Critical Mass (Expeditionary Force) Paperback – August 4, 2020
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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- Item Weight : 1.63 pounds
- Paperback : 393 pages
- ISBN-13 : 979-8669877323
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.99 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Independently published (August 4, 2020)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B08F6X4KHW
Best Sellers Rank:
#173,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3,319 in Military Science Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
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.
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, it’s actually the perfect setup.
Top reviews from other countries
Sadly, while amusing - possibly having a Maxhoulx capital ship has somewhat killed the series. Now they have the latest deus ex machina to resolved the issues building up from the last three books.
This book and universe is beginning to suffer from the latter series of Game of Thrones, particularly the jet-pack problem. The universe now seems small and inconsequential.
Major problems are overcome by a wave of the hand, while minor problems are dragged out for pages and pages of irrelevant text. The solutions of each of the problems seem not really playing by any of the in-universe rules developed over the series of books, so essentially it's technobabble.
I think I can think of at least three times where the author recommends a book in real life and that took me right out of the suspension of disbelief.
Long term fans of the series will probably tolerate this and read on for closure... as would I - but I don't necessarily have to like that trait in myself. I still enjoyed the camp soap opera but I can't bring myself to say that this is a positive addition to the series.
I don't think I can say too much about the events in Critical Mass but they are significant in terms of the overall Expeditionary Force and Mavericks series and delivered the action, suspense and humour a long time reader would come to expect. Looking forward to the next novels in both series and with so many mysteries still to be explored let alone resolved it will be a wild ride.