Renegades (Expeditionary Force, #7) By Craig Alanson

Summary Renegades (Expeditionary Force, #7)


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. Renegades (Expeditionary Force, #7)

Well, my mind is blown.

The Merry Band of Pirates has faced impossible odds before. Truly. However, this book is a step up from that. In all possible ways.
First off, the mission isn't mereley impossible, it's so impossible everyone wants to give up. I am still amazed at how everything turned out.
Second, Skippy is more of an asshole than ever before. No, honestly, in that first mission (no spoilers, I promise) he was so much an asshole that I was starting to hate him. So far, I had only been amused by his behavior, I had to stop and consider that maybe Alanson had overplayed his hand. Thankfully, his assholishness returned to a normal setting, but I am still peeved about it.
And then, then there's the Elders mystery the books have been hinting at all this time. For the first time we start getting a few answers and it's mind blowing.
I don't know what's in store for the next half of the series, but I on board. 316 Overall, I enjoyed Renegades. It was satisfying to see some progress on certain story lines. That being said, I'm getting tired of the same problems being hashed and re-hashed. It feels like each book is just the same basic problem of oh no, we need to keep earth from being discovered by ! First it was the Kristang, then it was the Thuranin, now it was the Maxolhx. Every time it is absolutely impossible and then Joe thinks up some crazy plan and Skippy complains and bemoans the fact that he didn't think of that. I don't think I will be able to justify listening to another book if it is just more of the same.

Also, it's getting difficult to listen to how crappy The Dutchman is. If the crew has been able to accomplish all this other stuff, why can't they figure out a way to go steal a senior species ship to replace The Dutchman. I mean seriously.... 316 Feels like a rerun

Nothing new and a lack of characters left the story very hollow. At some point, the relationship between Skippy and Joe has to progress from sarcastic, put down, jibes. It feels forced at this point. This story had really no suspense, no revelation of the larger plot lines, and no development of any of the characters. It felt like a re-run. 316 316 Best one in the series yet. R.C. Bray is a scifi legend. Narrators like him make audiobooks the way they are supposed to be: engulfing, enjoyable, gripping, hilarious. Kudos to Craig Alanson for giving us a little blurb at the end. His short 10 minute story how this series originated makes it that more special. I'd say this is the first time I have ever continued a series this long and still thoroughly am enjoying it. I really hope this gets turned into a series someday... but only if R.C is the voice of Skippy. 316

RENEGADES by Craig Alanson is yet another delightful novel in the Expeditionary Force series. A series about humans discovering they are not alone in the galaxy and also the weakest species technologically. Thankfully, they've discovered an AI in a beer can-shaped device that gives them a chance to potentially dig themselves out of the hole they've unwittingly dug for themselves.

Renegades has the premise that humanity wants to reveal themselves to one of the less jerky factions of the galaxy due to a pair of advanced battle cruisers that have found their way toward our home planet. This is a terrible idea but I'm not sure I agree that Joe Bishop's plan to keep hiding Earth will work either. Either way, he plans to steal humanity's only starship and try to destroy the battle cruisers.

Already the plot about hiding the Earth is becoming a bit stale and is starting to affect my enjoyment, no matter how much I love Skippy and Joe's interaction. Likewise, if you haven't listened to HOMEFRONT on Audible, you won't understand a single bit of the opening.
316 March 2021
I revisited this while swimming laps just to visit old friends. Honestly, it just never gets old -

June 2020
I don't know - this was of course still a great book in the series and they got a lot of amazing things accomplished. But Joe is clearly growing weary of Skippy's endless insults. Quite honestly, so am I. But I love the crew and the action scenes were fantastic. It's all worth it in the end. And largely because of RC Bray! 316 Listened and read all of these books within a span of one year.

I first downloaded the audible of Columbus Day, after that, I couldn't get enough of the Expeditionary Force. The writing, the humor, everything about this series is, in the words of Skippy, Awesome! Can't wait for the next two books of the series, and hope for a lot more of the future. I would also love to see this turn into a television series. Wishful thinking on my part 😏 316 To quote the immortal Skippy, “Blah, blah, blah…”

As I write this review, I’ve caught up with all of the Expeditionary Force books that have been released. I can no long just keep throwing more Audible credits at them hoping for them to improve.

This one has finally hit rock bottom. The sad part is that I don’t even hate the book, it is just a monumental disappointment. At the end of the previous book, after having saved the day, again, it all gets spoiled by the revelation that two big bad Maxolhx warships are coming to Earth to investigate. This book essentially is about nothing but dealing with those two ships via a series of steps even crazier than what the crew of the Flying Dutchman have dealt with in the past.

And therein lies the most fundamental failing of Renegades – the utter repetition. There is an impossible mission to destroy another alien ship(s) with a Dutchman that is in worse shape than ever. But we’ve been through this story a couple of times now with just the difficulty level of the boss battle cranked up.

But, there are several things that make this the worst of the series by far. First, the Skippy and Joe banter are wearing really thin. The same arguments and insults get repeated over and over and over. Even the other crew in this book are growing sick of Skippy – the AI and Joe have become stagnant.

Next, due to reasons, most of the crew that have been on board get replaced with a bunch of ciphers. Only a couple of the original crew make it back this time and Alanson gives us little reason to care about any of the newcomers, they’re pretty much just a bunch of bots pulling switches.

Another great failing is that, while the Maxolhx and Bosphuraq and the major antagonists this time, Alanson gives us almost nothing useful about them. In the previous books, we’ve gotten to see the cultures and characters of the Ruhar, the Kristang, the gambling obsessed Jeraptha, and the mentalist Thuranin. The Maxolhx and Bosphuraq might as well be “generic evil alien 1” and “super difficult generic alien 2”. The world building really fails this time, and it was really needed to break up the monotony of listening to the story.

Obviously, the author is free to tell the story that he wants to tell. It seems unfortunate that he’s content to keep telling the same story over and over with just turning the difficulty knob up a bit each time. But, it really could be so much more. He’s clearly given a lot of thought to this universe, the alien races, and the history. But, we’re seven+ books in and that history – who/what the Elders were, what Skippy really is, what has been going on in the universe – a few crumbs have been scattered, but not enough to be worth the slog of getting through this book.

Hopefully this book marks an end to the “destroy alien threat without detection” rinse, lather, repeat cycle and Alanson will start turning his attention to telling us about this wider universe he’s created and the ultimate story of what’s going on. 316 I enjoy this series so much! I already have the rest of the books in my library ready to read in the upcoming weeks. I also love how this book had an author's note at the end talking about the series and how it started - I had no idea these books all started so recently?? I went back and looked at publication dates and Alanson is writing at a truly incredible pace. I love how the series manages to take such fresh twists and turns but when things happened they still all feel like Alanson has plotted them in advance instead of just tacking on extra story to meet a contract. This is one of my favorite sci fi action series :) 316