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Lines of Departure (Frontlines #2)

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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 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 bestselling Terms of Enlistment, a weary soldier must fight to prevent the downfall of his species…or bear witness to humanity’s last, fleeting breaths.


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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 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 bestselling Terms of Enlistment, a weary soldier must fight to prevent the downfall of his species…or bear witness to humanity’s last, fleeting breaths.

30 review for Lines of Departure (Frontlines #2)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'd been meaning to read this one for a while ever since Marko Kloos withdrew it from the Hugo nominations in '15 because of the Sad Puppy controversy. I respected his decision. It also turned me on to two great authors I probably never would have read, otherwise. I never really considered myself a fan of Mil-SF. Not really. But then I keep reading great Mil-SF. Marko Kloos has a style that's extremely readable. It's clear as hell with a charming and droll voice. It certainly helps, considering th I'd been meaning to read this one for a while ever since Marko Kloos withdrew it from the Hugo nominations in '15 because of the Sad Puppy controversy. I respected his decision. It also turned me on to two great authors I probably never would have read, otherwise. I never really considered myself a fan of Mil-SF. Not really. But then I keep reading great Mil-SF. Marko Kloos has a style that's extremely readable. It's clear as hell with a charming and droll voice. It certainly helps, considering the topic. Aliens with overwhelming and irresistible force, loss of almost every human planetary colony, in-fighting among the nations of earth, slow starvation and rebellion on earth, and mass rebellion within the military, itself. Kinda sounds impossible and hopeless, doesn't it? Yeah. And to make things worse, his higher-ranking woman just proposed to him and the military has thrown up a ton of red tape barring their union and is keeping them apart. Lousy sons of bitches. :) This series has got to be some of the most purely enjoyable popcorn-fiction Mil-SF's I've ever read, and this one in particular was like a deluge of all the shit hitting the fan at once rather than the previous novel which was more like one damn thing after another. The novel is simple in concept and simple in ideas. It's survival and endless war from all sides. Humanity can't get its shit together and the gallows humor is in full swing. Now, is this a Hugo-worthy novel? I personally don't think so, but my choice would not be strictly based on how much fun I had while reading it. I'd also add the dimension of what it adds to the genre, too. It doesn't really add anything except as a fantastically good example of a very large sub-genre. I'm not saying it isn't great, because it is great, but its ideas have been done for decades and decades. I'm absolutely going to continue it because I *am* having a damn lot of fun with it, though. :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Before you pick this book up let me tell you this, it ends in one H*** of a cliffhanger. I mean it ties up local events but...other events are far from tied up. And I have no idea how long before we'll see another novel. What Mr. Kloos? Did someone tell you writers get a life or something? Anyway, another good read, maybe even an exceptional read. For those of you who like more "depth" in your action we are becoming a bit more introspective here. I think it had to go that way due to transpiring eve Before you pick this book up let me tell you this, it ends in one H*** of a cliffhanger. I mean it ties up local events but...other events are far from tied up. And I have no idea how long before we'll see another novel. What Mr. Kloos? Did someone tell you writers get a life or something? Anyway, another good read, maybe even an exceptional read. For those of you who like more "depth" in your action we are becoming a bit more introspective here. I think it had to go that way due to transpiring events. I do hope that doesn't take over as I do frankly like the books as "novels"...stories in other words. Still some thought has to be stirred occasionally (no matter how hard we try to avoid it, sigh). The events here pick up roughly 5 years after the last book. Andrew has "reupped" and signed for another 5 years (as has Halley). The alien race encountered in the last novel has driven humans back to only 30 light years from home and they show no sign of slowing down. Humans have never won an engagement against them. However humans are also still beating the h*** out of each other two trying to snatch the existing colonies away from each other (North American Alliance vs. Russian Sino Alliance). AND the high brass running the war(s) are still idiots...and that my friends is too often very close to the real story. I was in in '75. If anyone tells you the reason Vietnam was such a CF was the way it was run...you're getting the straight dope. From the get go with President Kennedy's advisers trying to run the war like book keepers (X number of rounds fired should equal Y number of enemy dead) to the end with generals trying to run things like s political police action (take a hill, give it back, take it again-troops being fired on from Cambodia or Laos but no fire can be returned-on and on). I'd like to go on about some parallels but that would entail spoilers. So, excellent read. If you like action, military fiction, military science fiction or science fiction you will more than likely like this (these) books. Highly recommended. (view spoiler)[If you've seen a movie titled Article 99 there's a quote from the inspector general character to the hospital administrator who always puts money over human lives "Shit does rise to the top". That can be true in the military. For every actual soldier there are also multiple desk jockeys who get promoted "upward". That comes to a head at one point in this novel...almost too late, if it isn't too late. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Markos Kloos levels up as a writer with a fantastic second book. It is five years after the events of Terms of Enlistment. Grayson and Halley have just re-enlisted in the NAC armed forces, but things are grim everywhere. Humans are still fighting among themselves, both in terms of the NAC and SRA, and in terms of civilian riots on Earth. Meanwhile human activity in space is undergoing a full rout with the Lankies taking world after world with the NAC and SRA being annoyances at best. There is very Markos Kloos levels up as a writer with a fantastic second book. It is five years after the events of Terms of Enlistment. Grayson and Halley have just re-enlisted in the NAC armed forces, but things are grim everywhere. Humans are still fighting among themselves, both in terms of the NAC and SRA, and in terms of civilian riots on Earth. Meanwhile human activity in space is undergoing a full rout with the Lankies taking world after world with the NAC and SRA being annoyances at best. There is very little about this book that's not a tremendous improvement from the first one. The first quarter largely redeems the worst aspects of the first book, as does the last third, all while making it feel like a natural progression. That's a good trick. The ending as well is very satisfying while offering a clear continuation point for the rest of the series. One of the best military SF series I've read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Matt

    Lines of Departure picks up approximately five years after the events of the first book in the series, Terms of Enlistment. And those five years were not good to humanity. About half of Earth's precious colonies have been wiped out by the relentless, unfathomable Lankies. Meanwhile, on Earth the domestic situation is growing increasingly dire. With every resource being thrown at the military, already meager rations are cut. The colony lottery is stopped. The pressure valves are gone and unrest b Lines of Departure picks up approximately five years after the events of the first book in the series, Terms of Enlistment. And those five years were not good to humanity. About half of Earth's precious colonies have been wiped out by the relentless, unfathomable Lankies. Meanwhile, on Earth the domestic situation is growing increasingly dire. With every resource being thrown at the military, already meager rations are cut. The colony lottery is stopped. The pressure valves are gone and unrest boils over in the urban megaplexes. Andrew Grayson has a front row seat to all of this, or rather the reader following Grayson does. He is a combat specialist, charged with ground target acquisition. When this involves fighting back against the Lankies, he likes what he does. He stoically accepts the fact that he might die. But if he must die, this is a cause worth dying for. By contrast, when he is fighting the Sino-Russian Alliance, it seems like an enormous waste. An alien race is exterminating humanity and all we can do is fight amongst ourselves? His reservations grow even deeper when he sees the death and pain military action causes in innocent civilians. This all comes to a head when he and a unit of disgruntled soldiers are sent to an icy planet on the edge of the settled worlds. One of the things that I like about this series is the author's vision. In the first book, I was captured by his dystopian vision of the future. That vision is still there; however, what really struck me are the Lankies - the seldom seen, seldom encountered but utterly terrifying alien race. Unlike many science fiction stories out there that assume a roughly equivalent technology, there is no contest here. The Lankies are far superior to humans. They can terraform planets in weeks, not decades. We can't even scratch their star ships. Compounding this power differential is the utterly alien mentality of the Lankies. They are casually snuffing out humanity, like we would eliminate an inconvenient ant hill or hornet's nest. Pretty cool stuff. Three and a half stars rounded up to four. I like the direction that this series is headed and look forward to #3.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    My reaction to Terms of Enlistment - the first book in Marko Kloos' Frontlines series - was mixed, but mostly positive. I said at the end of that review that in spite of Kloos' obvious talent, I was unsure if I wanted to continue reading this particular series. After finishing Lines of Departure, I am glad I ignored my earlier misgivings. The sequel maintains all of the qualities I enjoyed in the first book, and irons out most of the unevenness that gave me reservations about coming back for mor My reaction to Terms of Enlistment - the first book in Marko Kloos' Frontlines series - was mixed, but mostly positive. I said at the end of that review that in spite of Kloos' obvious talent, I was unsure if I wanted to continue reading this particular series. After finishing Lines of Departure, I am glad I ignored my earlier misgivings. The sequel maintains all of the qualities I enjoyed in the first book, and irons out most of the unevenness that gave me reservations about coming back for more. Kloos' darkly cynical vision of the future gives us an overpopulated Earth pushed to the brink of self-annihilation, that can't even put aside our internal power struggles and genocidal tendencies to face an unstoppable alien force that is charging into our corner of the galaxy and methodically exterminating us like pests. Lines of Departure digs much deeper into the central dramatic question that the first book posed - Is there anything worth fighting for when, arguably, the human race deserves the fate this alien threat has planned for us? Kloos is one of those writers that makes everything hard about storytelling look easy - efficient, perfectly balanced character and story development, with a writing style that finds the right tone and momentum for the tale he is telling. Sometimes the book moved a little too quickly when I wanted it to stop and take a breath, and Kloos does a little hand wave to avert a potential plot hole near the end, but otherwise this is as good as milSF gets.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bauer

    This worthy follow up to "Terms of Enlistment" is simply awesome. I'm not sure if it is because the author writes in a style that I find particularly appealing or what, but once I started this book, I could not put it down. The pace is perfect. The characters are vivid and interesting. The most fascinating aspect about the protagonist is that he has no super edge, no ace up the sleeve trick to get out trouble. He is an everyman, thrust into difficult positions, with only his conscience and traini This worthy follow up to "Terms of Enlistment" is simply awesome. I'm not sure if it is because the author writes in a style that I find particularly appealing or what, but once I started this book, I could not put it down. The pace is perfect. The characters are vivid and interesting. The most fascinating aspect about the protagonist is that he has no super edge, no ace up the sleeve trick to get out trouble. He is an everyman, thrust into difficult positions, with only his conscience and training to guide him. The setting is bleak and amazing from a socio-economic sense and terrifies me a bit. This is military science fiction at its finest. The details and background are measured in even doses with no gratuitous infodumps to be found. I particularly appreciated the personal flourishes added to the charcters; not just combat but complex relationships and hard moral choices. The final five chapters had me furiously turning pages and I was delighted to be utterly shocked at the climax. Cannot wait for the next book. Well done science fiction at its best.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lianne Pheno

    http://delivreenlivres.blogspot.fr/20... En voila un tome très sympa. Une ambiance plus sombre que le premier mais toujours dans le même esprit, j'ai vraiment bien aimé cette lecture. Nous suivons la suite des aventures d'Andrew Grayson dans les forces militaires. Cinq années sont passées depuis la fin du premier tome est la situation a pas mal évolué. Mais évolué dans le mauvais sens car les humains sont incapable de tenir tête aux aliens et se contentent de leur mener la vie la plus dure qu'ils http://delivreenlivres.blogspot.fr/20... En voila un tome très sympa. Une ambiance plus sombre que le premier mais toujours dans le même esprit, j'ai vraiment bien aimé cette lecture. Nous suivons la suite des aventures d'Andrew Grayson dans les forces militaires. Cinq années sont passées depuis la fin du premier tome est la situation a pas mal évolué. Mais évolué dans le mauvais sens car les humains sont incapable de tenir tête aux aliens et se contentent de leur mener la vie la plus dure qu'ils peuvent, c'est à dire pas grand chose et à un prix très élevé en matériel et vies humaines. Pendant ce temps sur la Terre la situation est pire qu'avant car le chaos s'installe un peu de partout et personne ne semble en mesure de réussir à ne pas dégrader la situation ... Ce tome ci est vraiment sur le même principe que le précédent, nous suivons des épisodes de la vie d'Andrew. Il est peut être un peu moins éparpillé que le précédent parce qu'Andrew ne change pas de poste durant tout le livre, c'est juste la situation qui change. Cette série arrive vraiment à se démarquer de par son atmosphère à défaut du reste. On a vraiment une sensation de fin du monde durant tout le tome. Tout le monde sait qu'ils n'ont aucune chance face à leur adversaire. Andrew comparé la situation avec la lutte contre les insectes (bug control), ou une éradication et ça sonne vrai. En fait les humains sont vraiment des insectes en comparaison avec leur adversaire et le jour ou ceux ci attaqueront la Terre, rien ne pourra être fait pour les en empêcher car ils sont vraiment supérieurs en tout points. D'ailleurs pour l'instant les humains n'ont jamais réussi à détruire un de leurs vaisseaux dans l'espace ... Sachant qu'ils s'en approchent de jour en jour, vous imaginez la situation et l'état d'esprit des personnages, le désespoir ambiant. En fait ce que j'adore ici c'est surtout la vision cynique d'Andrew sur la situation. Il a un coté je-m'en-foutiste qui va vraiment bien avec ce qu'il se passe, comme si il s'en foutait royalement de ce qu'il se passe et se contentait d'avancer dans sa vie. Et j'adore ça façon d'analyser les décisions de ses supérieurs ou des politiques avec des comparaisons qui touchent toujours juste et qui nous font limite rigoler du pire. Il allège vraiment l'ambiance en fait. Du coup on a une bonne balance entre le coté désespoir/fin du monde et les pensées d'Andrew. Le livre est toujours plein d'actions en tout genre, toujours sur un rythme très rapide. Si vous voulez des combats vous serez servit, ça ne manque pas du tout. On est vraiment dans de la Science-fiction militaire genre artillerie lourde et bombardements incessants. Le livre se termine sur un cliffhanger remarquable qui me donne envie de ne pas trop tarder à lire le suivant ! 16/20

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    Marko Kloos is one of the new crop of self-published authors who acquired enough of an audience to break into the big leagues (or at least the midlister leagues). I enjoyed his 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 t Marko Kloos is one of the new crop of self-published authors who acquired enough of an audience to break into the big leagues (or at least the midlister leagues). I enjoyed his 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. The first half of the book illustrates the growing tension in human space — Grayson participates in a disastrous assault on a SRA world (as soon as they're told they've got great intelligence and a well-planned strategy, you know everything is going to go to hell) and witnesses the indestructibility of the Lankies' colony ships. Then he is sent on on a mission to a remote, icy colony world at the ass-end of human space, supposedly to guard a critical nexus against SRA and Lanky invasion, but it turns out the task force is made up of washed out officers and malcontent homeguard troopers from Earth. Grayson meets up with an old friend from his own stint as a trooper on Earth, and finds out just how bad things are back on Earth, and how screwed they are. This book really ratchets up the drama in the final act, in which Grayson and his fellow soldiers are ordered by a tyrannical fleet admiral to seize all civilian resources on the little colony where they've been stationed. Refusing to follow these orders splits the fleet and results in a battle over control of the ground, just before the colony is threatened with both SRA and Lanky invaders. 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Before you pick this book up let tell you this, it ends in one H*** of a cliffhanger. I mean it ties up local events but...other events are far from tied up. And I have no idea how long before we'll see another novel. What Mr. Kloos? Did someone tell you writers get a life or something? Anyway, another good read, maybe even an exceptional read. For those of you who like more "depth" in your action we are becoming a bit more introspective here. I think it had to go that way due to transpiring events Before you pick this book up let tell you this, it ends in one H*** of a cliffhanger. I mean it ties up local events but...other events are far from tied up. And I have no idea how long before we'll see another novel. What Mr. Kloos? Did someone tell you writers get a life or something? Anyway, another good read, maybe even an exceptional read. For those of you who like more "depth" in your action we are becoming a bit more introspective here. I think it had to go that way due to transpiring events. I do hope that doesn't take over as I do frankly like the books as "novels"...stories in other words. Still some thought has to be stirred occasionally (no matter how hard we try to avoid it, sigh). The events here pick up roughly 5 years after the last book. Andrew has "reupped" and signed for another 5 years (as has Halley). The alien race encountered in the last novel has driven humans back to only 30 light years from home and they show no sign of slowing down. Humans have never won an engagement against them. However humans are also still beating the h*** out of each other two trying to snatch the existing colonies away from each other (North American Alliance vs. Russian Sino Alliance). AND the high brass running the war(s) are still idiots...and that my friends is too often very close to the real story. I was in in '75. If anyone tells you the reason Vietnam was such a CF was the way it was run...you're getting the straight dope. From the get go with President Kennedy's advisers trying to run the war like book keepers (X number of rounds fired should equal Y number of enemy dead) to the end with generals trying to run things like s political police action (take a hill, give it back, take it again-troops being fired on from Cambodia or Laos but no fire can be returned-on and on). I'd like to go on about some parallels but that would entail spoilers. So, excellent read. If you like action, military fiction, military science fiction or science fiction you will more than likely like this (these) books. Highly recommended. (view spoiler)[ If you've seen a movie titled Article 99 there's a quote from the inspector general character to the hospital administrator who always puts money over human lives "Shit does rise to the top". That can be true in the military. For every actual soldier there are also multiple desk jockeys who get promoted "upward". That comes to a head at one point in this novel...almost too late, if it isn't too late. (hide spoiler)]

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bee

    The second book in the series lived up to my expectations. Great sci-fi, great military sci-fi esp. Kloos is a good writer, his characters are likable and his tech and military understanding is obvious. The book ends on much more of a cliffhanger than the previous one, which drives me crazy as i don't yet see the publishing date of the next installment. Arg! If you like Starship Troopers, or John Ringo their ilk, you're going to love this.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Belinda Lewis

    Enjoyed this one a lot less than the first one. Its not the book's fault. I find descriptions of military strategy and tactics dull, and when 80% of the book is about war (which is totally fair and reasonable and to be expected when reading military sci-fi), I'm just not that into it. Cool characters and story line just wish they spent more time hugging it out or something :P

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Although Marko Kloos withdrew Lines of Departure from Hugo consideration this year, I wanted to read it anyway to gauge the impact of the Sad / Rabid Puppies. (Just Google that if you're unaware of what it is.) I even started with Terms of Enlistment because at just $7 on Audible and only about 10 hours long, it wasn't hard to get that in before tackling the second book in the series. Basically, Lines of Departure takes everything that was pretty good in Terms of Enlistment and makes it better. T Although Marko Kloos withdrew Lines of Departure from Hugo consideration this year, I wanted to read it anyway to gauge the impact of the Sad / Rabid Puppies. (Just Google that if you're unaware of what it is.) I even started with Terms of Enlistment because at just $7 on Audible and only about 10 hours long, it wasn't hard to get that in before tackling the second book in the series. Basically, Lines of Departure takes everything that was pretty good in Terms of Enlistment and makes it better. The plot continued to surprise me with twists and turns that were both refreshing departures from the military / space-marines-fight-alien-invaders boilerplate *amd* were thematically unified. That's really important: just reversing every play in the playbook isn't really that interesting. You have to actually take those pieces and assemble a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts, especially if your book is going up for Hugo consideration. Now, I really, really, *really* liked The Three-Body Problem and it is my leading favorite for a Hugo award this year, but (unlike The Dark Between the Stars), I felt like Lines of Departure actually belonged on the list and was worthy of serious consideration. It's not great on literary merits (e.g. prose quality), but it's not bad either. The strength is in thoughtful innovation of plot and theme that make the book more than just action, something that (at his best) John Ringo also pulls off. Another book this is very similar to would be Old Man's War, which was definitely a solid Hugo contender in its day. I like Scalzi's literary style a lot. He's hard to beat. But--although it's probably slightly better-written--I don't think Old Man's War has the interesting things to say that Lines of Departure does, and so I'd say this is one of the best books to come from the particular first-contact / space-maring / bootcamp genre in quie some time, and is definitely worth the read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Casey Hampton

    In Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos picks up where Terms of Enlistment left off. Earth is overpopulated, various terrestrial governments are still warring with one another in space as people colonize the stars, and there's a new nearly indestructible alien species that appears determined to exterminate mankind. The combat scenes are crisp and the action flows at a nice clip. For the majority of the narrative, we tag along with Andrew Grayson as he along with his fellow NAC troopers battle the Lan In Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos picks up where Terms of Enlistment left off. Earth is overpopulated, various terrestrial governments are still warring with one another in space as people colonize the stars, and there's a new nearly indestructible alien species that appears determined to exterminate mankind. The combat scenes are crisp and the action flows at a nice clip. For the majority of the narrative, we tag along with Andrew Grayson as he along with his fellow NAC troopers battle the Lanky, the new aliens on the block. Again we are plunged into a universe where the Chinese, Russians, and North American Commonwealth manage to still fight one another in space as they simultaneously battle the eighty-foot tall Lanky. Kloos writes a nice sequel, but unlike many others, I didn't feel that Lines of Departure was as strong as Terms of Enlistment. Still, this is a good Military SF book and worth your time. I like the military hardware, interactions between troops and civilians, and the realistic paradoxical bureaucracy that apparently still plagues humanity's future. My favorite scene? Andrew Grayson having breakfast with his mother in a small Vermont diner. I like Military SF combat, and Kloos writes good combat scenes. But the breakfast is something special. Character development happens seamlessly, dialogue feels effortless and natural, and there is some genuine emotional growth occurring. I could almost taste the food, smell the coffee, and feel the heft of the menu and napkins. The ending is good, maybe not surprising, but it's true to the story and well written. Nice Job, Mr. Kloos. Thank you for not overreaching. You gave me what the story needed, and you resisted the temptation of adding too many whirly-bangs. Luke Daniels narrates the audiobook, and turns in another outstanding reading. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. If you've read Terms of Enlistment, you'll want to give this a go.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brianne Reeves

    This one gets a more accurate 2.5/2.75, and note, I've got spoilers and will try to code appropriately. I'm mostly still of the same position. Grayson is less of a sociopath, but none of the characters has too much development. I was pleased to see some attention and background being given to Grayson's mother, but by and large there's a lack of character development all around. The worldbuilding is pretty lacking still. I still don't understand why the world is the way it is. There's no explanat This one gets a more accurate 2.5/2.75, and note, I've got spoilers and will try to code appropriately. I'm mostly still of the same position. Grayson is less of a sociopath, but none of the characters has too much development. I was pleased to see some attention and background being given to Grayson's mother, but by and large there's a lack of character development all around. The worldbuilding is pretty lacking still. I still don't understand why the world is the way it is. There's no explanation of why there's a Russia/China alliance against a unionized everyone else (seriously unlikely even during the Cold War). There's no explanation of why the welfare population is so large or why there isn't more obvious tension between the welfare population and the more middle class population. There's just not a lot of explanation of the world in general. Book 2 picks up five years after the end of Terms of Enlistment. Grayson re-enlists and goes out to fight the Lankies. The Lankies are by and large kicking the humans' butts. (view spoiler)[ After Grayson gets sent to the backwoods, everything really falls apart for me. All of a sudden, there's a big internal conflict with the Navy and the command structure. There's a mutiny with no foreshadowed internal conflict over orders. THEN, when the Lankies attack, it's like no physicists ever worked for the Navy before. The solution that they've all been missing is to THROW BIG THINGS REALLY FAST?! (hide spoiler)] It just didn't work for me. Side note: my favorite line of this whole book has no highlights on kindle. It's on pg 274 "I do science all day" Dr. Stewart says "Astrophysics. 'It's a super-long shot' is practically the motto of our profession."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    This is an exceedingly well-written space military book. I have a few quibbles with some aspects of the story but I heartily endorse this to anyone who likes gritty futuristic war books pitting Homo sapiens against an implacable, inscrutable alien species that is capable of kicking humanity's butt. I like the way the author does not belabor the lack of knowledge about these aliens that are so clearly (at this point anyway) beyond our technological status. The likelihood that our planet would sti This is an exceedingly well-written space military book. I have a few quibbles with some aspects of the story but I heartily endorse this to anyone who likes gritty futuristic war books pitting Homo sapiens against an implacable, inscrutable alien species that is capable of kicking humanity's butt. I like the way the author does not belabor the lack of knowledge about these aliens that are so clearly (at this point anyway) beyond our technological status. The likelihood that our planet would still be uselessly and shortsightedly self-destructing by warring with other humans is so realistic that it is depressing. I do question whether a MSGT would be leading the ground forces - I know MSGTs and Chief MSGTs and I do know they would be doing all the work but they rarely would take on that kind of out-on-a-limb leadership role that Fallon had in the story. I especially loved the idea that an astrophysicist saves the day although in reality, the military does have its own scientists and someone else should have come up with a similar scenario at some point. Some of the best lines in the book are delivered by Dr. Stewart about physics, which is always going to get a huge thumbs-up from me. "Nobody's immune to physics." Hell yeah! I have not read the first book in the series and did not feel the lack, although I will now eagerly endeavor to find it (somewhere) and read it as soon as possible, along with the follow-up books. With all that said, it probably would not have gotten my first place vote for the Hugo, but it definitely would have received my second place endorsement. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    M Hamed

    dinosaur aliens ,corrupt government ,civil war,space war with the Russian and the Chinese and you leave all that and talk about some insignificant mutiny by some self-absorbed boys for half the book dinosaur‬‏ aliens ,corrupt government ,civil war,space war with the Russian and the Chinese and you leave all that and talk about some insignificant mutiny by some self-absorbed boys for half the book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    Even better than the first one, and Sergeant Fallon is back, which makes me very happy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric Allen

    An Opinionated Look At: Marko Kloos' Lines of Departure By Eric Allen I'm a really big military Sci-fi fan. I'll read just about any military sci-fi book that I come across, and find something good to say about it. It's very rare that I come across one that I don't find at least something to enjoy in, and Lines of Departure is no exception. I was given this book by a friend, and only after finishing it, did I realize that it is actually the second book of the series. Oops. The Earth is highly overpo An Opinionated Look At: Marko Kloos' Lines of Departure By Eric Allen I'm a really big military Sci-fi fan. I'll read just about any military sci-fi book that I come across, and find something good to say about it. It's very rare that I come across one that I don't find at least something to enjoy in, and Lines of Departure is no exception. I was given this book by a friend, and only after finishing it, did I realize that it is actually the second book of the series. Oops. The Earth is highly overpopulated. The world has split into two alliances, the Americans, and the Chinese/Russians, and hostilities between them are high. There is not enough food to go around. People are crammed by the millions into welfare cities where law and order have broken down. But there's hope for a brighter tomorrow on one of the colony worlds, where people have a chance to start anew, and build a brighter future for not only themselves, but for humanity as well. At least until the aliens showed up and started blasting Earth colonies to ash, and moving ever closer to Earth. The good? This is book two of a series. I picked it up, and read it, and was completely oblivious to that fact until I finished, and started checking around for more books by the same author. The book does such a great job of explaining things that even if you accidentally happen to read it first, you're not going to be lost at all. Events of the previous book are worked into the story in such a way that it is not overly obvious like a wall of recap text, so that if you did not happen to read the first book, you will not be lost, and if you did, you will not find the recaps dull or objectionable. The world in which this book takes place is where it really shines. The despair and hopelessness of the situation on Earth is played out extremely well. The feeling of being penned in as the aliens push Humanity back toward Earth is really well done. It all makes the perfect backdrop for this story to be played out against. The characters and the dialog between them are very entertaining. Oftentimes in this sub-genre, the characters will be bland, boring, cookie-cutter stereotypes that really don't have much to offer in the way of entertainment value. Kloos has done an excellent job of breaking that particular mold in making characters that have a lot of personality, and a lot of really entertaining things to say. Grayson, the main protagonist, goes through some really great character development as the story progresses that makes this book all the more entertaining for it. I really like how when an alien threat emerges and starts wiping out human colonies, the people of earth still keep fighting their wars against each other, fighting over the colonies that they have left, rather than banding together to fight the aliens as happens all too often in sci-fi books. I found that to be a lot more of a realistic view of what would happen in the event of an alien invasion. The bad? The action scenes are pretty generic. They're pretty much copy and paste from any other military sci-fi book ever written. It's kind of a failing of the genre as a whole, not just this book in particular. There's really only so much you can do with space marines vs. aliens, and it's all been done many times before. But where this book really shines is in its characters, and in the world in which it takes place. They more than make up for the rather generic sci-fi action. This book is written in present tense. If there's one thing that will make me put your book down before I even finish the first paragraph it's if it's written in present tense. I don't know why, but I absolutely hate it when a book is written in present tense. HOWEVER, this book did something that many other books written in this aggravating manner do not. It actually grabbed me and drew me into the story before I could put it down in disgust. That is a very, VERY rare thing amongst books written in present tense. I still hated every minute of reading it in present tense, but the story, the characters, the world in which it all takes place, the humor and the way the author writes were enough to interest me and keep me reading, even though it was written in a style that I absolutely despise. In conclusion, though the generic sci-fi action is generic in this book, and it is written in present tense, which I hate, the author managed to pull me into a very interesting and well described world, with highly entertaining characters, great dialog, and a very interesting and rather realistic look at our future. I did not read the first book to this series before picking it up and I was still pulled into the story and the world as if I had. It's a highly entertaining and well written book of military science fiction that I highly recommend to any and all fans of the genre... just start with Terms of Enlistment, the first book in the series first, unlike me. Check out my other reviews.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steffan

    4/5 stars

  20. 5 out of 5

    Briel

    This is not my genre. Military sci-fi that's light on the sci-fi? No thanks. But somehow, this is compelling stuff. I can't even pinpoint why. I liked Andrew much more in this book than the first one, he's still growing up but at least he spent some time appreciating his mother. There are some casual racism moments (eight) on the part of the author. But really, this is very unobjectionable fare. I'm chasing the 4.8 potential of the fifth book due to FOMO.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Per Gunnar

    Andrew Grayson’s adventures continues in Lines of Departure. This book series is yet another of those apocalyptic visions of our future were incompetent politicians have created an unsustainable welfare state which is about to come crashing down on them. Well, at least that is pretty much the backdrop. The book is, luckily, not really about said welfare state but about Andrew Grayson, his (mis)adventures in the North American Defense Corps and, of course, about the fact that Earth is about to be Andrew Grayson’s adventures continues in Lines of Departure. This book series is yet another of those apocalyptic visions of our future were incompetent politicians have created an unsustainable welfare state which is about to come crashing down on them. Well, at least that is pretty much the backdrop. The book is, luckily, not really about said welfare state but about Andrew Grayson, his (mis)adventures in the North American Defense Corps and, of course, about the fact that Earth is about to be steamrolled over by the planet grabbing aliens from the first book. Of course the humans cannot (yet) unite even when faced with such a dire threat and it does not help that a good chunk of the political as well as military leadership are incompetents assholes. The book blurb states that Andrew’s ship is packed with malcontents and troublemakers. I would say that this is not entirely correct. It is packed with people that opens their mouth when previously mentioned assholes gives them irresponsible and even immoral orders. Anyway, as you may guess it all ends up in a big clusterfuck at which time the aliens make their timely appearance. That is of course when it is time to bring out the really big guns. To bad they have to find one first… The book is well written and it feels more focused than the previous book. Andrew is not jumping around all the time for instance. Well, he is being given assignments making him fly all over the place but he is not changing his role dramatically as he did in the last book and which I found a bit far-fetched. The action is not bad at all. A fair amount of the book is non-combat oriented though and Andrew spends quite some time with his mother and doing a lot of talking about the sad state of the more and more dysfunctional society around him. As I wrote, it was quite well written and it did not bother me too much but all the dialogue as well as monologue about this was sometimes on the limit of being a bit too much. The book ends with quite a bit of fireworks as well as some surprises and a rather big cliffhanger. I cannot say that the cliffhanger surprised me enormously though and it will be interesting to see what will happen next. One thing that annoyed me tremendously was the fact that, despite knowing the threat there seemed to have been little work going on to actually counter it. Sure a few improvements to weapons and suits but nothing really worth much. Several years were supposed to have passed after all and the basic science behind the fireworks at the end of this book was not really very innovative in that anyone could have figured that one out and it would be rather easy to make a much more efficient “real” weapon along those lines. Anyway, it was an enjoyable book and I have put Frontlines #3 on my to read list already.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cst

    I went through three distinct phases while reading this book: For about the first half, the book was not as strong as its predecessor, more three than four stars. Then at about half way came a great twist I will try not to spoil. I didn't like it at all and I had to really work on reading further. The finale did much to bring me around and I await the next book, but I still cannot overlook this huge problem in the middle of the book. But frankly there were problems in this book that happened muc I went through three distinct phases while reading this book: For about the first half, the book was not as strong as its predecessor, more three than four stars. Then at about half way came a great twist I will try not to spoil. I didn't like it at all and I had to really work on reading further. The finale did much to bring me around and I await the next book, but I still cannot overlook this huge problem in the middle of the book. But frankly there were problems in this book that happened much earlier, even if they didn't impact that high. The characters get some development (still no first name though) and the narration has much of its earlier quality. But the story looses more and more due to the lack of proper world building, which can be exemplified by something that happens in the first few pages: Five years have gone since the first book and in those five years, apparently there has been a restructuring of the armed forces. This is mentioned nowhere. So once the narrator starts talking about "the Fleet Arm" and "Spaceborn Infantry" I thought for several moments there was something wrong with the book or that maybe the author had switched manuscripts. Yes, I got to the point where I recognized what had happened and yes, there is an explanation (about a third in the book, where it serves no real good), but this pushed me out instead of pulling me into the book. Why are there American troops in Norway and Indian spaceships in the Sino-Russian-Coalition? And while we're at it, why are there Russian and Chinese ships in there as well? These things kept nagging me and there was no explanation. Those problems were nagging, but at no point really that bad. It became problematic, once holes became plot points. The way space travel worked was never really explained but suddenly there was a plan that used this. No background, no explanation, just a plan. A plan, that might be monumentally moronic but we may never know (or at least not until the next book). And that plan is what made me nearly stop reading. Not the plan itself, but the events started by it and especially the reaction of the narrator. It felt out of character and had the potential of turning the story in a completely different direction, maybe even another genre. Even worse, it felt like a dead end, with no realistic way out. The book is salvaged by the finale, that - admittedly - is set up well by the catastrophic twist and the monumental cliffhanger that makes me actually want to read the next book. But there is still the lingering danger, that the series takes a turn I won't like, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt considering the good first book and the good parts of the second.

  23. 5 out of 5

    AudioBookReviewer

    ABR's full Lines of Departure audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer. I really enjoyed the first book in the Frontlines series, so giving book two a shot only seemed natural. I really hope that Kloos can create the same magic, the same intensity, the same well developed story. Many times a second book in a series will lack in the same energy and intensity as the first. I really hope that Kloos can keep this from happening. I have suddenly found myself listening to more ABR's full Lines of Departure audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer. I really enjoyed the first book in the Frontlines series, so giving book two a shot only seemed natural. I really hope that Kloos can create the same magic, the same intensity, the same well developed story. Many times a second book in a series will lack in the same energy and intensity as the first. I really hope that Kloos can keep this from happening. I have suddenly found myself listening to more military science fiction than ever before, and I have to admit that I love it. Every author letting their imagination go wild and create awesomeness from nothing. Lines of Departure is, so far in my opinion, even better than the first book. Filled with meticulously crafted military battle scenes. Enough action was packed in to get me jacked like I drank too much coffee. I listened to this in one sitting and I think many other will do the same. Kloos was able to dynamically evolve all of the characters that I loved from the first book. While introducing many others. A majority of the story took place on a distant ice planet where the situation becomes FUBAR. I can’t say much because I do not want to give anything away. If you enjoyed Terms of Enlistment you will love book two. If you were on the fence about book one you will love book two. I cannot wait until book tree comes out as I will be waiting in line for it. In over 1000 audio books that I have listened to in my life. I have never heard a performance like the one Luke Daniels gives in Lines of Departure. He injects every sentence with so much energy and emotion. Daniels is truly at the top of his game. While there was a plethora of characters for Daniels to keep straight, he gave each their own voice with ease. At part he made me jump out of my seat by actually yelling when a character was. Another reason for the success of this audio performance was Daniels ability to change the pacing on a dime. Slowing down for the sentimental parts. Then exploding into a frantic blitz action and battles, without missing a beat. Audiobook purchased for review by the ABR.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Steven Stennett

    Milatory science fiction is by far one of my most guilty pleasures. Man down! On my six! Tango down! All those male over used cliches, that we so all love to let trip off our tongues, making you feel like the proverbial on line gamer, and returning you to that sweet spot in your life around 9 years old when shooting somebody with your finger did not make you look like a potential mass murderer. Mr Kloos is pulling this off with sincere aplomb. There are a set of books all running along similar l Milatory science fiction is by far one of my most guilty pleasures. Man down! On my six! Tango down! All those male over used cliches, that we so all love to let trip off our tongues, making you feel like the proverbial on line gamer, and returning you to that sweet spot in your life around 9 years old when shooting somebody with your finger did not make you look like a potential mass murderer. Mr Kloos is pulling this off with sincere aplomb. There are a set of books all running along similar lines, based in the same time. They are easily consumed by myself and anyone willing to embrace their inner child, and relive those glorious moments of heroic abandonment, associated with being the hero of the moment, against overwhelming odds, in the carefreeness of a simple but well executed story. I salute you Mr Kloos!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aildiin

    As I had read on the net, this second book is much better than the first one. The plot is better developed and makes sense and familiar faces from the first book make a come-back. Character development is still a little low but the pace of the story keeps you reading for more. This is definitly above the average self published book and worth of comparison with a lot of books published by big editors and it could easily compete well with a lot of Baen Books. Still not worthy of a Hugo nomination in As I had read on the net, this second book is much better than the first one. The plot is better developed and makes sense and familiar faces from the first book make a come-back. Character development is still a little low but the pace of the story keeps you reading for more. This is definitly above the average self published book and worth of comparison with a lot of books published by big editors and it could easily compete well with a lot of Baen Books. Still not worthy of a Hugo nomination in my view though but I will be back for the next installement.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shane Short

    I don't know why everyone gave this book higher marks. I also don't know what Kloos was thinking. He finished the first book with an awesome Kaiju / military Sci-fi twist and screwed it up with the start of this book. His writing style changed, he threw things into the story from the start that left you wondering if you missed three or four chapters somewhere, and he didn't finish or add to the Kaiju plot he added in the first book. The only reason I gave this book three stars is that I hope Klo I don't know why everyone gave this book higher marks. I also don't know what Kloos was thinking. He finished the first book with an awesome Kaiju / military Sci-fi twist and screwed it up with the start of this book. His writing style changed, he threw things into the story from the start that left you wondering if you missed three or four chapters somewhere, and he didn't finish or add to the Kaiju plot he added in the first book. The only reason I gave this book three stars is that I hope Kloos pulls his head out and gets back after it in a third book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Nikki

    Grayson seems to be a bystander of the war at times. I definitely noticed the lack of character development although there are a few that I like hearing about. A lot of the time I can't imagine the landscape when fighting on the ground or in the stars. Inadequate World-building or just my lack of attention? You can be the judge. I'm starting to wonder if anyone wants to wins this war. The humans are getting their assessment kicked. Again, the narrator does an excellent job of keeping the story inte Grayson seems to be a bystander of the war at times. I definitely noticed the lack of character development although there are a few that I like hearing about. A lot of the time I can't imagine the landscape when fighting on the ground or in the stars. Inadequate World-building or just my lack of attention? You can be the judge. I'm starting to wonder if anyone wants to wins this war. The humans are getting their assessment kicked. Again, the narrator does an excellent job of keeping the story interesting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Conal

    The continuing adventures of Andrew Grayson and this one builds throughout the story to a furious conclusion. Marko Kloos really knows how to write stories that appeal to love of Military sci-fi and space opera. Really looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy. 5 stars for a great read and recommended for any fans of military sci-fi (though you should read the first one of this series before this one).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Perez

    I think this is the first time where I thought a squeal was better than the first book in the series, or very close to being as good. They are both solid five stars from me. I normally don't like series or military science fiction but this was just such an amazing fast paced story with relatable characters. I am a veteran but I think anyone could enjoy this book especially if you liked Terms of Enlistment.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lanak

    I picked up this series as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription, wanting something in the sci-fi genre. This second book in the series is an improvement over the first, but I still think it is average. At least this time around, we are fighting the Lankie aliens. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that bugs me most - there is a lot of action/battle scenes, but they lack something; the romantic subplot moves forward, but it is still superficial in feelings (maybe both characters really I picked up this series as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription, wanting something in the sci-fi genre. This second book in the series is an improvement over the first, but I still think it is average. At least this time around, we are fighting the Lankie aliens. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that bugs me most - there is a lot of action/battle scenes, but they lack something; the romantic subplot moves forward, but it is still superficial in feelings (maybe both characters really are that aloof, but it doesn't do anything to create drama); and then we have the politics of society reemerging - yes the military shouldn't be shooting the people they are bound to protect, but again something is missing to make me care.

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