• Lines of Departure

  • Frontlines, Book 2
  • By: Marko Kloos
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (7,624 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What listeners say about Lines of Departure

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

SCIENCE, IT WORKS

EARTH IS A SHIT HOLE, BUT IT'S OUR SHITHOLE.
Is shit hole, one word or two? First of all, I hate to burst some bubbles, but this is not as good as book one. I was amazed that I listened to this right after listening to Forever War by Joe Haldeman. The future world that Kloos describes, sounds actually like Haldeman's future. Everyone lives on the dole, everyone gets paid in calories, everyone hires body guards and the army is full of idiots. Haldeman had more guns, but it looks like Kloos is headed that way. So, it is a liberal future, where everyone depends upon the government (and it is not good.) It is a conservative future where everyone owns a gun and it is not good.

The story starts out pretty good with these 80ft tall Aliens, who think we are just bugs. An interesting concern, especially when you considered how we treat anything smaller then us. They are in the very beginning and one of there ships is in the very ending, but between times our hero fights, the Russians, the Chinese and then his own country. I also find it unbelievable that a group of home troops who spend there careers killing North Americans, would all of a sudden grow a conscience when they go to another planet. I felt that there were too many conflicts, which made this too unbelievable. It is not a bad book and if you like Military Sci-Fi and you don't need it to make a lot of sense, then you will enjoy this.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good story with some bad physics

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.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable Everyman Scifi

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.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Luke Daniels Is At Top of His Game

What did you like about this audiobook?

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?

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

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.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

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.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

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?

Do you have any additional comments?


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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the first book

I enjoyed the first book, Terms of Enlistment, and found the second book in the series to be better; Kloos is definitely developing as a writer. Where Terms of Enlistment was a fairly by-the-numbers knock-off of Starship Troopers, Lines of Departure takes place several years later and further develops the universe and its politics.

In the first book, humans encountered their first alien race — eighty-foot giants who build almost indestructible climate-altering machines that render a planet's atmosphere unbreathable to humans. As the second book begins, humanity is losing their ongoing war with the "Lankies." They've lost eighty colonies and have yet to actually take a planet back from the invaders.

Despite what is clearly an existential threat, the two terrestrial superpowers, the North American Commonwealth and the Sino-Russian Alliance, are also at war over their shrinking stock of colonies

With all this warfare going on, Earth is becoming an overpopulated, underfed planet of slums and riots.

Andrew Grayson, our protagonist, has become a career soldier, realizing he doesn't have anything else to do and that while war in space is likely to shorten his lifespan, it beats going back to Earth to stew in a slum and eat recycled waste. He also has a girlfriend who's a fighter pilot, and is a combat network controller, making him a respected professional in the NAC's beleaguered military.

Lines of Departure is a fine example of military SF, and while perhaps not quite as philosophical as Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Grayson does become an interesting and thoughtful character as he has to weigh his duties as a soldier with the morality of unlawful orders and the practicality and consequences of disobeying them. As well, the stupidity of fleet staff and the intransigence of political leaders is quite believable — yes, I think we Earthlings really would keep squabbling among ourselves even in the face of alien invasion.

Be warned, though, that this book ends in a cliffhanger, so if you've been hooked this far, you will not see the story resolved until the next volume.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

As Good As Book 1

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Action packed story

This book picks up the story five years later from the first book “Terms of Enlistment”. Grayson and his girlfriend both have signed their re-enlistment papers. The Lunkies have pushed deeper into human held territory. The North American Commonwealth is still fighting the SAC (Chinese) and the SRC (Russians) while the Lunkies are getting closer. Grayson has become a combat controller and has done hundreds of combat jumps. Grayson and a few others are the only survivors of a battle against the Lunkies. The whole fleet was destroyed. He is then put onto a ship just pulled out of mothballs and the crews are so called trouble makers.

Kloos’s sequel is better than the first book. In the new book he angles the story more as a pointed, critical look at how the government handles the people underneath it. Shows that a government backed into a corner will double down and become ineffective.

The book is fast paced, action packed, exciting with plenty of back story, characters and institutions to delve into. This is the second book for a new author and he has improved from the first book. Kloos did a better job with characterization in this book than he did in the first. I discovered the first book was self published via Amazon. It did so well it was bought up by a publishing house 47 North Imprint. (Also owned by Amazon) Luke Daniels did a good job narrating the book. Daniels also narrated the first book.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Wish I could get my credit back

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I you enjoy military science fiction, you might like this. I enjoy military science fiction and I did not.

Would you ever listen to anything by Marko Kloos again?

I read the first book in this series and enjoyed it. Not a five star by a good solid 3.5. Decent book, well written and good characters.

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I enjoyed Luke Daniels performance. He did a good job with what he had.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Lines of Departure?

Rewrite.

Any additional comments?

Having served in the military this is an anti-military, anti-police, pro-criminal book. When the main character feels closer to the people who mugged him than to the people who saved him, that is where I saw this going down. The plot hole I saw was, why would the high command send two unreliable units to a planet to control civilians? They had already proven to be unreliable, even with Marines guarding them, did they think this would not go down the tubes? I was very disappointed in this book, came off as a libertarian, anti-government story. Turned me off. I enjoyed the first book but not wasting my money on any more. Good Luck.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

MUCH BETTER than the first book

I'm on a Luke Daniels narrating kick..I listened to and panned the first book in this series but really enjoyed the second one.

The author tightened up his plot and really developed likable characters with good development.

You have to read the first one to make sense on this one-too bad, but, just maybe, worth the 2 credits. Luke Daniels can do no wrong!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • JL
  • 06-17-14

A series without a hero

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. C. Murray
  • 03-25-21

Great story, loved this installment

I really enjoyed the first book so decided I'd continue, glad I did. Kloos picks up the story in excellent fashion and delivers a compelling and engaging story from start to finish. Daniels does an excellent job of the narration, keeping track of numerous characters with believable and consistent narration, so much so that I'll be finishing the series in audio form over written probably. what I like about this series is how detailed Kloos gets without bogging things down, really makes me think about how these types of scenarios or technological challenges would play out. looking forward to number 3!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ho-Man Yau
  • 01-13-20

humans are idiots

even with aliens coming to wipe them out the humans prefer to fight and kill each other instead of protecting their own people until the aliens come.
an excellent story anyway.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin Heady
  • 07-03-19

Excellent story and good narration.

Loved the books and this does not disappoint. If I had one complaint the narrator seems to think everyone in the military speaks with barely disgused aggression and a throat problem. Other than that, looking forward to the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Graham
  • 05-16-18

Tremendous storyline just good, really good

I enjoyed this more than the first book as I warmed to the characters, i found myself leaning forward during the action sequences. if the remaining 2 novels keep up this pace, then I'll be a very happy bunny.

it has echoes of the halo series where the action sequences were exciting as well. Again good, really good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bev carmody
  • 04-26-18

Addictive

Listened to book one, and went straight on to book 2. 3 is downloading as I type.
Highly addictive listening. Love the plot and main character, recommend a listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jack
  • 01-28-18

Not your usual military Sci-fi

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I'm a fan of military sci-fi as it is and this delivered on those terms. Lots of action, acronyms and concepts but what really suprised me was the humanity of it. No spoilers but the portrayal of the society is a bit more critical than most mil sci-fi. The second half particularly put me in mind of Babylon 5 at it's peak. Outstanding.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • julian
  • 12-05-17

Great.

Again a i loved it i have just brought book 3, so am ready for the next aventure .

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Poppey
  • 07-19-17

Warming up nicely

After Book 1 I was a little apprehensive that Book 2 would also go along the same lines. Wrong! There is far more action in this chapter of the series, which made the storyline more interesting.

Whether it will continue to hold interest remains to be seen.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr J P Fitzmaurice
  • 09-18-16

Very entertaining

This may not be a literary classic but if is fast paced and entertaining. Better than many books of its ilk

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard Hopkins
  • 04-14-16

Very enjoyable

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes; the characters were believable

What did you like best about this story?

fast moving story

Have you listened to any of Luke Daniels’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes he is a good narrator

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had empathy with the characters

Any additional comments?

Just a good story

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  • Hawk
  • 03-02-19

Needs Editing

Good steady stories.

Its well established that Sgt Fallon is female yet several times is refered to as 'he'. The narration is ok in general, but the character voices really need some work. the characters either sound hoarse and nasaly or like salivating hillbillies. Overall the narrator spends too much time voicing these books as if they are comedies.

"he rolls her eyes' the narrator is being paid too much.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Will H
  • 05-21-19

The reader mixed up genders

Geat story, better than the first book in the series. I'm not sure if it's the Author or the person reading but Sergeant Fallon is a woman and is referred to as both he and she throughout the entire book. Apart from that this book is a great second in the series and gets away from the very starship troopers of 1997 vibe like the first. Highly recommended l.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-11-21

Enjoyable military sci-fi

The second of the series, I was keen to listen after enjoying the first. It’s ok, the story continues after first contact. The protagonist is older, wiser, higher rank. There’s no great character development and the story is quite basic, but I liked it well enough. I won’t be racing to get the third in the series, but will probably get to it eventually.

The narrator was pretty good… except for the continuing mistake of interchanging he/she for one of the main female characters, sometimes in the same sentence. “He rapped my elbow with her hand”. Why? How does this get through the editing. It became increasingly annoying as the book went on. I’m pretty sure he mixed up a couple of names as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jesse James
  • 07-08-21

Exhilarating!!

Man the intensity at the end of this book had me on the edge of my damned seat! I can't wait for book 3!!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pete
  • 07-30-19

Two down

Reasonable story. Shows some imagination into the future then falls back into out of place ideas and technology. Going for book 3. Good zone out fiction for the car.