Sunday, May 01, 2016

“Chains of Command” by Marko Kloos – Aliens, Traitors and Space Explosions

Chains of Command by Marko Kloos - book cover
The Frontlines series has certainly giving us more than a few epic moments and encounters between the humans and their alien invaders, and Marko Kloos returns in force once again to expand on his universe and continue the story of humanity's struggle to maintain its own existence.

In this latest entry into the series, Chains of Command, we take off about a year after the previous book, Angles of Attack. We are introduced to Grayson and Halley who have now become drill instructors, filling in the ranks of Earth's decimated armies. Needless to say, neither one of them is one hundred percent thrilled of being away from the action, even if it means that they actually get to build and lead normal lives with the same joys and pains as the rest of us.

It is soon discovered that Lankie forces are amassing on Mars, evidently preparing for an assault on Earth, and so is born a risky dilemma: to send an underpowered space fleet in hopes of knocking them off the planet, or pursuing a group of treacherous rebels who have seized valuable war assets in their separation from Earth. And so, Grayson is called back into action once again to accomplish an impossible task, putting himself and Halley right back into the middle of the action, their natural environment.

This book can be easily described as divided into three parts. In the first part we get to see how Grayson and Halley have established their lives on Earth since the last time we saw them. We get to learn about all the intricacies they have to deal with in getting used to civilian life, what things are like on Earth for the simpler folk, what they think about the war now that they actually have time to sit back and reflect on things. In other words, it starts off relatively slowly and then starts to pick up as the next part comes along: the preparation. Basically, it's all dedicated to the planning of Grayson's mission and all the goodbyes as well as the loose ends that come with it. Once the stage is set, comes the final part of the book, that of the all-out wars Kloos is so proficient at describing meticulously, with immense battles raging here and there without a moment's rest.

To be fair, it did feel like the first part of the book was a bit-drawn out with a few of its moments being unnecessary, almost feeling like filler as if Kloos needed to reach a certain number of pages. However, once you move on past that all these moments become forgettable and lodged in the back of your mind as the action picks up. That first half really is worth reading through if you're more averse to slower-paced storytelling, especially for the wondrous magnitude and awe-inspiring battles that take place in the final pages. The masterful acceleration of the pace until they take place works quite well in building the reader's anticipation of the marvels to come.

The characters are once again a shining jewel in Kloos' novel, for he manages to truly make them feel like real people, fallible and prone to the same effects of the human condition as all of us. Their relationships develop in unexpected yet very believable ways, feeling very natural and having for effect to create an attachment between the characters and the reader. Rest assured that you'll be more than concerned with the fate that is to befall a few of them.

In the end, Kloos has made an unforgettable addition to his Frontlines series and set the stage for an epic fifth book that promises to be nothing but emotions and excitement. It's one of the best sci-fi series around these days, and worth a read from fans of the genre. It ought to be mentioned that though these Frontline books are part of a series, they can all be read as standalone novels for those who don't feel like going through the earlier books.


Marko Kloos


Marko Kloos is a freelance novelist and writer, as well as being a father to two children. Kloos’ primary area of literary expertise is science-fiction, and perhaps fantasy as well. He is the kind of writer who knew what he wanted to do ever since he set foot in a library, which resulted in some acclaimed books such as Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure.

More of the Marko Kloos' book reviews:
Lines of Departure
Terms of Enlistment
Angles of Attack
Fields of Fire

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