Friday, August 10, 2018

Weekend #Review - The Point by John Dixon #SyFy #Military

Series: Unknown
Format: E-Galley, 320 pages
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction / Military

What if you had a power you had to hide from everyone—until now? In this bold sci-fi action thriller, a secret training program at West Point is turning misfits into a new generation of heroes.
Scarlett Winter has always been an outsider, and not only because she’s a hardcore daredevil and born troublemaker—she has been hiding superhuman powers she doesn’t yet understand. Now she’s been recruited by a secret West Point unit for cadets with extraordinary abilities. Scarlett and her fellow students are learning to hone their skills, from telekinetic combat to running recon missions through strangers’ dreamscapes. 
At The Point, Scarlett discovers that she may be the most powerful cadet of all. With the power to control pure energy, she’s a human nuclear bomb—and she’s not sure she can control her powers much longer. Even in this army of outsiders, Scarlett feels like a misfit all over again, but when a threat arises from the school’s dark past that endangers her fellow students at The Point, duty calls and Scarlett must make a choice between being herself and becoming something even greater: a hero.

Story Locale: West Point Academy, New York, near future

John Dixon's The Point is a story that could easily be called X-Men at the US Military Academy. Instead of calling those with strange powers mutants, let's instead call them post-humans. The protagonist of the story is 18-year old Scarlett Winter a rebel by nature who chaffs against responsibility. Winter's father is a retired Master Sergeant in the Army, while her older brother is a Sergeant in the Marines.
After skipping out on her graduation party for a drunken reverie and some fun, Scarlet later tries to attend a party of her former best friend which doesn't go as planned. Scarlet stumbles onto the scene of 3 people planting a bomb and instead of running for her life, she jumps on the bomb which goes off. Wouldn't be a story if Scarlett died this quickly, would it? Nope. Scarlett actually takes all the kinetic energy inside of her and saves who knows how many lives.
None of them will ever know how close they came to dying. Why? Because Scarlett is soon visited by two men; Colonel Oscar Rhodes, and Captain Fuller who gives her an option. Either she can spends time in prison, or she can attend West Point for 4 years, with an additional 4 years of active duty. The catch is that this isn't the West Point Military Academy. This is The Point where those who are called Post Humans are trained, tested, and yes, experimented on to see what category they fall in. 
For Scarlett, she is something else that hasn't been seen. She is considered Level III which means that she is able to absorb an ungodly amount of energy and release it in ways that could make her a weapon. Others fall into cat I or II which could mean anything from telekinesis, to super speed, super strength, and the ability to walk into a person's dreamscapes. When a dangerous threat invades the school and almost everyone falls prey to the villains magnetism, Scarlett stands alone against a variety of hard core villains, including those from the school.
I have to say that Scarlett isn't a character who I am going to ever take a backward step and say, well isn't that special. She's not a dumb person. She's smart, she's good at every sport she's ever tried, but she is easily bored and ends up quitting. Except when the chips are down, and someone is planning to use her as a weapon against the school she has come to respect and admire. I think that this is a good story for other teens struggling with responsibilities and finding their way in the world. Scarlett learns a great deal about consequences from the beginning of the story, to the end. She also finds something that she hasn't before. Home where she can be who she wants to be. 

This book is apparently a standalone, however, I would love to see the author revisit as a sequel some day down the road. Dixon's other works include Phoenix Island, and Devil's Pocket

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