Our long national nightmare is over. Myke Cole’s next book—Javelin Rain—is out today. A review is forthcoming. In the meantime, here is a review of the first book in the series, Gemini Cell.
Gemini Cell is the fourth book from bright young star Myke Cole, but it is neither a part of nor a sequel to his Shadow Ops series (itself a discrete trilogy) no matter what the Amazon title says. Unfortunately, Cole takes part in the current trend for prequels. Why this obsession with such an invariably disappointing sub-genre? Faulkner was right about the past never being dead, or even past, but that means the past informs the present, not that we need to dwell on it post fact (George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series does as good a job as I’ve ever seen at telling a story encumbered at all turns by a created history).
Gemini Cell takes place shortly after the Reawakening. Unlike in Shadow Ops, there is little to no public awareness. It’s a tight story focusing on Jim, a BAMF and a Navy SEAL (redundant, I know) and his wife, Sarah. Jim gets pulled into the world of magic when EARLY BOOK SPOILER he is killed on a mission and reanimated with a very angry jinn living inside of him. He spends the rest of the book struggling with the jinn, struggling with the brass, and struggling to get back to his wife.
Cole was proud of the romance he included in Breach Zone, but it’s in Gemini Cell that he really nails it. He returns to the theme of tension between obligation to your country and obligation to everything else (and with a less annoying protagonist than in Control Point). Sarah is the best female protagonist he’s written. He remains really, really good at writing action scenes, although Gemini Cell is unfortunately light in that respect.
Cole starts from behind because he’s writing a prequel. How can he show us more than in books set later? He doesn’t. It’s a tightly contained story that ends before we learn much more about either his magic system or the genesis of the Supernatural Operations Corps. It shows off Cole’s rapidly growing skill as an author but left me somewhat dissatisfied nonetheless.
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of Gemini Cell through NetGalley.