Control Point by Myke Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I come out of reading this horribly divided. On the one hand, I love the "give the audience what it wants" mentality, lots of explosions, driven and heroic characters, caricatured villains, and MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC in a MIL-SF backdrop.
I wanted to just come out of this going: Well, that was a bunch of mindless hokey fun, a total popcorn read where I can turn off my mind and just WATCH THE DAMN ACTION MOVIE. Book. Whatever.
Story-wise, it's all boilerplate and totally classic, the hero falls in with the supposedly good crowd, questions everything, falls out. In the meantime, it's all explosions and portals and mini-epic fights and magic flying everywhere with death delivered to the page with a bright and shiny bow.
Nice, right? I thought so, too.
I can't just sit by and see a lot of casual racism without commenting on it. I feel rather disgruntled. Sure, stereotypes abound in this book. It's what lets us dive right in without any learning curve, but some stereotypes can bite you in the ass. Like Native Americans. It's one thing to have them be the stereotypical resistance, but they're also the bad guys who let the "dangerous magics" run wild. We get one token Indian working for the good guys, too, but he's harmless because they've got him drugged to the gills. And then on top of that, if this wasn't bad enough, we've got the goblins. Who is a stand-in for the Indians. Including the token goblin working for the good guys.
With mirrored tropes like this, we're practically forced to assume a whole slew of things as if it is natural and obvious when in reality it's just a bunch of racism in disguise. Those damn goblins sure get drunk easy (on sugar). And don't think this is just me making this up. There are dozens of similar examples. It only LATER becomes clear that the author is *really* just talking about colonialism and it's *really* all about the Gulf Wars, etc., and maybe it is that, TOO, but the rest marred my enjoyment. Stereotypes like questioning heroes and the big bad military industry and politicians are all good fun, to a point, but others are a real landmine.
It's all under the surface for the most part except for a jerk who gets blatant about it, and our MC is always very PC, but I spent a good deal of the novel wondering if this subtext was going to be a major STORY issue because otherwise, I was going to have to quit this series.
Final estimation? Well, we're in with the indigenous at the end, so perhaps it gets better, but I need to see a lot more effort.
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