30 January, 2012

Review - Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole

This book blew me away.

Shadow Ops: Control Point [US] [UK] [Kindle] by Myke Cole is one hell of a ride. Beware, if you pick it up, you may not be able to do anything until you finish. It's that good.

I'm going to attempt to explain this book in the next couple paragraphs, but bear with me, I just learned some military jargon by reading the book, I am in no way fluent. Plus there's military jargon specific to the book. See my problem? (This is not to mean that it's in anyway unbearable, it works really well)

The world has changed, and yet not. The Reawakening has come and a small percentage of the population has begun to manifest certain magical abilities. People can control fire, water, earth, air and health along with other prohibited types, but you'll find no Captain Planet here. As soon as you manifest, you enlist in the military otherwise risk being named a Selfer - a rogue magic-user who's all but dead in the eyes of the military.

Oscar Britton is a helicopter pilot for the Army, he flies Kiowas if you were wondering. As we jump into Control Point, Britton's team along with a team from the SOC (Supernatural Operations Corps) is on their way to take down a couple Selfers at a local school. The problem is - these are just kids and Britton has a tough time going in to take them out, thus introducing some of the difficult problems with getting rid of due process for a minority group. They take out the kids, not without some clashing between Britton and the SOC team head, Harlequin (an Aeromancer - controls air).

Then, Britton wakes up the next morning manifesting in a prohibited school of magic, he's a probe and probes are dead on sight. What's there to do but run?

There's so much more to go into, but I really hate ruining anything, but lets just say that there are quite a few twists and turns, lots of fighting (both hand-to-hand and with magic), alien species, moral quandaries, and lots more.

As the author, Cole, has been heavily involved in the military and its interesting to see his take on the X-Men premise, when people start exhibiting magical powers. Cole's vision in this book has the government making it illegal and the military enforcing it - no ifs, ands, or buts. It's hard to say the government would just eliminate due process, but at the same time we are living in the time of the Patriot Act.

Oscar Britton is our primary focus throughout the story even though it's told from an omniscient perspective. While he's made the military his career, he still sees the flaws in a system that allows people to essentially become slaves of the system especially when they have no control over whether they inherit powers or not. But then again, that's the problem, people can't always control their powers.

Britton struggles throughout the book with whether he supports the military or not and the constant theme that training and preparation wins out over power is also prominent. He knows the military does good things, but is it worth the cost?

I've almost painted the picture that this is some moody, contemplative work, but that's not the case and I'm sorry to have lead you astray. These elements are more islands in the river of plot movement and action, which are never bogged down, only enhanced by such expositions.

Myke Cole is an author to watch and Shadow Ops: Control Point is possibly the best debut of the year. I know it's early yet, but I couldn't put this book down and that goes a long way for me.

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Your mission, should you choose to accept it - Find a copy of Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole by any (legal) means necessary and read it immediately. Release date: Tomorrow, January 31, 2012.

Check out the author's site and a great review from Justin at Staffer's Musings where he talks about the author's background some more and gives a good definition to the genre this book fits under - Military Urban Fantasy. I like it.

Shadow Ops: Control Point was received from the author.


redhead said...

Sounds awesome! From the cover art and blurb, I'd worried this one was going to be too military SF for me, but from your review and the one on Bookworm Blues, it sounds like Control Point has enough non military jargon even for peaceniks like me.

and i do love anything x-men-ish.

Have you ever seen Babylon5? Reading your sentence about how manifested people MUST enroll in the military kinda reminds me of how telepaths were treated in B5.

Bryce L. said...

Hope you like it. I haven't seen B5, but I think I'll have to check it out. I thought it worked really well and can't be too far from what would actually happen.

wheels209 said...

Hi Bryce,
I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying this book. You are right it starts out like a flash-bang and just keeps going. The intensity of action works well for me.
Take care,

Bryce L. said...

Great to hear, Steve. I'm about halfway through the next book and it's just as good if not better.

wheels209 said...

Thanks Bryce for the head-up of the up coming goodness in the next book.

I am looking forward to Brian McClellan first book due out next month. Should be fun.

Take care,

Bryce L. said...

Me too. I'm dying to get my copy and people are already getting ARCs. I'm dying here! :)