat out amazing. But this is where the flattery for this title ends.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the Earth Governments are being painted as such cowardly imbeciles. Sure, government bureaucracy is sometimes laughably bad, but we can still understand their motivations, even if it is self-serving. But with regard to their treatment of our protagonist and his team, it's utterly baffling. When a military leader is disconnected from his command, he/she makes decisions to further the mission and protect his patrons. At every turn, Joe Bishop has made decisions that aligned with the goals of Earth and her safety. Yet each time they go home, Joe and his crew are railroaded and treated with hostility with no regard to sanity or common sense. They are chastised for making horrible decisions, yet each of those decisions had absolutely no alternative where Earth could have been safer had those decisions not been made. The author seems intent on painting the governments as evil, which is a rather unforgivable writing error. Conflict needs to be believable, and watching as the US Govt creates an adversary out of a supremely intelligent AI makes zero sense. Finding ways to work with that AI would be the most logical choice, yet the government seems content to ignore that, between Joe and Skippy, none of this would have been possible without them. It requires some serious mental gymnastics to explain why they would scuttle the only known means to save the planet.

Furthermore, the exposition continues to be mind numbingly boring and repetitive. Were it not for R.C. Bray, I'm not sure I could tolerate the "planning sessions" which are just a laundry list of in-universe rules which may or may not be broken depending on the narrative required. So much Deus-Ex Machina and MacGuffins are involved in these sessions that it's almost hilarious. "We can't do this because of X, but there is this super secret device that can accomplish this, but it's locked up on a military base/enemy star-ship/relay station." Honestly, I feel as if Alanson if just phoning it in in the last several books.

My personal opinion on this series....take some risks. Change the narrative. Expose the human race, reveal Skippy to another race, even if it's a select few. Let the people on Paradise know about the Dutchman, give them some hope, hell, rescue them. Fight for survival with everything on the table. And can we please, for the love of Skippy, start learning more about the Elders and the origins of our beloved beer can? What can't he tell us, why can't he tell us, can the human race learn the secrets of the Elders? Maybe that's how we win? We've made almost zero progress on this narrative over the course of 7.5 books. We need something more than the same rinse and repeat scenarios.

And lastly, let's get some damned character development. We have seen almost no character growth from Joe Bishop. He remains the same reluctant hero that he was in the very beginning, even with so many accomplishments under his belt. He should be extremely confident at this point. He shouldn't be taking leadership notes from his crew. At every turn he is being chided by supporting characters for not being a leader, yet his actions under pressure is leadership defined. What makes this military genius turn into a cowardly lion between victories? Joe is our protagonist, we need him to grow and succeed. As the reader, we need to have a few "hell yeah" moments every now and again. As it stands, Joe is just a doormat for everyone else's character growth.

Interestingly enough ,even after all these criticisms, I will still be a loyal fan. You can thank R.C. Bray and Skippy for my continued patronage. I would listen to Bray read from my vehicles technical manual..... And Skippy, well that is perhaps the best written character in the series, and even though much of the snark is also rinse and repeat, the combination of Bray and Skippy are just a joygasm for the ears. Anyway, on to the next book...

45 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Humility
  • 09-04-19

You know it says headings are optional...

This book was equal parts frustrating and entertaining. I am real glad its abandoned its purely formulaic approach. Still the way the problems continuously and endlessly stacked... I honestly wanted nothing more than for them to find what they needed at the moonbase to fix up their ship properly and crew up at Paradise, So properly outfitted they could actually start DOING SOMETHING.

Instead is often felt like just endless descriptions of their handicaps and trying to solve those instead of achieving any plot progression. And sometimes like a chapter would be spent on a problem that literally solved itself. To the point that it felt like filler instead of story. I liken it to playing an old school Jrpg, with the random encounter rate set to every half step. Sometimes the filler obstacles were entertaining because of a good joke or a switch of perspective but more often than not, they were just there. But Im still giving it 4 stars because when it wasn't boring me with minutiae it was generally entertaining and interesting. And I feel the entertaining just barely outweighs the boring and frustrating.

I still might have given it 3 stars because of how completely unrealistic the book was. I mean come on, every single country on the council agreeing? But I decided to be nice. This time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Angus
  • 06-04-19

Concerned

I have listened to all the books in the series and the 2 Paradise books. This one misses the mark. It is if Mr. Alanson came up short and just put in description to make the word count. The characters are lacking depth. I really wanted to love this book but I can’t.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • D. G. Florida
  • 02-04-19

Not nearly as good as the previous

This book has some serious problems.

First, the "Colonel Joe comes up with bizarrely creative solutions to impossible problems" is beaten to death in this book. Skippy and various characters comment on it ALL THE TIME. Its the theme of the book.

Second, the level of cussing has increased significantly. Its not extreme, but its definitely increased and to the point that I don't listen to the book in front of my children. Increased foul language is a cop out and usually a sign that the author is floundering for new ideas. Its like a comedian whose jokes are old so he tries pump some life into them with some 4 letter words.

Third, there is a lot of repetition, and there are some unnecessary paragraphs (they have no relevance to the story), and there are some sections that are just plain boring (which I jumped through skipping forwards in 15 sec increments).

While the first 6 books were very good (books 1 & 2 were superb), this one is a real let down. A few good moments, a little Skippy comedy, but overall its not that great as space opera or military space sci fi. I fear the series has run its course.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • drsmith2002
  • 01-04-19

"Didn't I listen to this story 3 books ago..."

I really love this series, but this one is starting to drag. As always RC Bray is awesome, I would have given this series up a long time ago if not for him. The characters and plot are just not moving along well. The joke between Skippy and the other characters are becoming tired now. It was great in the first few books, but things just feel like they haven't progressed. I would love to explore the story of the elders more, what's the mystery with the AI's, anything but the save the world from X alien disaster caused by Joe not thinking plan Y through?? Also, Skippy is not really cute in this one, I found him way more annoying than funny...

11 of 13 people found this review helpful