Points of Impact

Points of Impact

Humankind may have won the battle, but a new threat looms larger than ever before… Earth’s armed forces have stopped the Lanky advance and chased their ships out of the solar system, but for CDC officer Andrew Grayson, the war feels anything but won. On Mars, the grinding duty of flushing out the twenty-meter-tall alien invaders from their burrows underground is wearing d...

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Title:Points of Impact
Author:Marko Kloos
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Points of Impact Reviews

  • Robyn Powley

    I've been anxiously awaiting the release of Points of Impact. I did a binge read on the Frontlines series when I got a recommendation. Author Marko Kloos has created a marvelous universe for those addicted to science fiction--it's got everything: a magnetic, but all-too-human protagonist, action, adventure, aliens, love and friendship.

    What has kept my interest is the growth of the main character, Andrew Grayson. In this book, he's taking up a big leadership role and it feels like a natural prog

    I've been anxiously awaiting the release of Points of Impact. I did a binge read on the Frontlines series when I got a recommendation. Author Marko Kloos has created a marvelous universe for those addicted to science fiction--it's got everything: a magnetic, but all-too-human protagonist, action, adventure, aliens, love and friendship.

    What has kept my interest is the growth of the main character, Andrew Grayson. In this book, he's taking up a big leadership role and it feels like a natural progression of a real life. The author has a skillful way of using the science and technology that underlie all sci-fi works, keeping it believable and understandable, but a backdrop to the story itself.

    In this book, a large part of the tale becomes about new, advanced technology and the hubris that can accompany its development New machines and weapons have been juxtaposed with people and places from past books, in a recombinant DNA that results in a fresh, exciting story. There is a richness and complexity that is as delicious as chocolate layer cake--but without the sugar high.

    Once again, I am struck with the way the author fashions a society where there is no gender dominance. Heroics and villainy appear in both sexes, and in that, the future feels like one we aspire to--it is Trekian is that way. But every person is multi-dimensional, with shades of grey. I am especially enamored of Grayson's wife Halley, a skilled pilot and leader who outranks her spouse.

    The starkness of all bad is reserved for the Lankies, but even this formidable enemy is being shown to be more complex than mindless insects. The aliens are still quite a mystery however, and I would like to know more about them...perhaps in the next book?

    Mr. Kloos writes authentically about combat and its toll. No one comes through a war completely untouched--some are honed and some are shattered.

    Like all great sagas, it's not the time, place, or technology that enthralls, it is the people who are impacted by the events. Points of Impact is great science fiction...

    but read the other books first.

  • Bradley

    I am authentically impressed by this series. It's easily some of the very best milSF I've ever read. Why? Because the writing is super clear and manages to be both light and dark at the very same time. I love how humanity is portrayed as being people, with both sexes getting over the baggage we never seem to get over in RL, everyone focused on living amidst horror and devastation and death always being on the doorstep.

    I appreciate this a lot. It gives us all hope. It gives a very solid reason wh

    I am authentically impressed by this series. It's easily some of the very best milSF I've ever read. Why? Because the writing is super clear and manages to be both light and dark at the very same time. I love how humanity is portrayed as being people, with both sexes getting over the baggage we never seem to get over in RL, everyone focused on living amidst horror and devastation and death always being on the doorstep.

    I appreciate this a lot. It gives us all hope. It gives a very solid reason why we ought to survive. That, and competence reigns even if the baddie aliens are bigger than life and they're completely inscrutable and hulking and have always refused to communicate with us.

    Sure, it's a plot device focused on survival and forcing the rest of us to get over our crap, but again, I like that, too.

    As for this book, I think it's even better than the battle for Mars. There's something really delicious about the new battlecruiser and rescuing a colony and going all out with the battle sequences is always a winner.

    I'm surprised I'm actually saying this... but Go Humanity, Go! :)

    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC, it's great fun! :)

  • Lindsay

    It's been three years since the assault on Mars where the human forces largely denied the planet to the Lankies, but rendered it unusable in the process. Andrew Grayson is coming off of a tour of Mars duty where the mopping up of Lankies continues, but a series of difficult deployments including the action on Arcadia (

    ), the Mars assault (

    and his year-long deployment with the Lazarus Brigades have left him in a precarious mental state. Humanity is finally all pull

    It's been three years since the assault on Mars where the human forces largely denied the planet to the Lankies, but rendered it unusable in the process. Andrew Grayson is coming off of a tour of Mars duty where the mopping up of Lankies continues, but a series of difficult deployments including the action on Arcadia (

    ), the Mars assault (

    and his year-long deployment with the Lazarus Brigades have left him in a precarious mental state. Humanity is finally all pulling in the same direction and the newest incarnation of Earth military is powerful and dedicated, but is it the right solution for the Lankie problem and is Andrew Grayson still a part of that solution?

    This series has tackled military life in all its forms throughout, and Andrew and Hallie have had more than their fair share of PTSD-inducing experiences and more action in their military careers than most. By the time of this book, both are feeling old and looking back on the series it's clear why that is so. The questions that arise for long-term soldiers around their careers, the psychological impacts of those careers and the increasing gap between their lives and their civilian counterparts are the fundamentals of this book. The update on the military forces and the battle against the Lankies are clearly secondary to this, which may disappoint long-running fans of the action in this series. Personally, I thought it was solid, but it felt very short.

  • HBalikov

    "I’ve been at war for most of my adult life. When I was a kid, there wasn’t much to do in the Public Residence Clusters other than getting into trouble or watching Networks. I wasn’t good at getting out of trouble again, so instead of running the streets, I read books and watched a lot of shows. My favorite stuff to watch was the military shows, the ones that ran year after year. Steady casts of actors who became more familiar to you than your own family, playing hard-bitten sergeants and office

    "I’ve been at war for most of my adult life. When I was a kid, there wasn’t much to do in the Public Residence Clusters other than getting into trouble or watching Networks. I wasn’t good at getting out of trouble again, so instead of running the streets, I read books and watched a lot of shows. My favorite stuff to watch was the military shows, the ones that ran year after year. Steady casts of actors who became more familiar to you than your own family, playing hard-bitten sergeants and officers doing battle with The Enemy, whoever that happened to be in that season. Some shows were what I now know to be hyperpatriotic bullshit, and some were a little more gritty and critical of the war machine, but they all had something in common: there was always a victory in the end. It may have been hard-won at terrible cost, but there was never a doubt that victory had been achieved against The Enemy. Turns out all those shows were full of shit. Real war—it’s not like that at all. In real war, you don’t often get a clear-cut victory."

    "But if we couldn’t use Mars anymore, neither could the Lankies, and the incursions stopped. If there are seed ships left, they hightailed it out of the solar system, because none of our units have spotted one since the Second Battle of Mars. Three years without a Lanky seed ship sighting and some people think we may have beaten them for good, driven them back to wherever they came from. Most of us know better. So we are preparing for the next round, all of us."

    This sound familiar to you? If not, hereby be advised to go back to Frontlines Book 1. The person sharing his thoughts is Captain Andrew Grayson who has been married to another military officer for almost as long as they both have been in the service.

    "I turn to face her again. “We’ve been married for ten years. How much time have we had together? Six months?”

    “Probably less.”

    “Yeah. And I really want to see what it’s like to have a life with you. Not just spending two weeks a year on leave.”

    A lot of Kloos imagination goes into the parts of military life where you aren’t in immediate peril. Our hero, and he has been a hero more than once, is finding that his “down-time” is getting more difficult.

    “No Fleet shrink has combat experience anyway. You’re all trying to fix conditions you’ve never seen for yourself.” She leans back in her chair and looks at me with a slight smile. “Then what are you doing here, Captain Grayson? Why did you ask for an appointment?” “Because it helps,” I say. “Talking stuff out. Sometimes.” “That’s an unusual attitude,” Dr. Saults says. “From a podhead, I mean.” “How so?” I echo her earlier question. “The more gung-ho and macho the occupational specialty, the less you guys are likely to talk about what bugs you. Like it’s a sign of weakness. Like it’s something you should be able to handle yourselves.” “I used to think that,” I say. “Until a few years ago.” “What made you change your mind?” “I got married,” I say, and she grins. “And I had a few rough patches,” I continue. “Not with the marriage. With the combat drops. Scraped past death a few too many times, in really bad ways. And then a mission went sideways, and I lost a lot of guys under my command. But I had my wife to talk to. And it helped."

    PTSD is something we are recognizing affects far more people than most of us imagined. Kloos takes this on.

    "“You ever see the shrink about it?” “Hell no. That shit isn’t for me.” Hansen takes a sip from her bottle and puts it down on the table with emphasis. “I know what bugs me. I don’t need assistance from some rear-echelon psych quack. All they do is pump you full of meds.” I don’t want to tell Hansen that I let them put me on meds because I know that she’d see it as a sign of weakness. Too many grunts are caught up in the mind-set that a frontline soldier should be able to manage that sort of thing on their own, that seeking help from a professional is somehow unbecoming. I know that she’s wrong to dismiss it out of hand because the stuff I am taking really helps—"

    Some of my GR friends feel that Kloos could have done more with this theme (and he still might). That aside, he still delivers some great imagery for battles in space.

    "It’s like a slow and awkward joust with heavily armored knights and lances, but we’re on a rain-slick frozen lake, and the horses are on skates."

    And

    "This won’t be a sucker punch from a million klicks away, but a knife fight in a toilet stall."

    To those of us hooked on the Frontlines saga, #6 may seem as more of a “holding pattern” than an advancement of the story. I was tempted to penalize Kloos for that, but have reconsidered because of his willingness to take on some of the important topics that ring as true for our military stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq today as they do in Kloos’ world centuries in the future.

  • Gary

    Kloos’ Frontlines has been my favorite MilSF comfort food for the last few years. On the surface, Points of Impact, has all the qualities that endeared the series to me: crisp, tense action scenes, tight and efficient storytelling, sympathetic yet flawed characters. Most impressively, over the course of the first five books, each entry has improved upon the last.

    It’s sad to say that streak has come to an end with Points of Impact. It became clear to me about halfway through book six that Kloos

    Kloos’ Frontlines has been my favorite MilSF comfort food for the last few years. On the surface, Points of Impact, has all the qualities that endeared the series to me: crisp, tense action scenes, tight and efficient storytelling, sympathetic yet flawed characters. Most impressively, over the course of the first five books, each entry has improved upon the last.

    It’s sad to say that streak has come to an end with Points of Impact. It became clear to me about halfway through book six that Kloos was kind of spinning his wheels here. The premise revolves around the development of a new armored battle cruiser designed to take out Lanky seed ships with ease. Most of the first two thirds of the novel has the Earth alliance taking their new toy for a practice spin, with Andrew and Halley both crewing up but, due to some pretty flimsy reasoning, separated because of a confounding regulation that keeps married couples from bunking together (?!?).

    Notably, one of Kloos’ flaws as a writer is his unwillingness to step outside of his comfort zone with his characters. It’s particularly frustrating in this entry, as the most intriguing early development in the story finds Andrew diagnosed with PTSD – a thread that Kloos fails to explore adequately. Kudos to him for introducing such an important topic to the series, rather than just pretending it isn’t there (as our present-day military would prefer to do). Hopefully he will offer more on the subject in future books.

    I still love the details about military culture that Kloos is so good at depicting, and the climax delivers the usual goods. Kloos hasn’t necessarily lost his touch, but his momentum has definitely stalled.

    Thanks to Netgalley and 47North for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  • Charles Green

    Marko Kloos is yet to write a bad novel. However, Points of Impact, the sixth in his 'Frontlines' series, is not his strongest effort to-date.

    The problem is that the book feels like padding, with a thin plot stretched out to fill a full novel. With the exception of a short and inconsequential opening on Mars and an equally rushed return to the Formahault System as a denouement, the book features very little military action. Much of its length is filled with introducing the Ottawa, the newest and

    Marko Kloos is yet to write a bad novel. However, Points of Impact, the sixth in his 'Frontlines' series, is not his strongest effort to-date.

    The problem is that the book feels like padding, with a thin plot stretched out to fill a full novel. With the exception of a short and inconsequential opening on Mars and an equally rushed return to the Formahault System as a denouement, the book features very little military action. Much of its length is filled with introducing the Ottawa, the newest and most formidable ship in Earth's military fleet, which has been designed specifically to take on and beat the existential threat posed by the Lankies. Add in yet another quick trip to peaceful Vermont for recurring leads Andrew and Halley and some introspection from the former on the personal impact of war & combat, and that's pretty much three quarters of the book's length spoken for.

    Whilst these sections are well written as always, they're not exactly jam packed with excitement and whilst the Ottawa's appearance evens up the on-going Human vs Lanky war, that conflict doesn't really progress from where it was left at the end of 'Fields of Fire'. The concluding battle, which feels rushed and rather as if it was included to fulfill some-sort-of action quotient, doesn't greatly alter the respective sides positions, and both Andrew and Halley are pretty much where they were when the book opens.

    The overall result is a book that takes quite a long time to not really go anywhere, leaving the series' wheels spinning without much forward momentum. I wasn't bored by Points of Impact; the chance to spend time with familiar characters in a richly conceived future world and Kloos' ever-accessible prose saw to that. Nor however, was a blown away or genuinely enthused by the book. I'll stick with the series, but the next installment needs to offer more than shiny tech and the odd skirmish to keep me gripped.

  • Rob

    I originally gave this book 4 stars when I finished, but having time to reflect on it, I dropped it by a star (maybe we'll call it a 3.5?) because very little actually happened.

    Luke Daniels continues to be one of my favorite narrators. Another fantastic job.

    Marko Kloos first came to my attention when he was nominated for a Hugo and dropped out due to controversy surrounding that nomination. He earned a lot of respect from me for his decision and put thi

    I originally gave this book 4 stars when I finished, but having time to reflect on it, I dropped it by a star (maybe we'll call it a 3.5?) because very little actually happened.

    Luke Daniels continues to be one of my favorite narrators. Another fantastic job.

    Marko Kloos first came to my attention when he was nominated for a Hugo and dropped out due to controversy surrounding that nomination. He earned a lot of respect from me for his decision and put this series on my radar.

    I'm not a big military fiction fan, but he does a good job of it. These books are always fun, and light. The fights are action packed, the technology is cool and the stakes are high. This book was no different.

    I was excited coming into this book because I read (or thought I did) this would be the final book, and I was looking forward to wrapping up events of the series. It is for that reason that I was totally surprised that this wasn't in fact the final book. In fact the more I reflected on the book after finishing it, very little actually happened.

    I really like the characters in this book. That wasn't always the case. Andrew wasn't a very good person at the start of the series. He's had a lot of growth. This book isn't different. We get into the effects of PTSD, something I don't recall being addressed in the other military fiction I've read.

    However when all is said and done, the last few books have been proceeding at a bit of a crawl. The books have become a bit formulaic and I find myself hoping things will be wrapped in the next book.

    That said, I still enjoyed listening to this book and I'll pick up the next one just as soon as it's out.

  • Jennifer

    I'm frustrated. Will this series ever end with an actual result? Each book is just one battle for one planet or moon against the Lankie aliens. I'm tired.

    In this installment, we get to go back to the icy moon that Andrew helped liberate a few books ago. This time instead of freeing it from an unjust military, the Lankies have taken over. The humans have some shiny new toys to bring to the battle, including the biggest starship they have ever built, and some fun exoskeletons, but they still get t

    I'm frustrated. Will this series ever end with an actual result? Each book is just one battle for one planet or moon against the Lankie aliens. I'm tired.

    In this installment, we get to go back to the icy moon that Andrew helped liberate a few books ago. This time instead of freeing it from an unjust military, the Lankies have taken over. The humans have some shiny new toys to bring to the battle, including the biggest starship they have ever built, and some fun exoskeletons, but they still get their butts kicked. Well, not really kicked. Just like the last book, there is no real victory or defeat on either side.

    Previous books have had Andrew consider the moral issues: following orders, humans killing humans instead of fighting the real enemy, the justification of the rich vs the struggles of the poor, etc. In this book, the big moral dilemma seems to be whether Andrew should medicate for his PTSD.

    I just don't know if I can read another installment. I'm too frustrated.

  • Robert Thompson

    I was really looking forward to seeing the end of the line somewhere in the distance here. It just seems like this will either be the last one with a lackluster ending or keep going with possibly a new protagonist but don't look for much advancement in the over arching story.

    There was way too much talk about PTSD, new equipment, previous deployments. Sixty to seventy percent of the book was superfluous.

    And that's it. I give it one more volume and if not remarkably better than this one, I'll give

    I was really looking forward to seeing the end of the line somewhere in the distance here. It just seems like this will either be the last one with a lackluster ending or keep going with possibly a new protagonist but don't look for much advancement in the over arching story.

    There was way too much talk about PTSD, new equipment, previous deployments. Sixty to seventy percent of the book was superfluous.

    And that's it. I give it one more volume and if not remarkably better than this one, I'll give up.

    2.0 Stars

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