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Aftershocks (The Palladium Wars) Paperback – July 1, 2019
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“A new series that promises to be just as engrossing [as Frontlines]…the action just as exciting, the science just as solid, the tension just as high. I gulped down the first book in a day, and I am already eager for the next one.” ―George R. R. Martin
Across the six-planet expanse of the Gaia system, the Earthlike Gretia struggles to stabilize in the wake of an interplanetary war. Amid an uneasy alliance to maintain economies, resources, and populations, Aden Robertson reemerges. After devoting twelve years of his life to the reviled losing side, with the blood of half a million casualties on his hands, Aden is looking for a way to move on. He’s not the only one.
A naval officer has borne witness to inconceivable attacks on a salvaged fleet. A sergeant with the occupation forces is treading increasingly hostile ground. And a young woman, thrust into responsibility as vice president of her family’s raw materials empire, faces a threat she never anticipated.
Now, on the cusp of an explosive and wide-reaching insurrection, Aden plunges once again into the brutal life he longed to forget. He’s been on the wrong side of war before. But this time, the new enemy has yet to reveal themselves…or their dangerous endgame.
“Kloos draws on his own experience as a soldier in the West German armed forces to infuse his military science fiction with compelling detail and grounded, believable characters. The result is an addictive, exciting space opera.” ―Locus Magazine
“One of my favorite mil-SF authors…an excellent read.” ―Amazing Stories
“A solid start to what promises to be a fantastic series.” ―The BiblioSanctum
“Aftershocks is a great start to what should be a fun, thought-provoking series. This interrogation of what happens when the fighting is over [is] a refreshing angle on military science fiction and one that rests well in Kloos’s hands.” ―Locus Magazine
“Great science fiction, allowing us to reflect on our own faults and challenges in our day. Cool science tech, lots of action and some characters I can certainly root for.” ―Jordan Rich, WBZ-AM News Radio
About the Author
Marko Kloos is the author of the Frontlines series of military science fiction and is a member of George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards consortium. Born in Germany and raised in and around the city of Münster, Marko was previously a soldier, bookseller, freight dockworker, and corporate IT administrator before deciding that he wasn’t cut out for anything except making stuff up for fun and profit. Marko writes primarily science fiction and fantasy―his first genre love ever since his youth, when he spent his allowance mostly on German SF pulp serials. He likes bookstores, kind people, October in New England, fountain pens, and wristwatches. Marko resides at “Castle Frostbite” in New Hampshire with his wife, two children, and roving pack of voracious dachshunds. For more information, visit www.markokloos.com.
- Publisher : 47North (July 1, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1542043530
- ISBN-13 : 978-1542043533
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #681,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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First, the good. Kloos in an excellent writer. I aspire to that level of calm, descriptive detail without feeling forced. This new series has left me with a few questions, but there are still some excellent revelations and interesting characters.
The bad (Minor spoilers), I'm reading along and there's a pretty good chase scene and then the book is over. What? Why?
Have you ever read Tom Clancy? Because this book is like the first 200 pages of a good Tom Clancy novel. But unlike Clancy, Kloos just stops. I would have happily read another 2-300 pages of this book. I would have happily paid another $8 for the privilege. It really is good. But there's no catharsis, just a long, steady build up of interesting things happening all over the place and disconnected characters and then... wait until the next book.
It is really getting out of hand. Write a book, tell us a story. I get that everyone wants trilogies or whatever. But don't make a trilogy just because the first book is almost 300 pages and it's time to stop for the next book.
It's OK to write one complete book. I know Kloos knows how to do this.
The book is a hurried rush that has a weak narrative and barely any coherent plot due to shifting between four main characters, who also suffer because of it. I get that Mr. Kloos was trying something different, hopefully to break him out of a rut with Frontlines, but the experiment was largely a failure and comes out as more as something self-published by a amateur author than someone with multiple books professionally published.
For the longer review...
The Bad: Aftershocks is a mess, primarily because of the focus on four different main characters through the short length of the book. There's simply not enough time given to establish the characters, build the world and have a coherent plot that builds up and ends on a satisfying note while laying groundwork for the inevitable sequel.
The four characters lack depth because of the rush to put everything into place. One is weary ex soldier (which felt very similar to the main character of the Frontlines series, especially in the most recent hook), a angry racist soldier that hates her enemies, a doe eyed corproo executive and a frigate captain that felt very much like Saul Tigh from Battlestar Galactica.
I believe that the book would have been better had it continued the focus on one character or just two. In the end I was more interested in one of the side characters than any of the main characters.
The worldbuilding is also subpar. Unlike Frontlines there's no real explanation for how this solar system spanning civilization works. You start the book five years after a massive war (something that felt pulled from The Expanse) in this jumble of VERY generically named and themed planets, all given plenty enough local detail but nothing is explained in depth beyond the immediate locale the character is interacting with.
It feels very disjointed and hard to engage with when, unlike Frontlines, you're not really given much of a reason to cared about these location but expected to all the same. Again, it is a symptom of having too many characters. A reduction would have helped the worldbuilding.
Instead we just have this generic bland...mess that has no backstory besides Five Years Ago There Was A War. I honestly think we would have been better off starting with that, or at least some form of prologue that established the universe before jumping in. Frontlines did not suffer from this because of the singular main character and the time that Mr. Kloos spent building the world of that universe.
The plot, what little there is, is just a mess. No spoilers here, but if you've read a Tom Clancy espionage novel, you've read this story before. There's so little central plot that this section is short. Hopefully Mr. Kloos Slim's down the cast so that the story has more room to breath so that it doesn't actually start going somewhere until 3/4ths of the way through the book.
However, there are some good things to be said about this book, largely because of the little improvements that Mr. Kloos has made to his writing skills. The side characters feel more like people instead of just cardboard cutouts. In fact one particular character (and who I am sure will return in the next book, probably as a love interest) turned out to be the one I enjoyed seeing the most. His individual locations have much more detailed descriptions that allow you to better visualize where the character is, but as stated this comes at the expense of overall worldbuilding for the universe. His ship based chapters are also markedly improved, having slid downhill after his excellent second and third Frontlines novels.
All in all, I feel like this was more of an experiment designed to shake off the weird...blahs that the so far final Frontlines novel had that made it so weak. The worldbuilding, characters and plot are so rushed and weak that they felt far more like a first time author self-publishing instead of a talented multi-book author with a professional publishing company. Or perhaps just a writing exercise that they decided to publish to fill the gap until the next Frontlines novel.
Here's hoping that he either returns to Frontlines feeling refreshed and brings that series back up to the same level of quality the first three books had, or he doubles down and recognizes the short comings of this book and takes his time with the sequel.
He’s made it through the last months of his imprisonment, can he make it through the bureaucracy and finagle a ride to Gretia? Bad luck, bad people, complications, and entanglements jeopardize his flight toward a new life and freedom. Aden finds himself not headed for peace, but war from an unseen enemy. But even as bad things happen to good people, Aden’s luck might possibly be changing. If he can just avoid… well, just about everyone.
Meanwhile, someone may be trying to restart a war, as the occupation forces on Gretia face sudden, violent, and merciless attacks on their troops and on the Gretian civilian population. Someone destroys the mothballed Gretian space fleet, and it isn’t the people guarding it. An invisible, unidentified enemy is breaking the peace and plunging all the planets back into the bloody conflict.
Aftershocks is the first novel in a new series by Marko Kloos, who is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite authors. While I’m late to the game, discovering him a little over a year ago, I’ve devoured everything Frontlines and even a certain treatise regarding shifters. Aftershocks is a frenetic, wildly implosive read that has me hungry for the next book and salivating over the thought of another great series. Highly recommended for those who love military stories, science fiction, intricate world-building, complex characters, and simply good storytelling. Chalk another one up in the must-read column.
I received this book as a digital Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher through NetGalley. My opinions are my own.
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Having finished the book, all my previous comments still stand. However, the book is the first in a series and is poorly wrapped up at the end - all of the plot strands are left truncated, practically no questions are answered, leaving this the feel of half a book, even allowing for the fact it is part of a series - I have read many series, and they usually find a natural pausing point... this just feels arbitrarily truncated.
The story takes place a few years after one planet loses a war that it has started against the others in an alliance, and those who served in the notorious Blackguards are being released from being POWs. We also meet characters from the other systems who partook in the war and see what is happening at what is their present time. Due to this then we have some thrills and spills, what with spaceships being blown up, whilst one disappears, along with terrorist action, all amongst the normal day problems that certain characters have to deal with. With regards to this then this does make for some okay sci-fi escapism, but alas there are also problems with this book.
As there are no dates actually given, we start off reading this as something that is more or less in a linear chronological order, but is that really so? We do for instance later in the book have two chapters which cover part of the same event, but from different perspectives, but these adjoin each other and so is perfectly okay. But we have an incident that happens somewhere really in the first third of the book, but we only know more about this somewhere in the second third, meaning that there are a number of chapters in between the two pieces, which throws our chronological understanding out. So we have a woman answering to a message, but then it is not until later we read of the person actually sending the message, which means that there needs to be some editing and/or re-writing to correct this issue.
For some of us we have already worked out what is happening, which presumably will be shown better in the next book in the series, but for a number of people it may not even be that clear to them even when they finish this first book. In all then this is something that you can sit back and take a few hours out of all the hustle and bustle of the world with, but it could have been much better realised and thus given us a stronger and more cohesive tale.
So: well written, the other-worlds explained in a way which made sense, good background to the storyline. But this book finishes before the actual story really starts, hence you need book 2 as well. This is something that I find very annoying as it just spoils it for me. Will I read book 2? Not sure yet as I would really need to re-read this and then continue immediately to book 2 to make it worthwhile.