Shadow Ops:Control Point by Myke Cole
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer.Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze.
Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military’s Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one. The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him down–and take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he’s ever known, and that his life isn’t the only thing he’s fighting for.
I recently was able to have the chance to read an ARC of the sequel to this book, Fortress Frontier and knew I would have to go back and do a post about the first in the series. Expect my review of Fortress sometime in January/February, closer to the publication. (But I’ll say this, it’s incredible. Read this, then pre-order Book 2. It’s well worth it.)
Control Point by Myke Cole is the first military fantasy book I’ve read. I’ll be honest, give me a sword and shield over an assault rifle and tactical shotgun any day of the week. But Myke Cole has done the impossible and swayed me utterly.
From the start Control Point draws you in as a reader as you are sucked into a modern-day world that’s been recently struck by The Great Reawakening, that is the rebirth of magic into the world.
I’ve read many interviews with Myke Cole and I’ve heard him say that one of the biggest inspirations for the book was to take a look at magic being reintroduced in the modern era and how the government, and ergo, the military would handle it. Cole does a spectacular job and there was an abundance of moments that gave me chills with the believability of a world were magic is restricted by government.
Oscar Britton is a military employee in a world where “Selfers,” that is people who manifest with a magical ability and do not turn themselves in, are hunted down and forced to cooperate. After an assignment to capture one such Selfer, Britton manifests in a prohibited school of magic and goes on the run, knowing first hand what happens to “probes” such as himself. What follows is a high-octane thrill ride as Britton deals with the consequences of his actions.
Now, I’m a sucker for any kind of training scene, especially when it involves magic, and Control Point does not disappoint. We’re given a fairly thorough view of the different schools of magic and what each is capable of. The scenes in which Britton learns to control his “prohibited” gate-magic and subsequently blend it with a unique form of martial arts is especially thrilling.
Control Point is especially remarkable for its realism. Myke Cole has managed to take his own experiences serving our country and write in a way that’s both relatable and understandable to a non-military reader such as myself. In particular, Cole should be given extra commendation for his portrayal of men and women thrust in a situation of war. The treatment of the indigenous species of “The Source,” an alternate plane where magic stems from, looked like it could have been ripped straight from the headlines during the war in Afghanistan.
There is also a little bit of a rush when you read about a modern Blackhawk Helicopter going toe-to-toe with a mythical Roc. This blend of the modern against fantastical is really what makes this book shine above others in the genre.
Basically, if you are a fan of any military movies or video games like Call of Duty and still wonder what it would be like to throw a fireball or call down lightning, Control Point is the next logical step. Peter V. Brett said it best on his cover blurb, “Black Hawk Down meets the X-Men.”
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I had a chance to read an ARC for Fortress Frontier, Book 2 of the Shadow Ops Series. Without giving too much away I can tell you that Fortress takes everything you loved from Book 1 and take it to the next level.
We get to see new characters, new schools of magic, new places and much more. Fortress Frontier is incredible and you’ll quickly get caught up in everything new Myke Cole brings to the table. Perhaps most impressive and satisfying is the look at the ramifications of Britton’s choices at the end of Book 2 and how they affect our new major character, Alan Bookbinder.
Take it from a man whose read the book, pre-order now and thank me later.