25
November

Librarians Rock

3 Comments

No book­worm makes it through the ges­ta­tional period without the help of a librarian. They help us spin our cocoon, watch over us while we pupate, and shep­herd us out as a newly formed nerd butterfly.

I overdid the metaphor, huh?

Anyway. The point is this: Librar­ians rock, and it should come as no sur­prise that writers love them. So I was par­tic­u­larly jazzed when a fan who is cur­rently pur­suing her Mas­ters in Library Sci­ence chose CONTROL POINT as the topic for her “Review the Reviews” assign­ment. It’s a neat window into what librar­ians look for when they make buying deci­sions for their libraries.

I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to receive a lot of fan­tastic fan cre­ations since I began writing, but this is the first time my fic­tion has influ­enced someone’s aca­d­emic course. It’s incred­ibly grat­i­fying, and I’m psy­ched to share it with you. Read on:

Review the Reviews: Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point by Myke Cole

Iden­tify an Item

The item iden­ti­fied for this assign­ment is the urban fan­tasy novel Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point by Myke Cole. The novel was released by Ace on Jan­uary 31, 2012, as a mass market paper­back and may be found on Amazon​.com at http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Ops-Control-Myke-Cole/dp/1937007243/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349286456&sr=8–1&keywords=control+point+by+myke+cole. The novel is also avail­able as an ebook for the Kindle device. During the research for this assign­ment, sev­eral reviews of the novel were dis­cov­ered, three of which shall be ana­lyzed in the sec­tions below.

Describe Review Access

Reviews for Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point were dis­cov­ered first through Amazon​.com and sub­se­quently through the novel’s author’s web­site. Ini­tially, Amazon​.com pro­vided quotes from reviews in Library Journal and Pub­lishers Weekly (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point : Myke Cole,” 2012). Fur­ther, the Amazon​.com web­page for the novel included a link to Myke Cole’s per­sonal web­site (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point : Myke Cole,” 2012). Cole’s web­site pro­vided an exten­sive list of links to fifty reviews for Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point (Cole, 2012). These links led directly to the reviews, most of which seemed to be from science-fiction and fan­tasy blogs and web­sites, but also included the links to reviews in Library Journal and Pub­lishers Weekly (Cole, 2012). The direct links to the reviews proved con­ve­nient for the assignment.

Ana­lyze the Reviews

The three reviews of Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point chosen for the assign­ment are from Library Journal, Pub­lishers Weekly, and SFSignal​.com. Through con­sul­ta­tion of Gregory’s Col­lec­tion Devel­op­ment and Man­age­ment for 21st Cen­tury Library Col­lec­tions: An Intro­duc­tion, six selec­tion cri­teria were iden­ti­fied as required for an ideal review:

  • Con­tent – In the case of a novel, a brief syn­opsis of the plot, main char­acter, and the reviewer’s overall impres­sion of the work.
  • Cur­rency – Inclu­sion of infor­ma­tion per­taining to the item being, as Gre­gory states “Pub­lished recently,” or having “Avail­ability for pur­chase” (Gre­gory, 2011, p. 62), to ensure selec­tion of the item.
  • Author rep­u­ta­tion – Ref­er­ence to the author’s author­i­ta­tive treat­ment of the sub­jects in the novel or rep­u­ta­tion within the genre.
  • Cost and phys­ical attrib­utes – Infor­ma­tion about the cost of the item and a phys­ical descrip­tion, i.e. hard­cover or paper­back book.
  • Lan­guage and reading level – The lan­guage or lan­guages in which the item is pub­lished and the reading level of the text.
  • Pub­licity – Whether the review is a part of “Public atten­tion, including crit­ical reviews, web hits, movies, and other pos­i­tive pub­licity for the title,” (Gre­gory, 2011, p. 61). Allu­sion to the pub­licity received by the item pro­vides insight as to how a library’s cus­tomers may receive the item.

The two most impor­tant cri­teria for a review, and should com­prise the majority of the review’s text, are the con­tent and pub­licity of the item being reviewed. The other cri­teria may be dis­cov­ered through other sources such as Amazon​.com, but inclu­sion of cur­rency, author rep­u­ta­tion, cost and phys­ical attrib­utes, and lan­guage and reading level pro­vides a con­ve­nience that may sway a selector to use the review source in the future. In the sub­sec­tions below, the three reviews will be ana­lyzed according to each criterion.

Con­tent

The three reviews ana­lyzed all con­tain a brief syn­opsis of the plot and a descrip­tion of the main char­acter of Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point, but they differ in the amount of exam­i­na­tion and overall impres­sions of the novel. The reviews from Library Journal and Pub­lishers Weekly are short, totaling only 137 and 168 words respec­tively, but a majority of their texts are devoted to a syn­opsis of the plot and intro­duc­tion to the novel’s main char­acter (Cas­sada, 2012) (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011).  The Pub­lishers Weekly review gives this state­ment to pro­vide some insight into the con­tent of Cole’s novel: “Cole’s apparent dis­ap­proval of state-sanctioned bru­tality, slavery, and tor­ture even in the face of pos­sible exis­ten­tial threats is a wel­come nov­elty in the era of 24,” (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). The review from Library Journal fails to com­ment on the merit of the novel at all. In con­trast, the review from SFSignal​.com begins with a syn­opsis of the novel’s plot and main char­acter, but then fol­lows with a siz­able com­men­tary on the treat­ment of the themes in the novel, drawing a con­nec­tion between the mil­i­tary actions within the novel and the cur­rent War on Terror (Andrew, 2012). The review fur­ther touches upon the issue of civilian con­trac­tors working for the Depart­ment of Defense in war zones (Andrew, 2012). The overall impres­sion of the novel is pre­sented that while the novel is a strong debut for the author, “the book does have its rough patches,” mainly in the begin­ning and “stiff dia­logue” at times (Andrew, 2012). The SFSignal​.com review pro­vides much more insight into the con­tent than the Library Journal review or the Pub­lishers Weekly review.

Cur­rency

Cur­rency is addressed in two of the reviews. First, the Pub­lishers Weekly review appeared within a month of the offi­cial release date of Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point, (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). Sim­i­larly, the Library Journal review lists the release date of the novel as Feb­ruary 2012 (Cas­sada, 2012). No men­tion is given in the review from SFSignal​.com of a pub­li­ca­tion date.

Author Rep­u­ta­tion

Cole’s rep­u­ta­tion and author­i­ta­tive­ness are touched upon in all three of the reviews. The Library Journal review states that Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point is “a debut by a former mil­i­tary officer,” (Cas­sada, 2012) showing that the novel is Cole’s first pub­lished, but lends cred­i­bility to his treat­ment of mil­i­tary life in the novel. Sim­i­larly, the review from SFSignal​.com men­tions that Cole draws upon his mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence to write an urban fan­tasy involving the U.S. mil­i­tary (Andrew, 2012). The review from Pub­lishers Weekly does not allude to Cole’s mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence, but does give credit to Cole as a writer: “Though clearly a debut, the novel shows promise” (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). In all, the three reviews reflect pos­i­tively on the author’s reputation.

Cost and Phys­ical Attributes

The cost and phys­ical attrib­utes of Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point are addressed in the reviews from Library Journal and Pub­lishers Weekly, but are not men­tioned in the review from SFSignal​.com. Both reviews from Library Journal and Pub­lishers Weekly begin with a listing of the price and ISBN of the novel (Cas­sada, 2012) (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). The Pub­lishers Weekly review also states that the novel is a “mass market paper­back” (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). Although the Library Journal review does not explic­itly state that the novel is a paper­back, the review is found in the serial under the heading “Sci­ence Fiction/Fantasy Mass Market Paper­backs of Note,” clearly indi­cating the phys­ical state of the novel (Cas­sada, 2012).

Lan­guage and Reading Level

Lan­guage and reading level of the novel proved to be the cri­te­rion in which all three reviews lacked. Again, the review from SFSignal​.com failed to include any infor­ma­tion per­taining to the lan­guage or reading level of Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point.            The review from Pub­lishers Weekly also gives no men­tion of the lan­guage, although the review is found under the “Fic­tion” sec­tion of the serial, indi­cating that the novel is cat­e­go­rized as Adult Fic­tion (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). Sim­i­larly, the review from Library Journal does not give any infor­ma­tion on the lan­guage, but the review is found under the “Genre Fic­tion” sec­tion of the serial, spec­i­fying that the novel would be Adult Fic­tion (Cas­sada, 2012).

Pub­licity

Lastly, the three reviews are part of the pos­i­tive pub­licity given to Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point, and, the fact that this is a debut novel which has received atten­tion from both Pub­lishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as sev­eral fan­tasy and sci­ence fic­tion web­sites, is admirable. The review from Library Journal con­cludes that the novel “will attract readers who like their urban fan­tasies with more of a mil­i­tary edge” (Cas­sada, 2012), pro­viding a spe­cific read­er­ship for selec­tors to keep in mind. The review from Pub­lishers Weekly is mostly con­cerned with sum­ma­rizing the plot and a descrip­tion of the main char­acter, but does include the state­ment that “the novel shows promise” (“Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point,” 2011). The review from SFSignal​.com, being the most detailed of the three reviews, gives the highest praise for the novel and there­fore fur­thers the pos­i­tive pub­licity. Within the SFSignal​.com review, the novel is given four out of five stars in the website’s rating system (Andrew, 2012).

 

Meeting the Selector’s Needs and the Best Review

The three reviews from Pub­lishers Weekly, Library Journal, and SFSignal​.com each sat­isfy a spe­cific need for a selector in a public library set­ting. The Pub­lishers Weekly and Library Journal reviews are short, with little dis­cus­sion of the lit­erary merit of Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point. How­ever, these serials are widely read, and serve to make selec­tors aware of Cole’s debut novel. Once a selector is made aware of the novel, he or she may turn to the genre-specific web­sites and blogs to find more exten­sive reviews, such as the review from SFSignal​.com. Two major draw­backs of  the reviewed reviews are a lack of infor­ma­tion about lan­guages in which the novel is avail­able and a lack of a state­ment as to whether the novel would be appro­priate for the Young Adult audi­ence. A selector for a public library may be inter­ested in a Spanish or other lan­guage trans­la­tion of the novel for the library’s cus­tomers. Also, the pop­u­larity of fan­tasy and sci­ence fic­tion with young adults would prompt a selector to deter­mine if a copy of the novel would be appro­priate in the Young Adult sec­tion as well as the Adult sec­tion of the col­lec­tion. The review from SFSignal​.com gave the greatest insight into the novel and its themes, and rated the novel. This review was by far the most sat­is­fying of the three reviews, pro­viding a selector with a glimpse into Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point without the selector having to read the novel. Per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant state­ment from the SFSignal​.com review that would sway a selector to select the novel is the fol­lowing: “Cole’s penned a book that essen­tially asks: what hap­pens when you take the U.S. Army and drop them into a fan­tasy world where the rules are all dif­ferent? Some­thing that looks star­tlingly like the wars over­seas in Afghanistan: pro­tracted, con­fusing, and bloody” (Andrew, 2012). This state­ment dis­tin­guishes the novel above other pos­sible selec­tions, and indeed dis­tin­guishes the review as a thoughtful analysis of Cole’s work.

 

 

 

Ref­er­ences

Andrew. (2012). Review: Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point by Myke Cole. SF Signal.  Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://​www​.sfsignal​.com/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​s​/​2​0​1​2​/​0​1​/​r​e​v​i​e​w​-​s​h​a​d​o​w​-​o​p​s​-​c​o​n​t​r​o​l​-​p​o​i​n​t​-​b​y​-​m​y​k​e​-​c​o​le/

Cas­sada, J. (2012). Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point. [Book Review]. Library Journal, 137(1), 80–80. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://​reviews​.libraryjournal​.com/​2​0​1​2​/​0​1​/​b​o​o​k​s​/​g​e​n​r​e​-​f​i​c​t​i​o​n​/​s​f​-​f​a​n​t​a​s​y​/​s​c​i​e​n​c​e​-​f​i​c​t​i​o​n​f​a​n​t​a​s​y​-​m​a​s​s​-​m​a​r​k​e​t​-​p​a​p​e​r​b​a​c​k​s​-​o​f​-​n​o​t​e​-​j​a​n​u​a​r​y​-​2​0​1​2​/#_

Cole, M. (2012). Public Affairs (Press Kit) | Myke Cole.  Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://​mykecole​.com/​p​u​b​l​i​c​-​a​f​f​a​i​r​s​-​p​r​e​s​s​-​kit

Gre­gory, V. L. (2011). Col­lec­tion Devel­op­ment and Man­age­ment for 21st Cen­tury Library Col­lec­tions: An Intro­duc­tion. New York: Neal-Schuman.

Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point. (2011). [Book Review]. Pub­lishers Weekly, 258(49), 62–62. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://www.publishersweekly.com/978–1-937007–24-9

Shadow Ops: Con­trol Point : Myke Cole. (2012).   Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Ops-Control-Myke-Cole/dp/1937007243/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349286456&sr=8–1&keywords=control+point+by+myke+cole

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexvdl Alex Von Der Linden

    After the third sen­tence I had to go to Barnes and Noble to make sure that they also sold an eVersion

  • http://twitter.com/PaperlessRead Ken

    That’s pretty cool.

    On a dif­ferent note, I just came back from a trip to Aus­tralia and found the UK ver­sion of Con­trol Point being sold at Sydney airport!

    • MykeCole

      Out­standing! That’s great to hear.