Kloos once again deftly manages action scenes . . . this time in a combat environment that includes more enemies than you can shake a stick at. Even listening to the audio book, I never felt left behind as battles, weaponry, intrigue, and shifting alliances swirled around me. Kloos maintains his in-depth description of tactics, weaponry, and military hierarchy, with a never-boring clarity that I appreciate as an easily confused reader.
Grayson does experience a quick break in the action, going on a short leave to reconnect with his mother and girlfriend. This provides a wonderful depth to Grayson’s evolving character. He is discovering that the interests of love and home are more important to him than he had realized and that there are issues affecting himself, the ones he loves, and society at large that he can no longer ignore.
Where Terms was satisfied with putting thematic issues on the table, and, for the most part, leaving them there, Lines is ready to stick them in our face and force us to make a decision about them. Grayson has matured into an understanding that he should not be a powerless puppet in the hands of faceless political power. The political issues are bleak and force our protagonists into seemingly unsolvable situations; however, [MINOR SPOILER] we can see a glimmer of light that Grayson and company might actually be able to affect some change in the universe.
Lines of Departure is a deeper, more introspective story, without sacrificing any of the thrills we expect of the genre. I’m more than ready for the release of the final Frontlines submission, Angles of Attack. Mr. Kloos announced on September 8th on his website that he has finished the Angles manuscript with a release date pending his editor.
Get a move on, editor.
Not So Patiently Waiting
I noted in my review for Terms of Enlistment that Luke Daniel’s voice sounded too old for the character he was reading. Thankfully, in Lines of Departure, Andrew Grayson’s character has grown into the maturity of the narration. I was still a bit plagued by repetitive caricatures. How many southern rednecks can one encounter across the breadth of the North American Commonwealth military? Apparently, quite a few.
Overall, Mr. Daniel’s once again does a very nice job. Of particular note this time around was his comedic timing. There are a number of brilliantly funny moments, usually right at the height of a particularly tense battle sequence, and Mr. Daniels carries them off so well I had to pause playback a few times to let myself finish giggling.
I certainly hope we’ll be hearing from him in the third installment.