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Army Hills 90210
on 6 June 2013
In my mind's eye I picture the army as a place that takes people and moulds them into soldiers. People become trained to the level were instinct kicks in at times of crisis and orders are followed without question. As an ex-soldier himself I imagine that author Myke Cole would know far better than me and in his military science fiction novel `Control Point' he paints the life of solider much different than I imagined. True this is a world where people are waking up with magical powers and being coerced into joining the force, but are those trained to defend us really as introverted and questioning as this bunch?
Lieutenant Oscar Britton is the main character in `Control Point', a lifelong military man he is trained to take out illegal magical users, only to become one himself. The book starts off running with some great action set pieces combining realistic warfare with added magical powers such as wind, fire and earth. Once the book settles down, problems begin to appear. Oscar is military through and through, so why is he always questioning authority? I always believed that you were promoted to Lieutenant by buying into the system, not constantly bucking it. Things begin poorly as Oscar goes on a mini rampage, although he has spent years fighting others who have done this - he is well aware of the consequences. The next part of the book has him being trained to use his powers, but he is constantly resisting. I can't imagine a man so ingrained in army life would act like this.
The problems of army life versus civilian attitudes continue throughout the book, vast chunks of the training segments read more like `Beverly Hills 90210' than army camp. It is a real shame that the relationships appear so teen angsty as the idea of a world burgeoning with magic is a great one. Cole is able to write some fantastic fight scenes, the more restricted and intense the better. It is just the relationship soap opera that links these segments together than rings false and drags the book into the average.