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 had my eyes on Control Point ever since I heard about it on Civilian Reader back in August. A military action novel with elements of fantasy, how great can it be? So when Myke asked if I would be interested in reviewing the book, I immediately said yes! Having now finished the book, I can say that it’s everything that I could hope for and more. It is an extremely well-written debut, a non-stop action packed rollercoster ride that had me hooked from the very beginning.

At first I thought Oscar’s ability in Portamancy is pretty unremarkable. Sure, you can create portals to another world and travel vast distance quickly but it’s no way as cool as the ability to fly or throw fireballs. Turns out I was completely wrong as Oscar learns to combine his ability with personal combat, he becomes a kind of one-man army that can appear anywhere and wipe out an entire group of enemies in mere seconds. Not only did Myke make portals cool, but he also came up with many imaginative ways to use the other schools of magic which I won’t spoil here.

Oscar has it tough in the novel. Not only is he a pawn of the military but he is constantly bombarded with difficult moral decisions. Should he continue the operation even if it means the loss of two young lives? Are the missions he’s carrying out really helping humanity or simply to suppress the indeginous population? We see Oscar struggles with these choices as he make do with his new environment and position.

Being a military man, Myke knows exactly the brutality and chaos on the battlefield and this novel clearly reflects them here. The attention to detail and the vivid description gave a clear picture of the story as I imagined Control Point as a movie played out in front of my eyes. Peter V. Brett wasn’t kidding when he describes this book as Black Hawk Down meets the X-Men.

I had such a great time reading this book. There were plenty of times that made me thought “Damn, that was awesome”. The schools of magic, the intense military action and the dynamic of the Umbra Coven, they all work so well together and really highlights what an impressive feat Myke has accomplished with his world. Any fans of genre fiction will definitely find something they like in this book.

If you are looking for a new voice to read in 2012, you better make sure Myke Cole is on your list.

Review based on ARC of Shadow Ops: Control Point courtesy of Ace and Myke Cole