Kirsten Reviews: Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole
Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole
Shadow Ops #2
The Great Reawakening did not come quietly. Across the country and in every nation, people began to develop terrifying powers—summoning storms, raising the dead, and setting everything they touch ablaze. Overnight the rules changed…but not for everyone. Colonel Alan Bookbinder is an army bureaucrat whose worst war wound is a paper-cut. But after he develops magical powers, he is torn from everything he knows and thrown onto the front-lines. Drafted into the Supernatural Operations Corps in a new and dangerous world, Bookbinder finds himself in command of Forward Operating Base Frontier—cut off, surrounded by monsters, and on the brink of being overrun. Now, he must find the will to lead the people of FOB Frontier out of hell, even if the one hope of salvation lies in teaming up with the man whose own magical powers put the base in such grave danger in the first place—Oscar Britton, public enemy number one...
Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole is a strong follow up to the first book in a series that looks to blend military fantasy, and comic book-esque elements in a world that’s very much rooted in a reality like our own.
People are able to control the elements, wield magic, resurrect the dead, and even create doorways, or portals to other worlds. Unsurprisingly, the United States government's response to this is ‘we will be taking control’ because to them, “magic is the new nuke.” The even give it a name: “Latent.” Anybody who realizes that they have these abilities is required to fess up, otherwise they can be prosecuted as “Selfers.” It’s a bit like the idea of mutants in the X-Men comics, and works well, especially considering the implications. Even the pull quote on the book proclaims that the book is a combination of Black Hawk Down and X-Men, so it’s easy to see the similarities.
The second book finds readers with a different protagonist. Instead of sticking with the same character throughout a series, Cole has done something different, and jumps into the world of Colonel Alan Bookbinder, who is basically a bureaucrat. His biggest concerns are whether the right forms got filed, and if he has enough coffee in the morning. He isn’t a warrior, and feels out of place among soldiers who’ve seen combat. But all of that changes when Bookbinder finds out that he’s Latent. This means an end to a pretty cushy life, and he has to figure out how he’s going to adjust to his change in circumstances.
On the one hand, Bookbinder, whose name is very appropriate, of course - doesn’t know what to do in combat with any confidence, is fairly uncertain about how he fits into this new role, but on the other, he’s also somebody who had settled into himself, and it’s interesting to see how he adjusts.
This book does tie into the previous one, and there are some events that are revisited, but from a new perspective. The author’s increased confidence shows in Fortress Frontier, and the plotting is tight and well thought out. However; this is not a series with a lot of female characters, and there’s more focus on their appearance than any character development or involvement in the plot. While this book offers a lot in the way of world building and interesting abilities, it isn’t a book friendly to women, and the entire world seems to be built without them being equal members of society. With that being said, if the author is able to overcome this, the series will be the better for it.