Wednesday, March 07, 2018

“Points of Impact” by Marko Kloos – The Critical Turning Point

Marko Kloos Turns the Tables

In the previous books of the Frontlines series by Marko Kloos we were presented with a vast and long-standing conflict between Earth and a race of alien invaders known as the Lankies. Despite the enemy's technological superiority, earthlings managed to hold on by a thread and have slowed the invasion to a screeching halt. However, they aren't exactly out of the woods yet as the great conquerors are looming above them and have still a considerable amount of fight left in them. The struggle between humans and warring aliens is one that has come back time and time again throughout science-fiction literature, and there are seemingly a million different outcomes to this sort of scenario. In some of them mankind prevails, but in many others it gets obliterated, assimilated or enslaved... in the sixth novel of the series, titled Points of Impact , we get to witness the turning point of a critical stalemate.

To be a bit less vague about it, while Earth itself seems to be more or less out of immediate danger, human colonies outside of it are still exposed and in great peril. The effort on Mars to flush out the remaining aliens from their burrows is proving much more arduous and costly than expected, a fate that likely awaits all other colonies out there. Earth isn't about to take a breather or anything, for they have developed new ships and weapons designed to turn the tides of war and put them on equal footing against the invaders, at least from a technological perspective. Both Andrew Grayson and his wife Haley are commanders and responsible for more lives than they can count, and once again they are the spearhead of humanity's offensive, the great attempt to start pushing the Lankies back. However, as everyone suspects, they aren't the type of fighters to go down easily and still have quite a few cards left to play. With the seemingly-eternal conflict taking an increasing toll on those fighting, it's only a matter of time before someone breaks.

The Epic Saga Continues

First of all, to those who are new to the Frontlines series (which started with Terms of Enlistment), this isn't really one you can dive into without having read the other books. It all pretty much makes for one continuous story, and unfortunately you can't really start in the middle of it. With that out of the way, you can imagine that with this being the sixth book in the series, Kloos dedicates most of his efforts to progressing the story, focusing on actions and events more than anything. Things move along pretty quickly and I think it would be accurate to say that this is the kind of novel you'll end up accidentally speed-reading merely due to its pace.

With every book in the series so far we've seen some new aspect of the Lankies, with fresh elements being thrown into the mix to keep things new. In this one, we come to learn that despite their brutish appearance, the Lankies are very much capable of intelligent thoughts and happen to have an unexpected understanding of military strategies. We see them match brains versus brains this time rather than mere brawn, and in the process a window starts to form into the minds of the Lankies. So far we've known very little about them, their thoughts, capabilities, origins and motivations, so every little bit adds to what will ultimately amount to a profound and complex portrayal of otherworldly sentient creatures.

A Case of Attachment

Throughout the books we've come to make the acquaintance of many different characters, some of which have become a mainstay in the series. I feel like Kloos has a special talent for creating the types of people to which we can get attached and develop an affection for over time. Andrew and Haley are as interesting and enjoyable to follow as they ever were, and it's come to the point that whenever we see them appear it basically feels as if old friends have come to visit us.

Our link to these people is further reinforced when the author takes some time to portray the effects of the war on people, how they are affected both materially and psychologically, how they are shaped by the hell of this conflict. In these little segments we get to a see glimpse of our real and recognizable world; wherever war takes place, whether it's under the sea, deep in space, or anywhere in-between, it remains hell in its purest form. The kind of woes humans bring each other with violence has remained unchanged throughout thousands of years, and it seems that spaceships and aliens won't make it much different.

The Final Verdict

Ultimately, if you have been reading this series up until this point, then it's pretty much a one hundred percent guarantee that you are going to enjoy this book. It continues this alien invasion saga true to form and only makes you wish the next chapter was out already.

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.

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