Series Review: Shadow Ops by Myke Cole

19 Feb 2015

Series review.

These books are categorized as Military Fantasy and the blurbs mention magic, goblins and sorcerers. Many will move on, wrongly dismissing them for these reasons.

Most fantasy books follow a formula: one created by Tolkien and perfected by Robert Jordan. That of a prophesied hero, struggling through adversity, and eventually beating the unbeatable foe. Rather than follow this formula, these books deal with the question: “How would the world react if magic were discovered today?”

How would society react? How would such people be viewed by religion, cults? Wouldn’t these traits be used to further ones career, get ahead in business, commit crimes, address real and imagined slights?

What would governments do? Wouldn’t they immediately want to control and regulate magic? Wouldn’t people with such traits be used as weapons or be put down as threats if they didn’t cooperate?

The 3 books in this series manage to ask and answer these questions. Each book is (mostly) from the perspective of a different individual. Each individual perceives or chooses to react in his own way to similar events in their lives. And each one later faces the consequences of those actions.

Each book is also essentially a story about discovery. One individual discovers how far he would go to right a wrong done to him. Another discovers what bravery and leadership really are and the third learns a hard lesson: that what he believed in all his life is a lie.

The author tells these stories in the backdrop of humans discovering a world in an alternate reality: a prime candidate for both occupation and exploitation. And the way the indigenous population responds and is treated.

The author, a veteran himself, does a very good job of showing us what it is like to be an officer and have to deal with mind numbing beurocracy, hierarchy, rank and war. The battle scenes in the series are told from a soldier’s, an officer’s and eventually a general’s perspective.

My favorite book in the series was the second one which I thought would be as good even if you took away the fantasy element.

Overall: 7/10