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Shadow Ops: Control Point

Average Rating 3.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Hot cover, cool book

This was a great read. I generally avoid fantasy set in the modern (or sorta) world, and never considered myself a military-anything buff. So Control Point was a very-pleasant surprise. I devoured the book in two days.

Cole does a great job of building an alternative...
This was a great read. I generally avoid fantasy set in the modern (or sorta) world, and never considered myself a military-anything buff. So Control Point was a very-pleasant surprise. I devoured the book in two days.

Cole does a great job of building an alternative reality that’s believable and authentic. He sprinkles in fantastic nuggets of how the world we know and live in now would react to a subset of the population suddenly popping up with magical powers. He examines the political and social impact without ever moralizing or making a judgment. It would be easy to draw a clear good/evil line in a story like this and get preachy but Cole did none of that.

All of this in the middle of taking us into a fully-realized alien world full of its own creatures and cultures and believable magic system. Cole not only seamlessly knit together a fantastical world with ours, but did it without you noticing. No long info-dumps, no boring explanations. Just great details drizzled in and among the action.

This is a great debut and I’m thrilled to have found it.

But because every book has its faults, I do have the following complaints:

I couldn’t give Control Point five stars because Cole used one of my pet peeve writing techniques, internal monologue. I’ve gone on record before about how much I hate IM, but I know it doesn’t bother most readers so that’s probably neither here nor there to the majority reading this.

I also agree with another reviewer who wondered when Britton would “man up.” At some point it began to feel like he debated a point with himself, only to forget the next day what he’d decided the day before.

That said, neither of those annoyances were enough to override the imaginative plot and worldbuilding and the realistic action scenes. Definitely a recommended read. Enjoy!

posted by LeahPetersen on February 22, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

It's probably not a good sign when the (argueably) most evil character in the book is the one I'm cheering on.

It's probably not a good sign when the (argueably) most evil character in the book is the one I'm cheering on.

The author does a good enough job with world creation (or alteration, given that it's a modern setting with fantasy elements added in) that it doesn't feel ...
It's probably not a good sign when the (argueably) most evil character in the book is the one I'm cheering on.

The author does a good enough job with world creation (or alteration, given that it's a modern setting with fantasy elements added in) that it doesn't feel like X-Men with the numbers filled off. While most of the magic use does seem more like mutant powers than spell casting, there's enough to show that it is magic instead of "we don't know, it's magic, deal with it".

My problem with it is that I don't think the author thought everything all the way through on some elements. He establishes that a person's emotional state is tied to how they control their magic, with stronger emotions making magic more powerful and more difficult to control. So the best way to deal with an out of control teenager that's just gotten their powers is by sending in two helicopters full of heavily armed soldiers. Repeatedly thought the story, the author uses the phrase "skill over will" to illustrate that it's better to be precise and well trained in the use of one's magic than to be flashy and out of control. And then, instead of having the military sorcerers start off fights with enemy spellcasters by blocking their access to magic, they start off with summoning lightning and throwing fireballs. Combined with the fact that ninety five percent of the characters can be either classified as "jerk" or "spineless", and I can't see myself ever picking up the next book in this series.

posted by 10068023 on May 25, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    It's probably not a good sign when the (argueably) most evil character in the book is the one I'm cheering on.

    It's probably not a good sign when the (argueably) most evil character in the book is the one I'm cheering on.

    The author does a good enough job with world creation (or alteration, given that it's a modern setting with fantasy elements added in) that it doesn't feel like X-Men with the numbers filled off. While most of the magic use does seem more like mutant powers than spell casting, there's enough to show that it is magic instead of "we don't know, it's magic, deal with it".

    My problem with it is that I don't think the author thought everything all the way through on some elements. He establishes that a person's emotional state is tied to how they control their magic, with stronger emotions making magic more powerful and more difficult to control. So the best way to deal with an out of control teenager that's just gotten their powers is by sending in two helicopters full of heavily armed soldiers. Repeatedly thought the story, the author uses the phrase "skill over will" to illustrate that it's better to be precise and well trained in the use of one's magic than to be flashy and out of control. And then, instead of having the military sorcerers start off fights with enemy spellcasters by blocking their access to magic, they start off with summoning lightning and throwing fireballs. Combined with the fact that ninety five percent of the characters can be either classified as "jerk" or "spineless", and I can't see myself ever picking up the next book in this series.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Hjghhuk




    Ppkoou

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    I bought this book with high hopes. The concept was very creativ

    I bought this book with high hopes. The concept was very creative and sounded like a great combination of my interests but unfortunately it does not pay off. The writing, while touched with some good phrases, is not strong. It feels like it skips and jumps a lot, or that there are bits of information missing. Things that should be gripping (like fights) are slow and confusing. Character development is almost non-existent. Everyone is flat. At almost half way through the book I still did not have a feel for what kind of person the main character, Oscar Britton, was. One second he's a bad-ass portal-making uber-solder, the next he's a weepy, confused guy who can't do 50 push-ups in a single go ("His chest was shredded after 32" LOL. I'm out of shape and can do thirty push-ups easily and this guy's supposed to be in active service). The writer tries to make the character have more depth by throwing sudden bursts of detail that are next to meaningless. For example, Oscar has a conflict with his father early in the book but only when the father takes a swing at his much bigger son do we get a single line about how the father had been abusive.

    All the characters are this way. They're cookie cutter characters that have little or no depth and even less motivation behind their actions.

    The plot itself is weakly held together. Things pertinent to the plot are eluded to but never explained. Things that should be eluded to are dragged out in depth. A number of elements are so contrived as to be ridiculous. It feel's like a bad custom D&D adventure where the teenage GM wanted to focus on the mundane details of military life and his magic system, rather than weaving a compelling story.

    If you're only interest is some action (never mind it's confusing nature), how many t-shirts soldiers are issued in the field and exploring yet another magic system, then this might be worth a read. If you're looking for something new, compelling and well written then keep looking.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Not recommended

    This was the only book of the thousands I have read that had me rooting for the "bad guys" and hoping that they would take down the "hero". I understand that the author was using this hero as a metaphor and all that, But he simply wined about his lot in life the whole story, especially about the army killing people wrongly. However, he ends up killing way more than his "oppressors." I could not figure out where this author was going with this; ultimately, I skimmed through the last several chapters and chalked up a waste of $7.99.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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