Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the solar system...
Humanity is on the ropes, and after years of fighting a two-front war with losing odds, so is Commonwealth Defense Corps officer Andrew Grayson. He dreams of dropping out of the service one day, alongside his pilot girlfriend, but as warfare consumes entire planets and conditions on Earth deteriorate, he wonders if there will be anywhere left for them to go.
After surviving a disastrous spaceborne assault, Grayson is reassigned to a ship bound for a distant colony - and packed with malcontents and troublemakers. His most dangerous battle has just begun.
In this sequel to the best-selling Terms of Enlistment, a weary soldier must fight to prevent the downfall of his species...or bear witness to humanity’s last, fleeting breaths.
©2014 Marko Kloos (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Terms of Enlistment is by no means a perfect book but it was one I enjoyed immensely: a non blustery military sci fi that isn't in love with its tech, its military, or right wing politics. Rather, we have an everyman navigating the military as a way out of a dead end life on welfare, who won't suddenly end up captaining a ship or becoming an insta-leader. As well, I appreciated that we didn't have a gender-specific army but instead had capable roles for male and female characters. I read the second book in the series, Lines of Departure, first and liked it enough to buy this first book.
Story: Andrew Grayson joins the military as a way out of an untenable life in the welfare system of the North American government. He will go through training school and then end up tackling the problematic situation of the deteriorating social structure on Earth. But what is happening on Earth is only one problem in a universe that is about to expand rapidly - and the military is suddenly going to become very needed.
What I liked about the books is that we have a very ordinary guy. Although he sounds far too educated to have come from a welfare system in which he didn't get higher education (there are no colloquialisms, slang, dialects, etc.) I actually preferred that simple talk for a simple man. Both this first book and the second book start slowly but really pick up steam by midway through. And then, when the action kicks in, Kloos really knows how to escalate it - his characters don't have bad days, they have *really* bad days.
This is the type of story that isn't about kick butt marines, balls out action, or being macho. It's about being lucky to survive, a feeling of futility but also hope, and living in a world on the brink of falling apart on many levels.
I listened to the audible version of this and enjoyed the narration.
First off, let me just say that I could listen to Luke Daniels read the phone book and still be mildly entertained; he is just that good. I found this series through searching for additional books narrated by Daniels.
The story is interesting and the author does manage to meld military, the future and aliens in a somewhat believable way, but for me the story falls short for the same reason as the first in the series: It keeps you wanting and waiting for more, for the big climax and the breakout of the main character into greatness, but it just never quite happens. Additionally, this book and the first in the series fall short of my expectations due to:
1) The characters are overwhelmingly average in their capabilities, hopes and dreams. For me this is the equivalent of making Rambo a story about a average soldier to easily blends in rather than stands out. If I am reading fiction and expected to partially suspend reality, I prefer a slightly over the top "hero".
2) While the author goes into great detail describing objects, he does a horrible job of describing the physical traits of the characters. I don't believe he gives the reader much of a description of the main character in either of the books other than eyes and hair.
To be fair, there are plenty of reviewers who seem to appreciate that the characters are so average and if you prefer this type of story then you will most probably love the book.
All that said, I will still probably by the next book in the series, as Luke Daniels carries the books for me. Conversely, there is no way they would keep my attention in print, or with most any other narrator.
Luke Daniels is currently my favorite Narrator. He is easy to listen to and always does a awesome job. He's really good at voices.
This is Book 2 of Terms of Enlistment. If you enjoyed book 1 you will enjoy this one as well. I'm usually not into space adventure books,"NOT A STAR WARS FAN" but, I really enjoy this series and really want Marko the author to hurry up and put out another book to the series.
This book does not break any sci-fi barriers, but is you like military sci-fi it is a good listen. Kloos has an interesting view of humanity in the future. Things in the galaxy are falling down all around the humans and we just keep fighting each other tooth and nail. There is no good and bad, just different points of view. Each faction had its own take on greed. The main character has changed some since the first book and I like the evolution. The author did a good job of showing that Andrew had grown up and is not the punk kid that left home at the beginning of the first book. The book was kept me entertained and seemed like it was over in no time. I'll definitely read the next in this series. Once again the narrator did a good job and I would listen to him again.
Inostrancevia - the uber Gorgonopsian.
For the record, reader, the questions I was originally strapped with have magically disappeared and the ones you see here probably bare no connection to my replies. No joke,POOF! just switched 20 seconds ago. As I have just wasted an hour of my life trying to come up with a review, I decline to change my responses to conform to this new set. I put up the review anyways out of spite and contempt for the nudnicks at Audible who perpetrated this act on me. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks again for fucking with me Audible!
Now to my review that now makes little if any sense.
Yes. I plan on revisiting this audiobook in 7 months and 14.5 days. Why? EZ Audible. Your computer generated unimaginative question borders on the accusatory. I'll get back to this book, just don't get all pissy about it. When I do, I'll drop you a line, alright?
I would compare Lines of Departure to one book in particular - "Like a Cliff in the Ocean" by Kurt Ullrich. The two books are almost totally unrelated other than they both chronicle wartime experiences and the first letter of each title is L.
Grayson's unit had just finished kicking the crap out of a Chinese battalion on one of those god forsaken toxic planets. His squad is just about to break out the soy-based synth champagne and toast their victory when they all suddenly froze, looked up into the inky nothingness and saw death zorching into view and then proceed to swat down the UNA space fleet (Grayson's ride back home). As I listened to this scene I briefly closed my eyes, bowed my head and murmured "f......k, these guys are toast." Needless to say, I was thoroughly in the moment. Yet another sign of an audiobook well written and professionally narrated.
Maybe I am a bit dense, but didn't I just answer this question? If a scene particularly moves me, it tends to be a favorite scene. Which mouth breathing missing link intern over at corporate is coming up with these questions?
Hey Audible - thanks for posting questions so as to make actually reviewing this audiobook as difficult as possible.
What I now get to say is this audiobook is a top notch piece of military science fiction.
The author created a truly bleak picture of a future Earth infested with shiftless ghetto rats sardine canned into crumbling urban mega-slums. Put it this way, to show how much the good ol' USA had slouched into what I can only describe as a putrid armpit, the author gives us a scene from an earlier book in this series when Grayson was a grunt in the TA and his unit was pinned down in an exposed position receiving fire from the upper stories of a bombed out high rise tenement. All of a sudden there is an explosion in one of the building's lower stories which causes massive structural damage and sends the whole building pancaking down on itself in a cacophony of wrenching rebar and cries of lament.
Grayson and his comrades were saved that day by a bad batch of teeth loosening twitch powder that blew up another poorly ventilated "stim lab" in that building, thus snuffing out the snipers who were trying to pick them off. A big chunk of the human population basically devolved into heavily armed, jacked up cockroaches. Tough world, no doubt.
In Lines of Departure, this foul dystopoia keeps wheezing along. The new enemy is exponentially more deadly than anything humans can cook up. These intergalactic losers, these oversized pesky CO2 sucking scum bags want our stuff, we won't let them have it. Can humanity drop all of their petty quarrels and shout a collective "Get your own stuff you slackjawed leaches!" Only time will tell. Only one side will be left standing.I add in summation that there is no one, and mean no one who can pull off the paranoid shriek an overwhelmed, scared shitless soldier makes like Luke Daniels. He is a pro, and when given a narration gig like this book, he rises to the challenge and cracks a liner out of the park. He can mix in 12 different character voices one after the other and then seamlessly deadpan back into narrator mode without skipping a beat. His range is limitless, the southern drawled, squeaky voiced Barney Fife type character being my favorite. I hope Mr. Kloos keeps pumping out books like this, and Mr. Daniels is offered the narrator's spot. They make a solid team. I will definitely snap up books by this talented duo.
I find the story entertaining and engaging and I wish there was a third one out. There's always something going on or about to go on and yet the plot doesn't take you where you expect, it's always something slightly different, or radically different, from what you thought. The characters are believable and engaging. The side issue of Earth society is dealt with in a credible manner without becoming preachy or boring.
The reader is pretty good, but sometimes hard to tell men from women and too many people have the craggy "I shout for a living" voice even when talking to normal people. I worked with UK military for a long time and have US military friends (senior master sergeant, nuclear engineers, SEAL team commander, Ranger) and none of them had that ruined voice. Mostly I liked the performance though, 97%.
As science fiction if he wants a mega gun that can do what a tank gun does today but can be carried by a normal soldier I have no issue with that. Unlikely, or according to NASA this week, quite possible FTL drive... perfectly fine by me. And there's plenty of that. SciFi does not need to explain its physics and should not try.
Slight spoilers and complaints of poor research and physics from here...
Where it broke the suspension of disbelief for me was in the mundane physics. You don't need to be specific, you can say it's a micronuke and leave it at that.
If you are bothering to tell me the weight and speed of something please bother to work out your numbers credibly when you are putting them in the mouth of a physicist. 43,000 metric tons is 43x10^6 Kg, 5km/s is 5x10^6m/s. Energy is 1/2 mv^2 so .5x43E6x(5E6)^2 = 5.375E20J. As it happens there is a well known conversion factor for TNT equivalence so 1billion tons of TNT is 4.184E18J so the number you want is 128.5GT equivalent. Not vaguely hundreds. If the blast took place in one second then it is 5.4E20 Watts, the sun is 4E26 Watts, Just about 1,000,000 times the power, all the time. So at about 8.3 light minutes it would still just be a little flash. Not a second sun for some time. Not enough to bother sensors.
If a thing happens 150 million Km away and you are using optical sensors it will take 8.3 minutes for the light to get to you, not a few seconds.
If you blow up a ship its engines can no longer propel it, so it is not still accelerating at 0.25g.
A 50 microton warhead would be equivalent to 1.6oz of TNT. Why not just use 1oz of HMX and save the technical complexity. Of course that won't do what you said, but it's SciFi, feel free to make the warhead a more believable and credible size.
There were more, but those were the ones I found particularly offensively careless.
Obviously more coming
Michael Z. Williamson "Freehold" series for Buetner's "Orphan" series for combat and social awareness.
My Gosh! Stop with the stereotypical raspy voice for almost all military.
Can't stay awake that long, or I would.
Read "Terms of Enlistment" first, if you can, although this novel does well enough as a stand-alone. Marko Kloos has revealed himself as quite the subversive, and I approve! He seems to think that sometimes, a society will endure a time when it is not the cream that rises to the top, but the ... well, you know.
In the first book of this series (may there be many more!) Grayson is a callow youth; not stupid, mind you, just living in a black and white world. He is optimistic in a world that is falling apart. In "Lines" he has begun to realize that he is those at the top are behaving with perverse stupidity, and he slowly comes to know that he has to do something about it or lose his self respect.
A weakness of the book is Kloos aliens: what makes them tick. Why are they so powerful and yet so apparently stupid. Humans are cockroaches to them, such is their technological superiority. They wipe us out like we would fumigate termites, and as easily. But I don't know of any termites that can band together to kill humans, or burn down a house rather than let you move in. The aliens inscrutability is taken too far. Wouldn't they make more effort to stop us from fighting back if they are so powerful? Maybe Kloos will explain this in the next book.
And there better be a next book. Our hero is likable and the writing is smooth and professional.
But please, again, narrator Luke Daniels, stop with the constricted throat rasping voice for all ground troops except our hero and his girlfriend. Even Sergeant Brianna sounds like a weight lifter. And apparently all the pilots speak in a rapid monotone or with a Tennessee twang. Oh, another choice for soldiers is that some sound like Squiggy from Lavern and Shirley. There are about 5 exaggerated voices that are used over and over again. Gets really annoying.
Having been so mean to our Narrator, let me say that his performance choices are very important, and can change the quality of the book. Luke Daniels is good! Just never let him do military voices again unless he broadens his repertoire.
Really good series. I was worried it would be a carbon copy of Starship Troopers, but it was much different. There were shades of Battlestar Galactica and some of the best military sci fi thrown for good measure. Looking forward to the next installment.
Someone who doesn't need much of a story to be entertained.
Very monotone narration. It put me to sleep. All the characters voices seemed to come from 1930's gangster movies.
There wasn't anyone to root for in this story. The human race seems to be as bad a blight as the invading aliens.
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