Monday, April 7, 2014

Sophomore Effort...

So, over the weekend I finished Marko's excellent follow-up to "Terms of Enlistment," "Lines of Departure." He's got a solid series here, with at least a third novel planned (WRITE FASTER) and who knows how many more coming. We need to encourage this. Nurture it, even.

Often the second novel in a series is considered better than the first. The characters are established, so there's more time to really move a story along. Dramatic elements, plot devices, etc. are introduced rather than the central characters; often they give the author a chance to really stretch their proverbial legs and take the story out for a real run.

"Lines of Departure" is like that, but not completely. It's hard to say that it's "better" than "Terms of Enlistment" - I'd say more that it's awesome in different ways. Marko weaves an intelligent, engaging storyline full of believable, likable characters (and some unlikable ones as well, ones I'm hoping will fall into various meat grinders and warp nacelles in later books...)

If "Terms of Enlistment" set the stage for the confrontation between humanity and their nemesis, "Lines of Departure" continues the narrative. We follow the arcing career of Andrew Grayson through more s**t than should befall a body, although he does seem to go looking for it. Along the way to becoming the premier badass and alien butt-kicker, we learn more about him and his circle.

And aliens. There's aliens in the novel, did I mention that?

If you liked "Terms of Enlistment," then I don't need to sell you on "Lines of Departure." You're familiar with the characters, know the high quality of the writing, and have only not yet read it because of family commitments or perhaps intense hospitalization. If you haven't read "Terms of Enlistment" yet, what are you waiting for? I would recommend reading both in order.

All in all, a powerful sequel for the man from Castle Frostbite.

That is all.


Anonymous said...

Art cannot be rushed. You rush a miracle man (Marko) and you get lousy miracles. (With appologies to Miracle Max from The Princess Bride)

Joseph from IL

libertyman said...

But Jay, you are in the first book! I haven't finished "Lines" yet, but gee, Lt. Grazio is in the first, where did that name come from?

Dave H said...

I read both books last week and don't regret staying up way past my bedtime 3 nights in a row to do it. They were a joy to read, right down to the punctuation. I've seen professionally published SF that looked like it was never copy edited. Not this stuff - it's perfect to my limit of resolution.

Marko's been compared to Heinlein and I can see the resemblance. But unlike Heinlein, he leaves the preachifying at home. This is fine with me. When you're on the front line you don't care why people do what they do, you just care what they do, and what you're going to do about it.