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Shadow Ops: Control Point

Average Rating 3.5
( 34 )
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5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(15)

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(4)

2 Star

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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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  • Posted July 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    If you can ignore the main character, SHADOW OPS: CONTROL POINT

    If you can ignore the main character, SHADOW OPS: CONTROL POINT might be a great book. As it is, it’s a fascinating world with non-stop action that fights to overcome the indecisiveness of its primary protagonist.




    Oscar Britton has just completed a mission to eliminate a teenage girl who lost control of her magical powers when he develops magical powers of his own. Rather than turn himself in, he briefly goes on the run before joining a secret military operation in which he uses his newfound abilities to help the government establish a base of operations in a magical world referred to as the “Source.”




    Cole does a great job of developing this world and understanding what the sudden development of magical powers might mean to the military-industrial complex, and the characters around Britton are dynamic and engaging, with their own motivations and depths. Unfortunately, the story is built around Britton, and he proves problematic, spending the entire book questioning whether he wants to fight on the side of the government or go on the run and almost certainly be killed.




    When he’s first brought to the military base, he hates everything about it. Then he changes his mind. Then his commanding officer is mean to him and he hates the government again. Then he goes on a mission and loves it. Then he changes his mind again. Then he hates it again. It’s every bit as annoying as it sounds, and as I read I found myself wondering how Britton theoretically thrived in the military before he developed magical powers. He doesn’t like taking orders, he wants to be able to choose his own missions, he grows petulant when things at the base don’t run the way he believes they should — these don’t seem like attributes that would work in any form of military life.




    While Britton’s defense of the goblin contractors working on the military site works in terms of putting the reader on his side, most of Britton’s complaining comes across simply as that — whining.




    Nonetheless, it’s a fascinating world. I had trouble with some of the military terminology in the book’s opening pages — we open in the midst of a military op, and it feels like we’re thrown in the deep end early. Fortunately, it felt as though this got easier to understand as the book progressed. It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized there’s a glossary of military terms at the back — this would have been more helpful at the front of the book, but I certainly understand that’s not Cole’s fault.




    In all, I enjoyed the book. Cole has demonstrated the ability to write engaging characters, he just didn’t succeed with Britton. I’m looking forward to the second book in hopes that Cole fixes his “Britton problem” because the rest of the book is really quite good.

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  • Posted March 10, 2013

    very interesting but

    I liked the theory, but didn't like where the story ended - looked like the next book would be darker - I mean it ended well, but they only won the day not the war maybe. left me a little depressed, so I have not planned to BUY the sequel although I had seen it first and was interested. Would check it out at the library though.

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    I was so excited to read this book, I made sure to have plenty o

    I was so excited to read this book, I made sure to have plenty of coffee on hand so I could read late into the night. I had trouble reading through the first couple dozen pages, as I tried to get into the story and familiarize myself with who was who. Once I got past that however, the story picked up a nice pace and I was able to discern one character from another.

    The world created by Mr. Cole held my attention throughout the book. I did feel some parts were missing or not explained enough, but I hope that in future books those questions are answered. I think some description was traded for action, and the story was definitely full of action.

    Despite how much I did love the premise of the story and will read future books, I have to say that the main character, Oscar Britton, annoyed me to no end. At first, it was understandable, even relatable as Oscar first discovered his magical abilities and began his new training that he didn’t know where he fit. Was he ” army” or “rebel?” Could he live with his new life or not? But after a while, it just became annoying. I wanted him to make up his mind! And in the end, even though he took some sort of action, I don’t think he ever really decided to do it, it was just how he reacted to the circumstances. So, even at the last scene, I wasn’t sure where Oscar stood in the grand scheme of things on a personal level, although it was obvious where he stood based on the circumstances he was in (physically speaking).

    The ending was slightly disappointing as after all the reading through training and missions up to that point, it was wrapped up in a few pages. Don’t get me wrong, it was action packed and tense – I was on the “edge of my seat” as it were, but then all of a sudden it was over. I scrolled back a few pages to make sure I didn’t miss something as I was certain I had. I understand this might be the first in a series. It wasn’t a bad ending, just abrupt.

    The fight scenes were really where this book shined. The amount of detail made me see each strike, each block, each magical projection. I was impressed with how the scenes were handled, knowing each character’s movement without ever taking me out of the scene with too many adjectives or body parts to keep track of.

    CONTROL POINT was a fun way to pass my evening hours and I don’t regret picking it up for a read. I enjoyed it despite the hiccups I mentioned above. I’d look forward to more from Mr. Cole in the future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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