The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price…and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums.
The debut novel from Marko Kloos, Terms of Enlistment is a new addition to the great military sci-fi tradition of Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, and John Scalzi.
©2014 Mark Kloos (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
I enjoyed this book. It was a solid showing for a first book and a good lead into a series. The author has an interesting view point of humanity and the future. Kloos does a good job of balancing the tech. So many authors go over the top on tech to the point of drowning out the story. There is enough tech here to keep you interested. The characters were not over the top. I like books that make almost ordinary people into the center of the story. They were believable and I was able to relate to them easily. I enjoyed the boot camp part and it brought back a lot of memories for me. The narrator was easy to listen to and different characters were distinguishable. I would be interested in other books this narrator performed in.
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.
Good Story combined with excellent narration.
Marko Kloos is as good or better than John Ringo or David Weber. I hope this is a start of a series.
I was a Marine and a D.I. and the boot camp scenes were pretty good. There was a lot of difference between our ultra controlled boot camp and the one in Mr Kloos's book, but I can see how his would have been effective, plus his had the advantage of "washout" which meant going back to a life of extreme poverty and desperation. Those with nothing left to lose make the best recruits.
I was disappointed that the book ended. Been a while since that happened.
Being a frequent visitor to the author's blog, having read a few of the chapters he released as short stories, and being a HUGE fan of dystopian future novels I really expected to love this book. Unfortunately I did not. Some of the story is very good, but some is flat and one dimensional. Some of the ideas are new and interesting, but some are retreads from Alien and Blackhawk Down. Some of the "future tech" is cool... but there is also quite a bit of anachronism and it feels inconsistent.
Worst of all, there is no resolution to any of the plot threads. The last chapter is literally "We did this, but it doesn't really matter because there is more... buy the sequel." I get it that a lot of books now are setups for a trilogy or whatever, but this was just ugly and blatant. At least some of the plotlines should be resolved... or hinted to... or something. So disappointed.
Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.
The plot twist in the middle is quite odd. It's almost like 2 different books.
If they were hard-core sci-fi people.
He's a good narrator.
Absolutely. This is like the Fellowship of the Ring, it doesn't stand alone very well.
It's a solid B+ sci-fi book. The combat is really cool. It's a little weird that the most vicious scene is the protagonist fighting people just like him and this is never really processed.
It looks like the book is set up for a series, but I wouldn't read the next one. I think there are more interesting books out there.
I really love science fiction and fantasy genres, but this was my first time listening to military science fiction book. It was missing a lot of what I love - feeling immersed in the world of the characters. The action scenes really came alive, but the plot was too cliched and the main character was too simplistic as well. After killing what seems like a thousand of people in one day, he doesn't try to find out what is happening on Earth? I wouldn't read another book from this genre - too much action not enough thought.
Battle of Detroit
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
Terms of Enlistment is a highly entertaining, adrenaline pumping, action packed assault on your imagination. Set in the not to distant future, with smart choices made by Kloos. Mainly the lack of excessive technology, it is there but in not over the top ways. Sometimes military science fiction gets to be little more than a description of the vast technology and its uses. But also in the state of our Earth, much is as we know it yet much has changed or I should say is different as I think the universe Kloos created is unique to ours. As there are vast amounts of people that are on welfare, very little is mentioned of those that are not and left me wondering what the rest of the society was like. The NAC (North American Commonwealth) seems to be a military controlled country that is very busy in keeping the riots, rebels and enemy countries under control, while busily exploring the universe and terraforming new planets to inhabit. Our star of the story is Grayson, a nobody everyday kid, stuck in the welfare tenements that the government has setup for the vast amount of poor. He is a young man that wants to do more with his life than waiting to win the lottery, and joins the military. We get to follow him through basic training and watch him transform from a teenaged punk to a confident man living a purposeful life, with a love story mixed in, as basic training is coed. Much of the first half of the story is filled with Grayson thinking about or messaging the love he made in basic, and the only thing he wants more than anything is to follow her into the space Navy, even though he is stuck on Earth. Several battle scenes had me on the edge of my seat as Kloos delivers highly stressful actions sequences both on Earth and in space. I found Grayson to be very relatable and I love when everyday people are the stars living an extraordinary life, along with a full cast of other interesting characters, high impact action, stress inducing moments, love and loss and love again, alien worlds, a must listen for fans of military science fiction. Needless to say I have already purchased the next book in the series and expect to be blown away.
I purchased this audiobook for review.
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I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I purchased this book because it was on sale AND narrated by Luke Daniels. As others have mentioned, Daniels can read the phone book and entertain me. He's the kind of narrator who canl lead me to a book I might not have been interested in previously. Reading the reviews, I was going to not purchase this Scalzi like story except that Daniels narrates it and , damn, he's one good narrator. Did I mention that?
"Enlistment" is, sadly, a John Scalzi rip off-and Scalzi frequently admits to following in other SF writers footprints. Enlistment was so similar to Old Mans War Old series, but isn't nearly as well written't ......OMW was a great series and Enlistment is so-so.
Andrew, the depressed welfare kid who hasn't ever had anything of quality in his life, is a young version of Scalzi's "John Perry" an aging man who traded his failing health and senior citizen boredom for a new mutant body and opportunity to help save human life in the galaxy.
As there are only 2 goods so far in Kloos series we shall see if it continues to follow OMW. If so, I'd recumbent just buying Scalzis novels..they are excellently written, much better than those 2 that Kloos has written.
Except for Luke Daniels..I'll gave this 4 starts simply because Luke Daniels has the ability to make any book into an excellent one.
Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
(I'm writing this after reading the third book in the series.)
There are a lot of similar military sci-fi series out there now. Some very good (Old Man's War) and some not so much so. There is nothing in the plot or science of these three books that is unusual -- bad aliens, save the Earth, cool ships and so forth. But I like this series and the main character. He is a bit of a wiseguy (not in the mob sense) and is prone to observations on the military and life that is interesting.
There is also a transition as he ages over five years from book 1 to book 3. Wearier, but still an honorable guy -- and trying his best in spite of a deteriorating situation. The narration is also good.
If you are looking for some space-based navy action with a dose of wry observational aside, this is a fun listen.
Marko Kloos is another one of those self-published SF authors who found an unexpected following, hence my discovering this book as an Audible deal of the day. It was, while not epic or on the level of one of the better works of Heinlein or Pournelle or another big-name military SF author, a nice treat.
Terms of Enlistment shows its very obvious Heinlein influences right away - Andrew Grayson is not exactly Johnny Rico, being a slum-dweller who joins the military for three squares and a shot at an enlistment payout if he survives his five-year hitch. But the training and the ground-pounder action is quite reminiscent of Starship Troopers. That said, it's Starship Troopers without much military or political philosophy, and in fact the "North American Commonwealth" that the troopers serve is a rather skeletal setting. The military is divided into Army, Marines, and Navy, and while Grayson wants to go to space, it's the Territorial Army he winds up in, rescuing embassy employees from civil unrest and quashing riots in tenements like those Grayson grew up in.
This futuristic military is completely coed, so Grayson falls in love with a Navy-bound enlistee who becomes a pilot, and through a rather contrived set of circumstance, he is able to get a service transfer and then get assigned to her vessel.
Until this point, the book had been a rather flat sequence of events, full of action but very little plot beyond the main character's ambitions. Then we get to leave Earth, and if the ending is even more contrived and improbable, it does throw a major twist into the story and set it up for a sequel.
Overall, an unexpected gem which I recommend to all space opera fans, especially if you like military SF. Kloos actually seems to know something about the military and writes convincingly about training, different branches, ranks, and equipment, something a lot of SF authors don't do so well at convincingly portraying.
"Military SciFi in Classic Style"
Terms of Enlistment is a newly written but old-school military science fiction novel. It follows the protagonist, Andrew Grayson, from high-rise slums through book camp, a combat infantry posting, and then out into space. The tone and style are similar to Robert Henlein's Starship Troopers or Jerry Pournelle's Co-Dominium. The action is up-close and personal, set in a universe where government isn't perfect, conflict isn't clean, and the military gets to play hero on a small scale whilst the overall morality of the conflicts they take part in is constantly questionable.
At least in this first book of the series, the action is well above average for the genre. In any fire-fight it is easy to visualise where everyone is and what is happening. The technology is plausible, and is never used as a get-out-of-jail-free card by the author.
The main character is likeable without being super-human. He is no author-avatar with perfect military skills and likeable flaws. He is just a young, impulsive enlisted soldier.
The secondary characterisation is below par for a novel. Whilst Kloos does a fantastic job of "show, don't tell" with army life and the background political unrest and intrigue, friendships and even romances just appear out of nowhere. After a major plot-turning firefight, most of the casualties are really just names to the reader despite their importance to the main character.
The plot arc isn't well structured either - although I think this is really an artefact of the way the series was written. I get the impression this is an episodic series broken arbitrarily into novel length portions, in which case the first half of the novel is really establishment of the series plot rather than the novel. If considered as a single novel the initiating event comes around 3/4 of the way through the book. Up till then it's a good read, but it comes as a surprise to find that it's all really just scene setting.
These issues aren't enough to spoil the book. Go into it imagining that you're listening to the first 10 episodes of a 5 season audio show, and they become style rather than problems. I'm certainly going to give the second book a try based on the first.
The audio performance by Luke Daniels is okay, but I imagine it might irritate some people. He has an overly-dramatic tone which rolls consonants and stretches vowels. This suits the book, but is a bit wearing on the ears. He does voices prettty well, at least for the main characters. It's hard to imagine him as actual voice of the first-person narrator though, which takes it a star down from the really top notch audio book performances.
"Very fun, by-the-book military SF"
Fun, well-written, believable
It felt like the beginning of the real story but not in a bad way. I still wanted to know more so I got the next two books.
He's a very good narrator who really performs the book rather than just read it. His reading feels very natural and he really brings out the humanity in the characters.
There's a scene in hospital with a certain Master Sergeant that gave me many feels.
This book is not the most original military SF out there except for the fact that the main character is a regular guy getting through basic training, doing his job, trying to stay alive. He's not a naturally gifted super-soldier type, which is very refreshing. The writing is also particularly good and makes up for the predictability of some of the plot.
The sequels advance the plot a lot more and are also very enjoyable if you're reading this and wondering whether it's a good idea to start reading a series :)
Yes. I really got to like the laconic humour of Grayson and enjoyed his journey from helpless civilian to something rather more.
The engagement during the welfare riot was grim and gritty. The appalling social housing project and its denizens were chillingly described. A great advert for population control if there ever was one.
I really liked Grayson.his sensible and pragmatic approach to life was well reasoned and I sympathised with it.
Not as emotionally engaging as my other favourite books but very enjoyable nonetheless.
Good military science fiction with well fleshed main character who you can identify and sympathise with.
The first book in what feels like a plausible future. It's very techy and probably has a bit of a Tom Claudy vibe to it that some may not enjoy. The science is as hard as it comes with a very few exceptions and a final twist I really didn't see coming.
"good stuff. I"
very good story
well read, looking forward to the next book
charters are like thatable
"from fatface to badass"
how a young boy was transformed into a confident soldier and how he followed his heart's dreams despite all difficulties. Sounds familiar? Always works for me! Nicely written by Marko Kloos. The story flows easily. Characters are well defined and Mr Luke Daniels is easy on the ears which helps :)
Andrew's last combat experience in TA. It felt like Black Hawk down all over again. Only difference being that some of his squad actually survived...just
I liked all characters. None stood out. Very balanced performance by Luke Daniels. 5stars
Against all odds
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