Genre: Fantasy – WWII
Series: Dark Arts #1
Publisher: Tor Books (January 30, 2018)
Length: 464 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
The Midnight Front is the first installment in David Mack’s Dark Arts series, and without a doubt, the author has done an exceptional job coupling a cool concept with gritty, realistic World War 2 action. For those who find alternate history stories filled with magic their cup of tea, this is an adrenaline filled affair that is well worth their reading time.
In 1939, a young man named Cade Martin finds his whole life ripped from him when a sea monster kills his parents. Stranded at sea, only the timely rescue of a group of sorcerers led by the Scotsman Adair MacRae saves him from certain death. Quickly thereafter, young Cade learns that his rescuers are magicians working in the secret cabal called the Midnight Front, that they are foes of the Nazi magicians who killed Cade’s parents, and that he is a gifted magician as well, one who must join the ranks of the Midnight Front in order for the allies to triumph in the war.
Filled with a deep need for vengeance, Cade falls in with Adair and his fellows, breezing through his magical training due to his innate abilities, and gaining his own assignment in the war against the Nazis. His new path taking him down into the gritty, bloody and horrific events taking place across the globe during World War 2.
As an alternate history fan, the greatest strength of The Midnight Front was the outstanding world building, as David Mack does a superb job of realistically portraying World War 2 in all its brutality, highlighting the atrocities committed by all sides, and imparting the tragedies shown with the emotional weight they deserved. The magical elements of the tale seamlessly integrated into this true-to-life reality; the use of demons and the side effects of said use both amazingly interesting and splendidly portrayed.
The only real weakness of the story is quite honestly the main character himself, Cade Martin. This youth is quite obviously a “Chosen One” from the very beginning, one who’s identity is spoken of in hushed tones and who’s importance to the war is constantly heralded by those older and more experienced than himself. The fact that Cade never has great difficulty gaining his magical powers, breezes through his training, and instantly finds himself able to stand toe-to-toe with powerful sorcerers pushes the boundaries of believability beyond the breaking point at times, which did detract from my overall enjoyment of the tale.
Overall, The Midnight Front is an entertaining alternate history romp where the familiar events of World War 2 take on a far different appearance with the introduction of demon controlling sorcerers running around behind the scenes engaged in ultra secret, deadly magical battles which are shown having great affect on outcomes. And if this sounds tantalizing to you, then you need to pick up this novel and get ready to enjoy an action packed adventure in a familiar but far different war tale.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.