Science fiction and fantasy
by Myke Cole
However, after a traumatic job Oscar finds he is one of the gifted, and his powers manifest in a prohibited school of magic. He has to choose between running away or surrendering to the authorities. But since he believes his gift alone is an instant death sentence it's not much of a choice.
Oscar is a hard man who knows his way around an arsenal, but he also has a strong sense of right and wrong. So although he's afraid of the authorities he's also worried about the effect his uncontrolled powers could have on innocents. His conscience gives the SOC leverage over him that goes beyond the physical threats they use to control him. But the more he learns about the magical awakening, the less sure he is about who is fighting the good fight. He isn't alone in his predicament: there are others with similar powers, and they're often radically split by the way they respond to attempts to make them fall in line. This story is all about control: both self-control and society's efforts to direct those it fears or finds valuable. It asks whether there's ever a point where you can take a person and turn them into a tool or a weapon with no free will of their own.
I don't know how significant it is that the main character is black, but the novel certainly put me in mind of the history of slavery. There is a newly discovered race of diminutive goblins who are divided between those who co-operate with the army and those who are at war with humans. But whichever side they take they are treated like dirt merely because of the way they look.
For Oscar the choice is whether he can do the most good by defying the army or co-operating with it, in spite of its faults. He wavers over this, but when he commits to a decision later on in the book I wasn't entirely convinced by his change of heart. It didn't seem like the reasons were strong enough to persuade such a thoughtful character to act that way. However that's a minor niggle in a book this interesting. The supernatural world is full of strange creatures, and Myke Cole has considered the implications of giving people certain types of magic to come up with some peculiar, horrific, and shocking images. Control Point crackles with magic and gunfire. It's a compelling read.
7th January 2013
If you like this, try:Along The Watchtower by David Litwack
An injured soldier fights to recover his future, whilst a prince must pass a number of tests to preserve his realm in this portal fantasy.
Dark Secrets by Shona Husk
Haidyn is a whore, scorned by society. However his clients are unaware that all he ever sells them is an illusion.
Juggernaut by Adam Baker
A group of mercenaries hunt for gold in a poisoned desert, but something else is waiting for them.
Review © Ros Jackson
Source: review copy
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