Published 2012 402 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
All over the world people are 'coming up latent' - developing new and terrifying abilities. Untrained and panicked, they are summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze.
US Army Lieutenant Oscar Britton has always done his duty, even when it means working alongside the feared Supernatural Operations Corps, hunting down and taking out those with newfound magical talents. But when he manifests a rare, startling power of his own and finds himself a marked man, all bets are off.
On the run from his former colleagues, Britton is driven into an underground shadow world, where he 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.
Control Point is the first novel in the Shadow Ops fantasy series by debut author Myke Cole. The author launches readers into an action packed military fantasy world. Imagine the X-Men movies crossed with Avatar, crossed with Stormship Troopers crossed with just about any movie you’ve seen focusing on the US Army and the horrors of war and you’ve got the picture – or the book, in this case.
The author wastes no time and drops readers right into the heart of the action from the outset. The author’s real-life Force’s background shows with the depth of military acronyms and jargon used in the narrative. For readers unfamiliar with the military world there is a glossary at the back of the book that helps explain the initially incomprehensible slang. Fantasy world building is done on the fly during the course of the dialogue and narrative for the most part – meaning it takes a couple of chapters or so to get in the Shadow Ops world but once you’re there the fast-paced plotting and nearly non-stop action carries you through to the final pages with ease.
There are no vampires in the Shadow Ops world, just regular humans who have spontaneously manifested magical powers. The powers range from raising the dead, to controlling the weather or healing the sick. Some powers have a limited acceptance by society while others are prohibited – and punishable by death penalty. However, all Latents (the individuals who manifest magical powers) are controlled by the state. Little better than slaves, Latents with the socially acceptable powers are given the choice to join the Armed Forces, or die. There is plenty of injustice and inequality in the Shadow Ops world and the book’s protagonist regular Army helicopter pilot Oscar Britton has plenty of opportunity to experience this first hand – when he wakes up Latent, with a prohibited power.
In an otherwise totally great story the weakest point is Oscar. He makes a bit of a wishy-washy hero in places. He can’t seem to make up his mind whether he’s for the military – or against it – and he constantly changes his mind throughout the story. This is perhaps a natural human response while he’s trying to come to terms with his new situation but some of Oscar’s decisions while he’s finding his way are less than clever. The awful consequences of some of his actions never really seem to make a big enough impact upon him to be very realistic.
Still, Control Point is hardly trying to be realistic character study of a man under fire. It’s an escapist fantasy thriller and when read as such it makes a hugely engrossing and incredibly moreish treat. This is a high body count novel, action packed and full of fast and furious magical fire-fights. Perfect reading for fans of high octane sci-fi fantasy.
Control Point is out now in the US and is available in the UK from 16th August 2012.
LoveVampires Review Rating: