The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you're restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service. With the colony lottery a pipe dream, Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price...and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or the gangs that rule the slums.
The debut novel from Marko Kloos, Terms of Enlistment is a new addition to the great military sci-fi tradition of Robert Heinlein, Joe Haldeman, and John Scalzi.
©2014 Mark Kloos (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
Terms of Enlistment is a newly written but old-school military science fiction novel. It follows the protagonist, Andrew Grayson, from high-rise slums through book camp, a combat infantry posting, and then out into space. The tone and style are similar to Robert Henlein's Starship Troopers or Jerry Pournelle's Co-Dominium. The action is up-close and personal, set in a universe where government isn't perfect, conflict isn't clean, and the military gets to play hero on a small scale whilst the overall morality of the conflicts they take part in is constantly questionable.
At least in this first book of the series, the action is well above average for the genre. In any fire-fight it is easy to visualise where everyone is and what is happening. The technology is plausible, and is never used as a get-out-of-jail-free card by the author.
The main character is likeable without being super-human. He is no author-avatar with perfect military skills and likeable flaws. He is just a young, impulsive enlisted soldier.
The secondary characterisation is below par for a novel. Whilst Kloos does a fantastic job of "show, don't tell" with army life and the background political unrest and intrigue, friendships and even romances just appear out of nowhere. After a major plot-turning firefight, most of the casualties are really just names to the reader despite their importance to the main character.
The plot arc isn't well structured either - although I think this is really an artefact of the way the series was written. I get the impression this is an episodic series broken arbitrarily into novel length portions, in which case the first half of the novel is really establishment of the series plot rather than the novel. If considered as a single novel the initiating event comes around 3/4 of the way through the book. Up till then it's a good read, but it comes as a surprise to find that it's all really just scene setting.
These issues aren't enough to spoil the book. Go into it imagining that you're listening to the first 10 episodes of a 5 season audio show, and they become style rather than problems. I'm certainly going to give the second book a try based on the first.
The audio performance by Luke Daniels is okay, but I imagine it might irritate some people. He has an overly-dramatic tone which rolls consonants and stretches vowels. This suits the book, but is a bit wearing on the ears. He does voices prettty well, at least for the main characters. It's hard to imagine him as actual voice of the first-person narrator though, which takes it a star down from the really top notch audio book performances.
This is a set up book. It start how you would expect. But the universe the book paint is pretty cool. I like it. A lot of sci-fi you have to have a good amount of suspension of disbelief for how the earth gets to it current situation. This one you could see it happening on a way. Other than the aliens the size of a three stories building or where they bigger? If you read all four of the current books you will find that you forget about this book in a good way. So much happens in the next three. This is a good book but a better series.
how a young boy was transformed into a confident soldier and how he followed his heart's dreams despite all difficulties. Sounds familiar? Always works for me! Nicely written by Marko Kloos. The story flows easily. Characters are well defined and Mr Luke Daniels is easy on the ears which helps :)
Andrew's last combat experience in TA. It felt like Black Hawk down all over again. Only difference being that some of his squad actually survived...just
I liked all characters. None stood out. Very balanced performance by Luke Daniels. 5stars
Against all odds
it's basically the same story as starship troopers. not sure how this was allowed to be published... otherwise it's not bad. pretty sure i fell asleep and woke up missing a couple of chapters and it didn't matter. was able to connect the dots without too much info loss toward the tail end.
More depth from the character, and a little more thought put into pacing.
Yes, definitely, with someone like Matt Damon at the helm, not to typecast the poor guy.
I'm not the biggest military sci-fi fan as it is, but this was a smart and enjoyable instalment of a series. While I won't go on to the read the next few, I'm glad I gave it a go. The things that put me off were unreliable pacing, where action seemed rush and crammed together, and it takes a long time for any plot to actually manifest.
The characters were a little dull, but I did like a few enough to feel emotionally connected, so that's something!
"Solid military sci-fi."
I enjoyed this book. It was a solid showing for a first book and a good lead into a series. The author has an interesting view point of humanity and the future. Kloos does a good job of balancing the tech. So many authors go over the top on tech to the point of drowning out the story. There is enough tech here to keep you interested. The characters were not over the top. I like books that make almost ordinary people into the center of the story. They were believable and I was able to relate to them easily. I enjoyed the boot camp part and it brought back a lot of memories for me. The narrator was easy to listen to and different characters were distinguishable. I would be interested in other books this narrator performed in.
"Enjoyed The Story"
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.
"Right On Target"
Good Story combined with excellent narration.
Marko Kloos is as good or better than John Ringo or David Weber. I hope this is a start of a series.
I was a Marine and a D.I. and the boot camp scenes were pretty good. There was a lot of difference between our ultra controlled boot camp and the one in Mr Kloos's book, but I can see how his would have been effective, plus his had the advantage of "washout" which meant going back to a life of extreme poverty and desperation. Those with nothing left to lose make the best recruits.
I was disappointed that the book ended. Been a while since that happened.
"I soooo wanted to love this book..."
Being a frequent visitor to the author's blog, having read a few of the chapters he released as short stories, and being a HUGE fan of dystopian future novels I really expected to love this book. Unfortunately I did not. Some of the story is very good, but some is flat and one dimensional. Some of the ideas are new and interesting, but some are retreads from Alien and Blackhawk Down. Some of the "future tech" is cool... but there is also quite a bit of anachronism and it feels inconsistent.
Worst of all, there is no resolution to any of the plot threads. The last chapter is literally "We did this, but it doesn't really matter because there is more... buy the sequel." I get it that a lot of books now are setups for a trilogy or whatever, but this was just ugly and blatant. At least some of the plotlines should be resolved... or hinted to... or something. So disappointed.
This came within a hair's breath of getting a 5th star from me. If I was a military sci-fi lover it would have, but I am not a fan of endless shoot-em ups, which is what chapters 10-13 are. Other then that it is a pretty good story, certainly entertaining. It has good character development and I have already bought the sequel. It does not really have anything new, but some old favorites done well.
It's a dystopian future, were most of the country is on welfare. There is the beloved boot camp chapters, a sort of love story, a reenactment of Black Hawk Down, and even Godzilla. It is worth your credit.
Narrator is good.
"Action packed without much of a plot"
It looks like the book is set up for a series, but I wouldn't read the next one. I think there are more interesting books out there.
I really love science fiction and fantasy genres, but this was my first time listening to military science fiction book. It was missing a lot of what I love - feeling immersed in the world of the characters. The action scenes really came alive, but the plot was too cliched and the main character was too simplistic as well. After killing what seems like a thousand of people in one day, he doesn't try to find out what is happening on Earth? I wouldn't read another book from this genre - too much action not enough thought.
Battle of Detroit
"Best new military scifi entry in a while! Great!"
I recommend this book to all of you scifi-ers patiently waiting for a new entry from a great author!
The protagonist in this story is just a normal guy trying to make a better life for himself and get out of his hometown in the process! You can't help but to root for the guy every step of the way!
The fact that you can do the right thing and eventually things will work out makes this book worth the listen and the credit for sure! I don't want to say much about the plot and give it away. Just get this book and you will probably love it just as much as I did!
The narrator does a wonderful job and is easy to listen to. He makes the story come alive with great character voice and doesn't just drone on in a monotone like some.
"Great Military Science Fiction"
Terms of Enlistment is a highly entertaining, adrenaline pumping, action packed assault on your imagination. Set in the not to distant future, with smart choices made by Kloos. Mainly the lack of excessive technology, it is there but in not over the top ways. Sometimes military science fiction gets to be little more than a description of the vast technology and its uses. But also in the state of our Earth, much is as we know it yet much has changed or I should say is different as I think the universe Kloos created is unique to ours. As there are vast amounts of people that are on welfare, very little is mentioned of those that are not and left me wondering what the rest of the society was like. The NAC (North American Commonwealth) seems to be a military controlled country that is very busy in keeping the riots, rebels and enemy countries under control, while busily exploring the universe and terraforming new planets to inhabit. Our star of the story is Grayson, a nobody everyday kid, stuck in the welfare tenements that the government has setup for the vast amount of poor. He is a young man that wants to do more with his life than waiting to win the lottery, and joins the military. We get to follow him through basic training and watch him transform from a teenaged punk to a confident man living a purposeful life, with a love story mixed in, as basic training is coed. Much of the first half of the story is filled with Grayson thinking about or messaging the love he made in basic, and the only thing he wants more than anything is to follow her into the space Navy, even though he is stuck on Earth. Several battle scenes had me on the edge of my seat as Kloos delivers highly stressful actions sequences both on Earth and in space. I found Grayson to be very relatable and I love when everyday people are the stars living an extraordinary life, along with a full cast of other interesting characters, high impact action, stress inducing moments, love and loss and love again, alien worlds, a must listen for fans of military science fiction. Needless to say I have already purchased the next book in the series and expect to be blown away.
I purchased this audiobook for review.
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"Good, not great Military Sci-Fi"
Kloos has a written an enjoyable book that is performed well by Luke Daniels. It is not in the same category as Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series (at least the first ten books of that series), but the characters are likable, and the plot line believable. This strictly a setup for the ongoing series, there is no attempt to reconcile any of the threads. But the price was right, and it was good enough that I'll get the second book.
"Entertaining but... something's off"
I think it might be the random swerves in plot line or the reveals that I already guessed but over all I love the universe and the weighting was good and I've herd good things about the second book so I'm off to read that now.
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