Sunday, June 18, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Book Review: Fields of Fire (Frontlines #5) by Marko Kloos

Long Review After the Jump:

I am not a big Military SciFi (MilSci) Fan.  That's not to say I don't enjoy works in the genre, but I don't love MilSci for its own sake: despite my love of technothrillers growing up, I've found that I just don't find descriptions of SF Military battles THAT interesting.  For me to enjoy a MilSci Novel or series, it needs to have a plot and characters that interest me.

Marko Kloos' Frontlines series fits that description.  Fields of Fire is the Fifth in the series, which is often on sale on Amazon for really cheap - in fact, the first three books in the series are $0.99 for this month while the fourth and fifth books are $1.99.  The series features three characters in the future world militaries - Andrew Grayson (our main character), his wife Halley (a dropship pilot), and Sergeant Fallon (a total badass sergeant in the terrestrial military who doesn't like to take orders) as they find themselves and Earth facing an alien threat overwhelming in force.

This Fifth Book (not to spoil any of the first four books) features Andrew and the Human forces attempting to take back a crucial human stronghold (not spoiling by explaining the identity).  As you might expect it doesn't work out as planned.

The Strength of the First Four Books in the series is several fold - the relationship between the three main characters (Sergeant Fallon is particularly amazing), the conflicts in the plot being interesting and yet each book having a satisfying conclusion, even if each book ends in a cliffhanger.

Fields of Fire...fails in pretty much all of these regards. The book is the first one without any Sergeant Fallon, which hurts as it leaves us with less characters we know and care about, and really the first one without a satisfying conflict/resolution.  The big twist in the story is predictable from the very first few chapters and the book ends on a cliffhanger that just annoying.  The prior books all had cliffhangers, as mentioned earlier, but all had at least some ending to the small conflicts at the heart of each book.  This one....really doesn't.

Kloos is still an excellent storyteller in general, so I'm not saying this book is BAD (and if you like MilSci more than I do, you might still enjoy this one), but this one misses the mark without the benefit of two of the major characters for most of the runtime, the predictable twist, and the unsatisfying ending. I enjoyed the first four books enough that I'll be there for book 6 still, but this was a disappointment.

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