Title: Shadow Ops: Breach Zone
Author: Myke Cole
Publisher: Ace (now Penguin Random House)
Publisher’s Blurb: In the fight for Latent equality, Oscar Britton is positioned to lead a rebellion in exile, but a powerful rival beats him to the punch: Scylla, a walking weapon who will stop at nothing to end the human-sanctioned apartheid against her kind.
When Scylla’s inhuman forces invade New York City, the Supernatural Operations Corps are the only soldiers equipped to prevent a massacre. In order to redeem himself with the military, Harlequin will be forced to face off with this havoc-wreaking woman from his past, warped by her power into something evil…
Shadow Ops: Breach Zone is book 3/3 in the Shadow Ops series
This series is a mess. At first I thought it was because Mil SF isn’t my thing. But then I like John Scalzi’s writing just fine.
Because I enjoyed Cole’s Sacred Throne trilogy so much (third one due in October, 2019) I had hopes for Shadow Ops. What I will say, emphatically, is Cole has grown a great deal as a writer. Heloise is the hero we’ve all been waiting for.
To recap, Control Point saw Oscar Britton make some of the most bone-headed, selfish decisions ever in the history of everything. It’s in this book that Scylla is unleashed on the world. We know in no uncertain terms, she is the most dangerous and evil creature in this world, and Britton has freed her for his own selfish reason.
Book 2, Fortress Frontier, introduces us to Alan Bookbinder, a Pentagon paper-pusher who Manifests a power no one else has and is sent to the Forward Operating Base in the Source until everything goes to hell and he ends up the commanding officer. Oscar Britton is a bit player.
And now we come to Book 3, Breach Zone. It’s all come together, in one big horrifying pornographic death frenzy in Manhattan. Harlequin, a secondary character in the previous books who’s always played it by the rules, because rules are what separate the good guys from the bad, is put in charge of the defense.
Now Brigadier General Bookbinder is stuck on a US Coast Guard cutter, whose lunch is getting eaten by water goblins and leviathans, has to find his way to Harlequin’s base of operations to use Bookbinder’s unique magical power.
Oscar Britton doesn’t show up until very late in the book, still being let off the heinous thing he did in book 1. The epitome of the misunderstood hero. The monster he unleashed is leading an army of monsters to demolish Manhattan. Scylla wants to start the new world order.
And just to make sure we understand why this is personal for Harlequin, intermittent flashbacks from six years before set the scene. The romantic scene, of course.
All the complicated politics weight in. Street gangs, loyal to no one scoff when asked to join the good fight. Politicians and career officers want to use force against everything. And, in typical fashion, only Harlequin and those on the front lines actually understand why fire power won’t work, only magic will.
There’s barely any mention of the Indian part of the Source, and Bookbinder’s experiences trying to save the US FOB. Murica is truly on its own.
Then, bugles blaring, Oscar Britton arrives, makes a pretty little speech and everyone shows up to fight and save the day. Peace, justice and the American way.
Or something …
Sacred Thrones is light years better from this. I’ll call this a cautionary tale about back catalogues. Cole’s worth reading, but this series isn’t.