Expendables by James Alan Gardner

The first League of People/Expendables novels, starring Festina Ramos. The book is written in very quick moving chunks. Festina is instantly interesting– captivating really– with her competence and neuroses. She is quite competent, but has specialties and quirks that really set her off as a character.

Inside the standard chapter format are 1/2 page to page and a half sections set off with witty captions, telegraphing what the next section is about, but often with a twist or a humorous pun. It works exceptionally well, breaking the action into tiny chunks… and quickly propelling you from bite to bite. It’s hard to put down at any point, particularly since the next bite is so small…

The universe is fascinating, with a benevolent supremely powerful league over everything. Humanity mostly bumbles along smoothly, but everyone looks over their shoulders, knowing that the league is always watching. The resulting adaptations to the universe (stunners and defensive technology, no wars in space) makes it a unique universe to explore in.

Speaking of explore, the Explorer’s Corp is interestingly founded and formed– misfits that make sense. The range of responses to their conditions is interesting, as are the cross section of explorers. This first novel was strong enough that I instantly snap up each new novel in the universe as soon as I spot it.