Top positive review
Last book in a series that improved with every book.
Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2014
(x-posted from Goodreads)
This book is not released at the time of this review, I read an ARC that I got from the Worldbuilder's charity auction.
Breach Zone is the third book in Myke Cole's Shadow Ops trilogy, and the author's development in his craft is highly evident. In each book, the author shows a willingness to try new things in service to the narration, expanding the number of POV characters, widening the scope of the narrative, and now changing the narrative structure to include two separate interweaving stories. The prose is crisp, and moves the story along. Chapter endings are varied with a mix of natural story breaks and "cliff hangers" and worked well to keep my attention glued to the story, and getting me to turn the page. Characterization is well done, with motivations for main characters explored, but there are no massive info dumps or anything to get in the way of the story.
In Fortress Frontier, the previous book in the series, Myke Cole explored his universe's version of the Epic Journey. This book is about The Siege in the tradition of Thermopylae or the Alamo. And that thematic choice is used well to underscore themes that have been running throughout the series. This entire series deeply explores the dichotomy of "Right" vs. "the Law". In the previous book, Harlequin, the main POV character in this one, had to make a choice between the lives of 8 US Marines and an entire division of people. The ramifications of that decision are shown here in Breach Zone.
It is obvious that the author has served in the military, and that his experiences there have formed a large part of the philosophies espoused in this book. It is the rare service member that hasn't wrestled between following orders and doing what they perceive as right, though the stakes are generally not as high here. I believe that anyone can pick up this story and enjoy the action, adventure, and narrative, but those who have served will notice plenty of little easter eggs.
Breach Zone is a worthy successor to the first two novels, and provides a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy or comic books, and would also recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the military. Heck, I'd recommend it to just about anyone, and have gifted copies of the first book to friends, family members, and libraries.