Expeditionary Force series (Audiobook) review
By: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
Release date: 12-13-16
Publisher: Podium Audio
R.C. Bray 5/5
Publisher’s Summary (Columbus Day)
Nominee, Audie Awards – Audiobook of the Year, 2018
We were fighting on the wrong side of a war we couldn’t win. And that was the good news.
The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits.
When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar, wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria, to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn’t even be fighting the Ruhar, they aren’t our enemy. Our allies are.
I’d better start at the beginning.
The Expeditionary Force series begins with Columbus Day, and as of this writing, the final book in the series is due mid-December 2022. There are a total of 15 books in this series and the average listen time is close to 20 hours. The story follows Joe Bishop, low ranking member of the U.S. Army through an alien invasion of the earth and eventual picking up arms against the invading force. The aliens in the series each have their own biology, ranging from humanoid hamsters to evil cats, lizards, and spiders. Each type of alien is well thought out and has its own political structure and motivations.
Early in the story, Bishop discovers an ancient alien Ai who teaches the humans about space flight, and each alien race. The interaction between Bishop and the Ai is the driving force behind the series and has been the source of many laugh out loud moments while listening to the series. The crazy solutions to the never-ending string of problems and catastrophes the duo face is a constant source of enjoyment. Honestly, it is tough to explain how good this series is without giving too much away, it is also very difficult to encapsulate 15 books into one short review. In a nutshell, the earth is invaded, and eventually with the help of the Ai humankind find themselves with their own starship.
The stellar performance throughout the series of R.C. Bray cannot be understated. His ability to give each alien race their own feel and voice style is fantastic. Of particular note, is the way Mr. Bray voices the absent-minded Ai character named skippy. I’m unsure if this series would have been as listenable in the long term without his skilled narration.
Did I have fun?
With any series of this length there are bound to be high and low points in the story. There were books that were a bit slower in terms of storyline, but the bulk of the listening time was very entertaining. I generally reserve my listening time to when I walk or workout, and my level of motivation to get out and walk so I could enjoy the story was a constant incentive for me to workout. There were times when I was so involved in the story that I found myself doubling or tripling my walk distance so I could appreciate the latest adventures of the team. I’m also not one to relisten to an audiobook, but each time a new book was slated to be released I found myself listening to the most recent release in anticipation of the upcoming addition to the series.
Where the series stumbles is in the spinoff Mavericks books. While they were still narrated by R.C. Bray, I did not enjoy the stories nearly as much as I did the books in the central story arc.
The only offering in the series I did not like was the Audio Drama Homefront, which featured some high caliber celebrities like Zachary Quinto, and Kate Mulgrew, who I am a big fan of.
I loved this series and look forward to its eventual conclusion with both anticipation and dread. I feel like I have had these characters in my life for so long it will feel empty without them. Get the first book, read it and let me know what you think. The premise of hamsters and lizards invading the earth may seem silly, but there is so much to love about this series.
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About the author
Ted Tahquechi is a blind photographer, travel influencer, disability advocate and photo educator based in Denver, Colorado. You can see more of Ted’s work at www.tahquechi.com
Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers. https://www.blindtravels.com/
Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at: https://www.bodyscapes.photography/
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