So, I finally finished the book that comes before Lines of Departure, and I have to say that Terms of Enlistment is at least an order of magnitude superior to LoD. So in a way, I’m glad to have read the poorer volume first! If I’d read them in order, I imagine that I would have been very disappointed with the second novel.
And if I’m recalling correctly, there’s a whole bit in the middle between LoD and ToE that’s not in either, and apparently not in the short stories set in this universe going by their descriptions. That would be the key part in which the main character goes from being a positive can-do guy, to a cynical downer who dwells way too much on Deep Philosophical Questions like “does humanity deserve to be wiped out for overpopulating the planet?” There definitely should have been at least a novella in between there!
Terms of Enlistment is a far more positive book than its sequel, spending most of its time detailing how Andrew does in Basic Training, his first few combat missions, and how he makes his way into space at last. It’s definitely worth a read, but I would recommend skipping Lines of Departure for a month unless you like depressing sci-fi books, disappointing sequels, and having to wait for the next book of a trilogy.
I think the series would do well as the plot of a Hollywood movie, actually. Summer blockbuster sci-fi type story; nothing too deep or thought-provoking, a lot of cliche doom and gloom. Entertaining explosions, that sort of thing!