Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole

Publisher: Ace (January 31, 2012)

Blurb (From Amazon):
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.

The amazing thing about the way that they seem to be selling this book (Man with super powers on the run from the government) is that the actual Fugitive part of the book takes up maybe 15% of the novel. The rest of the book has Oscar Britton plotting his escape, but it's very different than I was expecting. Not bad, just surprisingly different, which was a very good thing indeed. Gotta love it when you're pleasantly surprised as a reader.

 If I had to describe Control Point's strongest feature, I would say that the book has lots of "sudden-but-inevitable" points, which shock the reader, but make complete sense when he thinks about it. It's incredibly strong for a first novel because of these moments. I won't give any of them away, because I like to torture people who give away the best parts of books, and I'm not really into self-mutilation. Just know that you might be surprised by some of the turns that this book takes, and that's a very very good thing.

One element that I was concerned with was the Native American issues that come up in the book. Some of the Native Americans have declared themselves a sovereign nation, and are using their newly acquired superpowers to defend it. I was worried that this would be a bit on the over-dramatic side (Note: that guy's actually Italian), but again Myke surprised me. It turns out that Indians can actually be characters in a book, full of life and taking actions that make sense, not just stereotypes. Way to go, Myke! I'm proud of ya, buddy!

I also enjoyed the decisions that Britton made throughout the novel, especially the difficult ones that had negative impacts on his relationships with other characters. Britton isn't your typical hero (insert something about hero we needed rather than deserved), and because of that, he makes the hard decisions and worries about the fallout later. This leads to some logical-but-surprising decisions and some pretty nasty fallout, which made for a break-neck pace and excellent reading.

Since I don't want to sound like a complete fanboy (I'm afraid I'm going to fail at that), I suppose I'd better talk about some things that bothered me. The biggest issue I had with this book was that Britton's inner conflict seemed to drag on just a tad too long. There was great pacing around this, which disguised it, and it makes sense in terms of the story, but I found myself wishing he'd just make a decision about who he wanted to be with these newfound superpowers and stick with it. Okay, back to fanboy mode! Even this little problem didn't bother me that much (honestly, I had to look for something I didn't like, and this was the only thing that came to mind quickly).

I loved

  • Britton's surprising character decisions
  • The extreme fallout from those decisions
  • The awesome, and terrifying powers of Scylla
I hated



  1. This stuff looks like it's just up my alley. Picked it up on Kindle this evening. Looking forward to reading it!

  2.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It was really fun. If you're into books like these, you might also want to give Larry Correia a try, specifically his Grimnoir Chronicles books. Click his name on the side of the blog. I think I have two reviews up.