“Cut from Stone” by Brendan O’Meara

The start of a Fantasy Military Action series, this book is mainly concerned with the training of a Special Ops team and their first live engagement. It presents a sanitized version of the usual training-up-to-fight plotline. Competition is minimized, bullying and hazing are not present. These are people focused on becoming the best of the best. In general, this is a less violent version of the genre, with plenty of talk about blood and gore, but very little actually shown in detail.

The big attraction of this book is the characters. In this area, it runs true to form. The secondary characters are mildly stereotyped but lovingly crafted. The main character is more complex and sympathetic. In fact, the whole story pretty much happens inside his head, and it is entertaining to watch as both he and the reader start to realize his potential.

The choice of setting is also attractive to the reader. It is a near-future fantasy world where the Western and Eastern Hemispheres have been completely separated for forty years, with no communication between the two. Now it seems the enemy is massing to attack, and our heroes are immersed in the population of a target city, so the stakes are high, and with the present situation in Eastern Europe, civilian exposure to war is on everyone’s minds.

Proof-reading is reasonable, if we are willing to allow getting “lie, lay, laid” mixed up. But there are numerous sentence structure errors, such as, “He held the map up for Clint to see who nodded and pulled off the highway,” and one three-day flashback for no reason.

Much of the story is ornamented by vivid visual stimulation, but sometimes the extraneous detail interrupts the action: a full page taken up buying a coffee and a pack of cigarettes, which seems to have nothing to do with the story.

In general this is a solid plotline with an excellent setting and believable (within the bounds of the genre) and sympathetic characters.

Recommended for younger fans of Military Action Fantasy.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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