Saturday, 31 May 2014

Review: 'Control Point' by Myke Cole

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.

Okay, so: I quite liked the film Black Hawk Down; I’m a fan of the X-Men franchise; I really enjoyed the film Avatar; and I used to love the TV show Heroes. Therefore it’s not that surprising that I enjoyed Myke Cole’s Control Point, since it’s sort of a mixture of all of the above.

This book really surprised me. I wasn’t intending to read it for quite a while: I bought it for the sake of completing a multi-buy offer, and only then because it (and its sequel) were blurbed by Mark Lawrence and Peter V Brett.  However, I recently had the urge to read something a bit different, and since this was to hand I thought: ‘why not?’

‘Why not’, indeed. Book one of Cole’s Shadow Ops series turned out to be a really enjoyable read, and despite a few misgivings early on (such as the improbability of the protagonist mastering his ability so quickly) and a couple of ongoing gripes (such as the almost schizophrenic back-and-forth of the protagonist’s attitude) I had a lot of fun with it.

The premise isn’t all that original: a minority of people find themselves in possession of rare and magical abilities, which makes them outcasts. However, the book is set on an army base, and focuses on how magic can be integrated into combat, which is interesting; and I really liked the way we were shown various uses for the different sorts of magic, particularly Britton’s ability. The fact that the author was in the army himself really comes across here, and he creates a very authentic-feeling semi-fictional military setting.

The characters do occasionally feel a little flat; one of the weakest points of the novel, for me, was the way Britton’s internal conflict was presented, namely the way in which his opinions are presented as a constant back and forth rather than as a gradual change. However, the pacing is great, and there’s a tonne of action and excitement, as well as plenty of awesome abilities and mythical beasties and gory scenes. The magical battles are vivid and pacy, and overall the book is a fun and enjoyable read.


Click here to view Control Point (Shadow Ops #1) on Amazon UK

1 comment:

  1. A good premise. I have heard mostly good things, though a lack of connection with characters has come up more than once and scared me just a bit.