Cover Image: Centers of Gravity

Centers of Gravity

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I just finished THE MAGICIAN KING by Lev Grossman before reading this, and the number-one complaint you get from people who've read those books is that the protagonist is just an awful person and nobody likes him. The single nicest thing about the Frontlines series is that you never, never, not even once have that problem with Andrew Grayson. He starts out the series as a punk kid in the mean streets of Boston, and rises through an extraordinary series of miserable failures and ridiculous successes to being a major in an elite combat unit, battling against the "Lankies," impossibly big and tall spacefarers with out-of-this-world (heh) technology that lets them move onto whatever planet they like and crush everyone and everything that's in their way. Grayson is humble, loyal, makes mistakes, and fights as hard as he can for humanity. How do you not like that?

This is likely (although one suspects not) the last book in this series, which begins with the brave crew of an Avenger-class starship way out in the back end of beyond, with no support and everyone on board eating recycled everything. Grayson's task is simple; he's got to land a small crew on a forbidding moon to see if there's anything there to eat.

There's an abandoned bar, later in the novel, named "Bad Calls," and Grayson ends up making a series of decisions, all of which seem eminently reasonable at the time, and all of which turn out horrid, which leads to a series of space battles, a daring escape through a wormhole, a landing on an alien planet, and a rousing last stand against alien invaders. All good stuff, and Grayson is there to walk us through it all.

I grew up reading stuff like Heinlein's STARSHIP TROOPERS, which is of course epic in his own way, but reading the descriptions of Heinlein's technology against what Kloos has thought up would have made the Grand Master chew his knuckles in frustration. But it's not really the tech, or the tactics, or the bravery that gets you through the series. It's Grayson, calm, centered, focused on getting back home to his wife, that's the steel backbone of these books, and one hopes that Kloos allows him his happily-
Was this review helpful?
Centers of Gravity by Marko Kloos is the 8th book in the series Frontlines. I was unaware that this was part of a series when I got the copy from NetGalley. (I would recommend to those interested that you start out with the first book in the series--Terms of Enlistment.)
This book is a well written and fast paced military Science fiction novel. I think my enjoyment of it would have been greatly enhanced by a familiarity with the series and the characters. I got the impression that there was some important and dramatic events transpiring but I had only a superficial appreciation of them unfortunately.
I was reminded of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers but also of the old series Perry Rhodan. 
I plan on checking out the first book in the series.
Thank you to #NetGalley, #47North, and Marko Kloos for the ARC of #CentersofGravity.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley (but still plan to buy a copy given how much I enjoyed it). 

I discovered Marko Kloos in 2019 when I came across the Frontlines series, and binged all the Frontlines books available at the time. I really enjoyed them - I found them well written, they came across as pretty realistic when it came to people in the military (and more so than a lot of other military sci-fi I’ve read), and I really liked the plot. 

When Kloos started the Palladium Wars series, my initial reaction was “No! Does this mean Frontlines is over?!” Fortunately that was not the case and I also really love that series, but was happy to see Frontlines continued. 

I had been saving the previous Frontlines book, ‘Orders of Battle’, and ended up reading this one right after ‘Orders’. Wow. I got my fix of interesting characters, action and a compelling story, but it also changed the recipe enough so that it didn’t feel repetitive, and brought a new angle for me to look at events from. It was also a great end to what is hopefully just this part of Frontlines (told from Andrew Grayson’s perspective), but not the whole Frontlines universe. 

Fortunately, Kloos has said that while it’s (for now) the final one of the Andrew Grayson books, it’s not the final in the series…

Until then, I’ll need to read Kloos’s works in the Wild Cards series and other short stories!
Was this review helpful?
It was the summer of 2014 when I first discovered Terms of Enlistment, the first book in the Frontline series. I was instantly hooked. I tore through the first two books and then eagerly awaited each new book. I was actually upset when Marko Kloos launched his Palladium Wars series, not because it’s not good but because it slowed down his work on the Frontline series! It’s been nearly two years since the release of book 7: Orders of Battle and given how that book ended I’ve been dying to catch up with Andrew Grayson and our war against the Lankies. And boy was it worth the wait. As always, the book features excellent characters that I truly care about and a spectacular story. I’m not going to give a story recap as I don’t want to spoil a moment of the story, but Centers of Gravity is another spectacular addition to the series, and while I hate to think this is the end (and honestly pray that it isn’t as I really don’t want to say goodbye to this universe) but if it is then it’s a wonderful send off. Thanks so much to 47 North and NetGalley for allowing the opportunity read an eARC of Centers of Gravity. 

On a side note, not only have I read all the books multiple times, but I’ve also listened to them. I wholeheartedly recommend picking up the audio versions alongside the kindle or paperback versions. The first 6 books in the series were narrated by Luke Daniels (one of my favorite narrators). The 7th book was narrated by Eric G. Dove. While I’m not sure why Luke didn’t narrated book 7 (my guess is a scheduling conflict), Eric was a solid replacement, and ironically he actually sounds like Luke Daniels crossed with Nathan Fillion. As of the time of my writing this review it’s not listed who will be narrating book 8, but I know I’ll be picking it up day one to experience it again.
Was this review helpful?
Another wonderful addition to the Frontlines series.  Like the others, I read it in a day even though I was trying not to rush through it!  This continues to be one of my favorite series ever, one that continues to get better with every installment.
Was this review helpful?
Kloos is a safe bet for sci-fi fans. He's been around a while, and knows how to write to his sweat spot. This is a fun story that cooks right along, and does a good job being engaging. Recommended.

I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!
Was this review helpful?
A fantastic series finale. Kloos brings to a close his very grounded military sci fi series in grand fashion. if you have made it this far into the series, you know what to expect - great battle scenes but more so solid plotting, pacing, and characters. all the main characters get resolutions i felt good about, without any 'oh gotcha' moments. sure there are some times when the stakes get so big its a bit of a stretch but what space opera / sci fi military series doesnt have them? i fully recommend this series to any sci fi military fan. (audio books are also fantastic)
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Centers of Gravity is the eighth and final book in Marko Kloos' Military Science Fiction series "Frontlines".  This is basically the only MilSF series I actually read, because Kloos' prose and characters are highly enjoyable, as are the situations they get into against mostly the seemingly unstoppable and highly alien Lanky forces (with occasional human-human conflict as well).  Kloos' ability to play the human v aliens thing somewhat straight, while also adding in real human on human conflicts and issues with our future along the way has made this series highly enjoyable to follow, even if it never really approaches anything must read, and after the seventh book ended on a major cliffhanger, I was excited two years later to get to this eighth and seemingly final book.  

And well, Centers of Gravity is a solid finale to the series, resolving the character arc of series protagonist Andrew Grayson as he finds himself hopelessly in deep space, well away from his wife, in an area that no human has been before...and where their battlegroup seemingly has no way to get back.  It still, like the last book, elides the issue of Andrew's PTSD somewhat, but it still tells a strong story of the battle-weary Andrew forced to make some tough choices, with some disastrous consequences, and features one more struggle between he and his human allies against the alien threat as they try to survive and make it home.  If you're this far into the series, you will enjoy this finale, as more of what you expect from it and a reasonable way to put it all to bed.  

----------------------------------------------------Plot Summary-----------------------------------------------------
Major Andrew Grayson and the crew of the NACS Washington find themselves impossibly 900 light years away from Earth, far beyond the travel capabilities of any human ship, in a system clearly known to the alien enemy: the Lankies.  Even worse: the system they're in does not even contain any sun, and the only objects within it is a rogue planet and its several moons, making an attempt to settle down in this system practically impossible.  To survive long enough to find a way homme, Andrew and his Special Tactics Team will have to be deployed to the planet's various moons to discover if water and - somehow - food could possibly exist....because if they don't find any, they'll starve to death before they can even think of a way back home.  

But it was the Lankies who towed the Washington to this system, and it's not because this is an unknown system to them, that's for sure.  And the moon most likely to contain the supplies they need is the one whose climate seems almost ideal for the Lankies....and thus poses the most danger for anyone to investigate. 

So of course Andrew will find himself and the Special Tactics Team under his command tasked with investigating it.  This time however, the mission might be so dangerous that Andrew won't come back unscathed....and lives will be lost....if the humans can even find a way back home at all.....
Centers of Gravity is yet again more of what you expect from the Frontlines series at this point.  Circumstances - in this case crazy and disastrous ones - lead Andrew to once again set down on a Lanky infested planet, to try and sneak around without being detected and to coordinate his team so that there are minimal casualties if they are....except naturally things don't go that easy.  You have a few side characters - like a scientist who is a bit too risky for everyone's own good and the XO who remains bitter about her father (Andrew's first commander)'s sacrifice - who are solid and enjoyable, but really again the main focus is on Andrew.  

And Andrew's story concludes here in very satisfying fashion, with him finally running out of luck in some ways and facing consequences he's long been lucky to avoid, and with him and his weariness reaching a maximum level.  Andrew has for a few books now been in this position of "almost too tired to keep fighting" but also "doesn't know what else he would do if he ever left the military."  Here that comes to a head, with him given no choice but to keep fighting - and to keep going into his most dangerous combat zone yet - if he wants to get back to Halley and yet being even wearier than before.  It doesn't help that his actions put others in danger now and can often be misinterpreted in wrong and bad for morale ways.  The end result, without spoiling, is the perfect end to his character arc, and if Kloos ever returns to this world, it seems certain that Andrew will no longer be the central character.  

And again there's a bunch of really fun MilSci scenes, as Andrew and his team has to invade a planet with unknown biologies and almost certain Lanky presence, has to find their way out, and then in space, their team has to figure out a way to outmaneuver and escape Lanky forces like never before.  If you like the MilSci stuff from prior books in the series, you'll enjoy this one, even if there's little here that you haven't seen before.  

Which isn't to say Centers of Gravity is among the best of the series - there's a bunch of plot elements here that are kind of disappointing and go nowhere (a rumor is brought up by someone that Andrew is having an affair which is impeding his judgment, which he dismisses and then it never comes up again for instance), and the secondary characters remain weaker than compared to earlier in the series.  But the ending works pretty perfectly to wrap up Andrew's story, in a way that is very fitting.  If you've enjoyed this series so far, this will be an excellent way to wrap things up.
Was this review helpful?
First, I would like to thank 47th publishers, Net Galley and Mr. Marko Kloos to allow me to read and review his latest book in the Frontline series. This is an exceptional addition to the series. As a reader, when I begin a new story series, I start to become invested in the characters and their story. I feel for the pain and sympathize with the grief they feel through out the book, Mr. Kloos creates characters that are believable while the setting of the book is if a far distance future where anything is possible. 

Andrew Grayson, the main character is stranded 900 lightyears from Earth in a hostile environment. He has to not only keep his moral alive trying to get home but he has to lead his men to find food and fuel, battling odds to find food and water as well as evading the hostile Lankie forces. 

Spoiler Alert
This is the end of the series and it ends on a high note the heroes are Back home and safe. Their war is over and they are starting a new chapter of their lives building a family. But, the journey to get there was not an easy one.
By ending the series where he did in the story line, Mr. Kloos has avoided the trap that other authors of long running series have in which the reader loses interest in the characters. 
The promising note is that Mr. Kloos has introduced several new characters and positioned them to continue the fight against the Lankie forces in a new series, 

All in all. This is a GREAT book and a fitting end to the series. I enjoyed reading it and next year when I am looking a good book to read I will definitely pick this up read it again
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher 47North for an advanced copy of this book of speculative military fiction set deep in the stars.

Space opera has always been one of my biggest enjoyments when reading. Big battles, bad nasties, super men and women fighting huge battles among the stars, I love them all. Perry Rhodan, Lensman and books with odd ships and lasers on the cover I was willing to try it. The more well adult space opera stories say by Jerry Pournelle, or Lois McMasters Bujold kind of lacked that spark to me, though I enjoyed the more real world tactics and science, and I drifted away. However Marko Kloos in Centers of Gravity book the eighth book in his Frontlines series offers me the best of both worlds with a solid story, strong characters and an enemy that seems both mysterious and unstoppable. 

Major Andrew Grayson joined the military to escape a life that seemed like one long cycle of failure. Soon he found himself defending and liberating planets from the Lankies, super strong and tall aliens whose only agenda seemed to be killing humans and taking their land. Grayson rose through the ranks as the war continued, and in this book he has found himself and the crew of the NACS Washington trapped 900 light years from home, after being swept up in the wake of a Lankies seed ship. Their ship is trapped in a system with only one gas giant and 4 moons, and food, water and even munitions are becoming a priority. Grayson leads an expedition to one moon, but finds much more than he planned for. 

A book that starts quickly, reminding previous readers and introducing new ones to one has gone before, the stakes and what is being planned. I wish all books would do this. Even for familiar readers a nice solid reminder is good for people who read a lot of books. The characters are all different, some are gung ho, some introspective, and in a first, the scientists in this aren't written as uncaring and dumb, but curious and as desperate to go home as anyone else. Grayson is a good man, trapped in a war that he is tired of, caring for both his people, and those trapped on the ship, and his wife. He's not a super-soldier, nor an automaton, as many militaristic science fiction characters are, but a guy who has a job, wants to go home, and make sure that everyone else does too. The action is good, the science is easy to follow, and the plot makes sense based on what the find out, or think they know. Mistakes are made, people die. A book with a lot of atmosphere and ideas.

This is the first book in the Frontlines series I have read, and had no problems jumping in, and will look for the others. I have read Marko Kloos' other series The Palladium Wars, and like this book recommend it. Kloos has a good way with story, and with characters that readers want to root for. For fans of Heinlein science fiction, especially if one likes aliens that truly seem alien.
Was this review helpful?
Andrew Grayson enlisted years ago to escape his horrible life, just in time to fight in the war against the alien Landies to prevent humanity's extinction.  In this, the eighth book in the series, he has been promoted to Major and is lost on a ship 900 light years from Earth.  The humans, alone and with no way home, have to find the resources to survive without attracting attention from the Landies that infest the area.

I've enjoyed all the books in the series, but this book is the best since the first.  The earlier books depict the exciting ups and down in the war against the Landies, but this book is different - it takes place in a new environment, with Grayson in jeopardy in a new and interestingly different ways.  Plus, after seven books with minimal new information about the Landies, we finally learn more about them.

If you are new to this series, I recommend starting at the beginning to enjoy the full story.  Otherwise, you'll enjoy this book as a great addition to a great series.

I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Wow! This book..... Wow! I just finished reading Centers of Gravity and I'm a little speechless right now. Which is probably not the best time to write this review, but I feel like I have no choice. This book is excellent! Truly! While I have enjoyed every single book in the series, the last one (Points of Impact) was a little underwhelming in my opinion. Therefore I was a more than a little apprehensive about Centers of Gravity. But Mr Kloos blew even my wildest hopes for this book out of the water. This book had everything; a life and death struggle, impossible odds, amazing discoveries, great characters, vividly imagined new worlds and last but ABSOLUTELY not least, an ending to die for! Serious this book, is in my opinion, the best that Mr Kloos has written in The Frontlines series to date! I really don't have any negative things to say about this book, and even if I did, the ending of this book is so amazing, so fantastic, that it would overshadow almost any criticism for me. The only minor critique I do have, and really it is more a critique about the series as a whole rather than just this book, is that the Lankies still remain a complete mystery. Given that this is book 8, I would have expected at least a little bit more solid information about the Lankies by now. And if anything this book only added even more questions to the already long list. And while I like the ever deepening mystery that surrounds the Lankies, I can't see how Mr Kloos can possibly end the series any time soon. At this rate the Frontlines series will stretch to beyond 20 books. And honestly, after reading this book, that would be no bad thing. 

In summery, I absolutely loved this book. Any fan of the Frontlines series will love this book. And any fan of well written Sci-fi who haven't yet read the Frontlines series should do so immediately.
Was this review helpful?
Another excellent addition to the Frontlines series.  Kloos continues to work through not only the implications of humanity fighting against a much more powerful foe that they cannot communicate with, but the profound impact that that war has on its soldiers.
Was this review helpful?
An epic sci-fi novel that took my breath away.

Andrew Grayson is on a mission to save the human race. Fighting against Lankies, an alien race, he and the crew have travelled millions of lightyears away from home, into a space no human has gone before. Searching for food and water, they find a lucky break with an ice moon. Then the worst thing that could happen, happens. The ice moon is infested with Lankies. Can they make it out alive? More importantly, will they ever see Earth again?

This is only my second science fiction novel to read as an adult, the first being Project Hail Mary. I thought it was wonderful. The descriptions of the alien worlds created vivid images in my mind. The peak and pace increase were painlessly without fault. The comedic relief seemed to come in just the right moments, even when the grim outcomes were present. The hopelessness felt had me on the edge of my seat. Kloos has written this novel in such a way that you can feel the hopelessness, the desire to return home, the fear of not making it out. The final plot twist was spectacular.

The pace did start out rather slowly, up until about halfway through. You need to understand the military rank structure and quite a bit of military jargon to really follow along, but it isn’t a necessity.

I definitely think this was a great sci-fi novel, though it may not be for people new to the genre. I give this one four out of five stars.
Was this review helpful?
I first encountered Markos Kloos back in 2013 when I wanted to give a few self-published writers a try and picked up *Terms of Enlistment* — which was the first book in the Frontlines series and published through Smashwords (**note**: it has since been republished under the North47 imprint). As an first dive into self-published sci-fi, it was a rousing success and I really enjoyed the book. Fast-forward almost 10 years and Kloos is releasing his eighth book in the series this year, and, like the preceding seven, it was a lovely romp well worth the (refreshingly low) price.

*Centers of Gravity* is not going to win any awards...well it might, but it's certainly not cutting-edge, literary-style sci-fi... but it *is* solid story-telling with great characterization and a worthy continuation of the Andrew Grayson story. If you are looking for good story, with a healthy dose of military action, some side-commentary on what the future could hold and a well measured dollop of what lies behind the military mindset, then this book (and this series) is a great investment.

I probably wouldn't recommend picking this one up without reading a least a few of the earlier books. *Centers of Gravity* continues following the military career of Andrew Grayson who started out in the ghettos and is now a Major in the Commonwealth Defense Corps. As a direct sequel to Book 7: *Orders of Battle* — which had Grayson stranded in a distant system on a recon mission — this time he has to not only figure out how to survive, but how to make it home again if they do. I am pretty sure *Centers of Gravity* marks the conclusion of the Frontlines series—although Kloos does leave it open enough that he can spin off a different storyline—and if so I declare it a great bookend to what was a great series.
Was this review helpful?
I received an arc copy from Netgalley for a fair review.

I've been a fan of Marko Kloos and especially Frontlines, but I've been waiting for him to run out of road. We're 8 books in and some other series I have enjoyed from other authors, eventually became formulaic and uninteresting by this point. But no! I really enjoyed this book too. It seems like we made some serious progress on the plot arc, the book was well paced and the writing was as solid as always.

We're hopefully building to a exciting conclusion, and I hope the pacing and the story arc continues to deliver.

If you're new to the author/series, go back and read your way to here, it's worth the journey. If you're not, dive in, the water is still good!
Was this review helpful?
My first time jumping into the Frontline series (and Marko too). I definitely was able to pick up the pieces easily and become engrossed in this saga.

Marko's military (!) skill with the fountain pen is exquisite, especially the battle scenes and the high tension involved in navigating larger than life Aliens in a far gone planetary system.

Humans get stranded in space, try to save themselves and encounter the aliens.  Humans escape the aliens via a wormhole and then find themselves in a spot of bother and are saved by, well, humans.

Lots of believable tech and circumstantial situations that we will all be encountering in the near future.

Really good.

Thanks to NetGalley and 47north for an ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Centers of Gravity by Marko Kloos(Frontlines #8)- Another tense, thrilling chapter in the Frontlines Saga. Major Andrew Grayson and the crew of the Washington are lost in a strange planetary system that has no sun, only a huge, hulking planet with four moons, and the alien Lankies are all around. They rode into this system on the tail of a Lankie ship, and must survive long enough to follow another one back out. Meanwhile, they are running out of food and water and plan expeditions to the inhospitable moons out of desperation. This puts them in conflict with their alien aggressors. There are battles on the moon surfaces, battles in space, and a final big battle when all seems lost. Great military space opera, always inventive, and never lacking that sense of wonder push! Thanks NetGalley, 47North and of course, Marko Kloos!
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this space opera.  The crew of a Earth starship end up 900 light years from earth.  They are fighting Lankies’, a giant alien species.  Earth has been fighting a losing  battle against the Lankies’.    But they manage to find some biometric data that might help them fight.
Was this review helpful?
There is very little that is original in Marko Kloos' Frontlines series - and that is not an insult. This is incredibly well told, thoroughly enjoyable SF Military space Opera. Kloos's books almost always jump to the top of TBR pile, bypassing 'worthier' titles for one simple reason. I have so much fun reading them. Centers of Gravity is the 8th and final book in the current Frontlines series (kloos has suggested there might be more books in this universe, but this is the end of this storyline) and there is no point reviewing the plot. Either you have read the previous 7 titles or you are about to start Terms of Enlistment and will get to this title soon enough. Now I am going to re-watch  the Lucky Thirteen episode of Love, Death and Robots season 1 - based on a Marko Kloos story, and set in the Frontline universe.
Was this review helpful?