***Please note there may be some very minor spoilers for Control Point in this review***
Fortress Frontier has an interesting and surprising start, not at all what I expected. Not only are we seeing it from the perspective of someone different to Control Point, but the events overlap slightly, revealing new details about the previous story. Colonel Alan Bookbinder (US Military) isn’t a front line soldier but the man behind the scenes. All the things that need to be kept track of, for resupply, for scheduling, he is responsible for and he likes it that way, feels comfortable with it, even if he feels it is all he is. After a weird dream and a day feeling like he is drowning, he realises something has fundamentally changed. He’s a latent, and like a good soldier, he follows orders and turns himself in… and that’s when his life really goes to hell.
If I’d known about the change of character before I started reading, I might have been worried but actually I thought it worked really well, even if it was unexpected. Alan is an interesting if unassuming character, worried about his family, and the impact his change has on his life is monumental. The differences between Alan and Oscar are huge but they are both good people and their individual characteristics have you rooting for them very quickly.
That’s not to say Oscar doesn’t feature, he does and I really liked the way Myke Cole wove the story, moving to integrate the two characters in small steps. I loved the way Alan slowly comes out of his shell, as events in the world progress around him. He grows in confidence and attitude until he becomes the man and leader I think he was meant to be. I can only say again how fascinating and beautiful I find the source world, Cole’s creation of this rich magical but deadly world is amazing and I’m glad we get to see more of it in this book. The intricacies in the way he describes the magical talents, their creative uses and peeks at how they might be used if the military wasn’t keeping them locked up tight for their own uses. It’s just wonderful and superbly done.
We also get to see more of the impact of magic on the ‘home’ world, the government’s rigidly tight grip on it and the resistance that wants to bring it all toppling down and I can’t honestly blame them.
The story is a little more straightforward in Fortress Frontier but it doesn’t lose any impact despite that. It was still gripping and there were a couple of twists that had me exclaiming aloud! The action is just as intense and emotional as the first book and Myke Cole’s writing style is so easy to read, I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished. The supporting cast again were brilliant and we get to see some familiar faces and several new ones. When the end came, I was almost beside myself and chattered at my husband about it for quite a while; he’s used to that when I’ve been really caught up in a book.
If I thought the first book was great (which I did!), then this second novel is just superb. The third book can’t come along soon enough, I need to know about the things that happened but can’t mention because of big spoilers!!
Highly, highly recommended to anyone who likes urban military fantasy, but do start with the first book in the series, Control Point!