Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone who had military experience wrote urban fantasy? The result is Control Point, a quite brilliant blend of other-worldly fantasy and gritty combat.
The novel follows the US Army Lieutenant Oscar Britton who finds himself working alongside SOC (Supernatural Operations Corps) tracking down and eliminating "selfers", people who have manifested supernatural powers; something that is happening increasingly all over the world. Then Oscar finds that he too has a rare, magical power of his own and all bets are off.
Hunted in the same way he hunted others he finds himself driven to a shadowy world that challenges his perceptions and shows him that magic has changed the gameplan completely.
There have been many attempts to create a mix of guns and magic, most of the time they fail completely (with a few notable exceptions) and I can't remember the last time this mash-up worked but Control Point really is without a doubt an overwhelming success. There is a real sense of the gritty soldier reality to the prose, from the tight and believable descriptive prose to the action packed, wonderfully choreographed fight scenes that populate the book in just the right places. This extends to the detailed and believable military descriptions themselves, from the battles to the training - complete with obligatory OTT drill sergeant a'la Full Metal Jacket, the sense of immersion is simply incredible.
On the other side we've got the fantasy elements and I'm glad to say that they fit perfectly within this military background. The magic system is well developed and follows this modern approach where powers are randomly gifted to individuals at will, with some types of power being much rarer than others, such as Oscar's "Portomancy" which allows him to open a portal to another place.
I did find the "indigenous" life forms didn't quite match up and for me were the only weak point but I must admit this being a minor niggle indeed and it has to be said that they are very well described. The story itself is dynamic, fast and with enough action to keep even those with the attention span of a goldfish interested. There isn't much I can say against the book at all. Like many the ending could seem a little abrupt to some but it fit's perfectly within this military theme, it's just one of those books that gets just about everything right.
If you like urban fantasy or even the occasional military novel, you will love Control Point.
Written on Wednesday 19th September 2012 by Antony.
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