Fortress Frontier

 ***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!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Myke Cole
  • Series: Shadow Ops (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Irreverent Questions With… Myke Cole!

Headshots of Myke ColeMyke Cole exploded onto the Urban Fantasy scene with the amazing Control Point last year.  A superb blend of magic, military and mayhem, it is a gripping read that leaves you thinking about it long after finishing it.  But what about the man himself?  His bio is a dizzying read of occupations that quite honestly would leave me huddled under my desk and not only adds author to the impressive list but does it with flair! He’s also a roleplayer, loves fantasy books, comics and has a unique brand of humour that I like a lot. I know I am wittering again, so enough! On with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
An officer in the finest maritime military service in the world – the United States Coast Guard.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
The same ritual that EVERY writer has, mad procrastination. I play iPad games. I go on social media. I think of last minute chores that need doing, or friends I haven’t spoken to in ages. By the time I actually get to work, half my allotted time is gone.

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.) Include a picture if you like, unless it’s the bathroom!
Uh . . . er . . . ahem. Yes, well. It is rather spacious as bathrooms go.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I went to every single bookstore in New York City and signed shelf stock with my long-suffering agent. It took all day from the early morning to blackest night. It was exhausting and painful and I’ve never been happier.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
Peter V. Brett’s.

Do you get fully dressed to write? (Nothing, PJ’s, etc?)
I do most of my writing on the go, so it varies depending on where I am and what I’m doing. I’ve written in my skivvies, in a business suit, in a military uniform, in a t-shirt and jeans.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Other people’s success. Because. I’m not eating anyone’s dust.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Hugh Jackman. Which, now that I think about it, is quite possibly the most egotistical thing I’ve ever said.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
Hand over the celery, sir. That donkey is underage.

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
Every gaming table at every con everywhere, ever. There is nothing in this world quite like being hip-deep in fellow nerds, trading snark over Settlers of Catan.

What do you value most?
Crushing my enemies, seeing them fly before me, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I listen to them, take them seriously and don’t take offense. The words “that offends me” is the cheapest, easiest way to avoid having to listen to someone else’s argument. I don’t roll like that.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After, Everyone Dies, Or…?
As far as I’m concerned, every film should end with Captain America staring off into the middle distance, with the Stars and Stripes fluttering behind him. Especially When Harry Met Sally.

What do you do to relax?
I don’t. Ever. I’m not kidding. Ask anyone who knows me.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them? (Include a picture if you like!)
I am holding out until they come up with a breed of dog that doesn’t poop.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
The Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library, well-caffeinated and fed, empty bladder, and movie soundtracks blasting in my ear-buds.

What is your favourite type of music?
I’m a big fan of the good kind. I hate the awful stuff.

Do you have any phobias?
Pretty much all of them, but each one is balanced by highly effective coping mechanisms. Whenever I come up against something I’m frightened of, I go charging into it. I must do it.

Do you have a party trick?
I can offend anyone in a room in record time.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Non-skid, steel-toe combat boots. Cushioned soles for jumping, side zippers. They better be up for some punishment.

 Fortress Frontier, the second novel in the Shadow Ops series, is released on 31st January… and I can’t wait!

Huge thanks to Myke Cole for taking the time to answer our questions (and for such entertaining answers!), and if you want to know more about the author, visit his Website, Twitter or Goodreads!

Pictures provided by and used with permission of Myke Cole

Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author, agent or publicist and would like to take part, please get in touch!