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The Shadow Ops series is a rare literary breed, the product of an author who has had so many varied life experiences that this would never have been possible otherwise. The successor to Control Point and Fortress Frontier, Breach Zone is the final culmination in this arc of the Shadow Ops universe. Things have been building for the last two books, coming to this final confrontation where lines are so blurred that everyone makes unimaginable choices. Author Myke Cole hits a home-run so hard, he’s in a league of his own.
The boundaries of human psychology are explored in Breach Zone, looking into what motivates humans and other worldly creatures. Selfers, like the name describes, are out for themselves but even they can no longer afford to be small-minded as the fate of an entire society is at stake. Military doctrine is hard pressed to address the situations during the course of events that are about to be inflicted upon New York City.
There have been many other fictional battles to take place in New York City; some of them larger than life while others were down to the very last detail. Myke Cole combines his own knowledge as a New Yorker to map out the coming fight to end all fights. Rarely seen are New York’s many ports and harbors as well as other rare locations. All described in great detail to lead readers across the vast expanse of this densely populated city – and it is an absolute treat.
The series magic element that readers have come to know and love is as fantastic as ever, featuring ability after ability that has turned ordinary people into superheroes and super villains. Many things are possible in the world of Shadow Ops; none more fascinating than those of Fortress Frontier protagonist Alan Bookbinder. His powers are one of three that affect the final outcome of the battle.
Another key player is confused anti-hero-turned-world-leader Oscar Britton. Book one of the Shadow Ops series saw him haphazardly careening through event after event, changing the course of human history from the very beginning. His is an equally rare power to Bookbinders, factoring into the end of the series with epic results.
Lastly is the man readers know as Harlequin or Jan Thorsson, whose larger-than-life journey is the beginning and ending of this entire supernatural epic. From the start, Thorsson has had a front row seat to the events in the Shadow Ops universe. He saw it all and yet no one knew what he was really about, until now. This story doesn’t just take place in Thorssons’ world, this is Thorsson’s world and we’re just along for the ride.
Cool last names aside; this is Harlequin’s story with flashbacks into his past and the consequences that have come as a result of who he is or rather, isn’t. The arc’s epicenter looks into what it means to love someone who makes choices you consider dark and evil. Harlequin has loved deeply but he remembers her as Grace while we know her as Scylla. Their romance changes the course of the Shadow Ops Universe , lending the book a weight that goes beyond politics and into the center of human emotion.
Grace’s particular brand of psychotic cool is born out of a deep connection to her emotions. Her mentality has always been to go with the emotion that she feels, even if those emotions get people killed. She yields to no one and is unapologetic in her beliefs. Throughout the entire series, she has been and remains one of its most vivid characters with a unique voice of her own. There’s no mistaking this girl for lackluster at all; she is a stand-out, thriving on the canvas of magic that the author has created. Seeing her heart darken, transforming into the villain of the series is one of Myke Cole’s shining moments.
How the story finally knits itself together in the end brings both a sense of relief and wonder. These people have been through so much, but readers will also want to know what is next. How will this universe expand, who are the next movers and shakers, the titans of the Shadow Ops Universe. Make no mistake, there will be more from this amazing writer.
Rating: 5/5 - Readers already know that the characters are nothing close to standard issue in this excellent series. In Breach Zone they leap off the page with astonishing craftsmanship and help bring the story elements together. A surefire winner for those stout of heart and keen of mind.