In the great Reawakening, magic has flowed into the world and those who manifest latent talents must hand themselves in immediately and become part of the Supernatural Operations Corps. In the name of public safety new laws and restrictions have risen to control and govern magic. The only other option is to run and be branded a ‘selfer’, one who is selfish and doesn’t care about anyone but themselves. They are to be hunted down and forced to join the SOC, killed if they resist. And that’s only if you manifest in an approved ‘school’. If your talent is in a prohibited (probe) school, there is no chance, it is illegal and you must be destroyed.
Oscar Britton is a Lieutenant in the US Army, and has always believed in what they do, even when working alongside the Supernatural Operations Corps. However, his faith is shattered while hunting down a selfer and a probe and he learns the hard way that being a probe is an automatic death sentence. When his own latent ability manifests in a prohibited school, he realises the choice isn’t a choice at all and runs. Now he is the one being hunted.
I started writing this review several times only to stop, delete and start again. My instinct is to cry ‘OMG this book is amazing!’, but I think it needs a little more consideration than that.
Oscar is a first class character, admirable, likeable and troubled. I found it very easy to empathise with him and what he believes to be right and wrong. He is humane and hates seeing cruelty done to people, even those whose actions perhaps deserve it. On the other hand he is very much an army man, it’s his family and his purpose in life and when he is cast adrift from it, I could feel his pain and loneliness. I thought they way he just wanted a home again, to feel like he belonged to something greater than himself was very cleverly written. This then allows Myke to remind us that being forced to do something and choosing to do something are two very different things. He is thrust into an alien world where the rules of conduct he has been taught all of his army life just don’t apply anymore. He is now a weapon and owned by the US government, being trained how to point so they can shoot.
The world that Myke Cole created was fascinating and he populated it with wonderfully detailed creatures that capture the imagination. Some of them are terrifying but beautiful. I loved the friendly ‘goblins’, the indigenous sentient population although I’m not too sure about how they honour their dead! I did growl several times at the way they were treated, as little more than slaves rather than allies.
There are several supporting characters who are well fleshed out. I either loved or hated them, but all of them moved me on an emotional level whether bad or good.
The first thing I did when I finished Control Point was to spend several hours thinking about Control Point; I went to bed thinking about it and I woke up with it still on my mind. There is no black and white, only some nasty shades of grey relieved by a few rays of light. Oscar in desperation makes some seemingly extreme decisions and the ramifications are going to be huge. There was a twist at the end which I honestly didn’t see coming and it made me want to howl. The ending seemed fitting and right, almost calm, but I can only imagine the storm which is coming.
I had a little trouble with Oscar’s wavering commitment and decision making, but ultimately I understood it. He chose to join the army and believed in it. He is being forced to serve now, controlled by people who see him as nothing more than a weapon and as he manifested in an illegal school, he has absolutely no choice.
I loved the magic system, it was extremely well created and the uses for each of the schools were fascinating and imaginative. Even the prohibited schools had their place, even though ‘illegal’. I liked the call signs a lot and it appealed to my inner superhero fangirl.
The military side of the story was extremely crisp and well envisioned, clearly something Myke Cole has personal experience of. While Jargon is used, it doesn’t overwhelm and he includes a handy glossary of terms at the back of the book.
The action is just full on, exciting and the battle scenes are depicted in realistic terms, often poignant and shocking. The inclusion of magic in these fights doesn’t seem out of place at all and make for extremely gripping reading.
This is an amazingly well written debut novel, descriptive, imaginative and easy to read. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Fortress Frontier and see what the outfall has been of Oscar’s actions.
Highly recommended for anyone who loves urban fantasy, futuristic military novels or superheroes. Control Point is a fantastic blend of all three!