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The Midnight Front

(Dark Arts #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  519 ratings  ·  111 reviews
On the eve of World War Two, Nazi sorcerers come gunning for Cade but kill his family instead. His one path of vengeance is to become an apprentice of The Midnight Front—the Allies’ top-secret magickal warfare program—and become a sorcerer himself.

Unsure who will kill him first—his allies, his enemies, or the demons he has to use to wield magick—Cade fights his way through
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Tor Books
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Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

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
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The year is 1939, and aboard a ship bound for North America on the eve of World War Two, a young Oxford student named Cade Martin watches in horror as a sea monster drags his parents to their watery grave right before his eyes. Alone and stranded at sea, Cade is eventually rescued by a mysterious cabal of sorcerers led by a charming old Scotsman named Adair MacRae. With the Soviets on the Eastern Front and England on the W
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quite disappointed with this one. I was expecting a really cool UF world war 2 style novel but this was not the case. The plot was a little too familiar and I felt like it had been done before with the magic system. I just found it overly predictable as well. My biggest issue was with the characters. Cade was a spoilt brat and I had a hard time really following him and seeing him fight off the evil guys. The characters were all a little cliched as well. The dialogue was stilted at times and the ...more
Patrick St-Denis
After Ian Tregillis' excellent Milkweed Triptych trilogy and Kay Kenyon's compelling Dark Talents series, which both combine magic and World War II, comes David Mack's Dark Arts sequence. And although the premise was similar to those of the other series, I was nevertheless intrigued by The Midnight Front and decided to give it a shot.

Sadly, though Mack's worldbuilding was well-done, this novel wasn't as captivating as the Tregillis or Kenyon books. There is definitely room for improvement in the
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so this has so called demons/devils in it, and it happened to one of my favorite period in human history, World War 2...................that is why I forgot all my previous books to do read this(sadly as I was so excited I forgot to put this one on this site, you might think I finished this in one seating unfortunately no it was two weeks worth of seating).

First Chapter, I was ok this is it, mood setting, rather dark and you can feel the panic people must have felt when Nazi Germany attacked
Mary Fan
Amazing worldbuilding and a fascinating premise. A brutal, unsparing war drama mixed with rich fantasy. Like Supernatural on Steroids plus Inglorious Basterds.

Here's my (spoiler free) tweetstorm about it:

And my (spoiler free) live tweeting while reading it:
*Source* NetGalley
*Genre* Historical Fiction
*Rating* 3.5


The Midnight Front is the first installment in author David Mack's Dark Arts series. Like the series name, this story is very dark. It takes place during World War II (1939 thru 1945) when the entire world was at war or holding its breath to see who would be victorious. The story encapsulates the Nazi death camps, the Allied landing at Normandy, the German invasion of Russia, the Allied bombing of Dresden, as well as the American
Jonathan Wilson
4.25 Stars
Jordan Dennis
I really wanted to like this one, but it failed to entertain.

I like the idea of WW2 fought with magic. But The Midnight Front tried to cram in too much. I think this book would have made a better series. There were a ton of characters, and they were all paper-thin. Even the main protagonists and antagonist. A series specifically about these characters would develop the character's motivations more. If they were likeable, I would have been more interested in the story.

There were several big set-

I really loved the beginning of The Midnight Front.

The magic system is so intense, and the intricacies David Mack describes are fascinating. You know every step of what it takes to become a karcist and even though there's a *strong* Chosen One vibe, it's very interesting and I lived for the casting scenes.

However, in order to have an intricate world like this and not lose the reader in the folds, the pacing is very, very slow. Painfully slow. It's something I'm willing to forgive for books t
A friend recently introduced me to the term "beige" as an adjective to apply to literature, and specifically this book. I have to agree. Mack has a perfectly serviceable premise and a perfectly serviceable style, but there's little here to glitter or appeal to my queer little language-loving heart. We have an alternate history setup, with arcane magic meeting WWII-era Europe as a setting, which, okay. Fine. Everyone else is already doing WWII-era Europe as the setting for their alternate histori ...more
Scott Williams
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would not have picked this up based on the description or the cover but I am a fan of David Mack's work and I'm glad I read it! In The Midnight Front, Mack has created an entertaining blend between a gritty WWII story and a magical adventure tale.

Mack does a good job of unveiling his Dark Arts universe as the story unfolds. Where most writers would probably spend more time at the top of the book delivering a lot of exposition and world-building, Mack lets the reader find their footing along th
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was hard to rate because I think that overall, it was well-written, but not to my tastes. Set during WWII, Hitler & the Allies both have magicians that indirectly affect battles. They aren't in the middle of the fray, blowing up tanks, but rather use magic to protect key leaders (such as Hitler), cause havoc, and create favorable weather conditions. (The book is about the battles between the magicians themselves, since this is historic fiction. Hitler dies, D-Day still happens, etc)

So, we
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the pace hurt this one a bit as both the characters and the magic could have used to a little room to breath. Otherwise, this is still an entertaining and breakneck romp full of magic and mayhem.
Ilana C. Myer
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I blurbed this book: An epic thrill ride, taking us deep into a compelling, hypnotic vision of history as it might have been. Powerful, fast paced, and engaging.
An entertaining read with a dashing mix of war and dark magic. It is extremely fast paced with tons of action and gore, flavored with tension. David Mack brings a cinematic and graphic depiction of the violence in war through the story. It is very well-written with slight doses of wry cynical humour, and maintains the grim dignity of a war story.

'Midnight Front' is a book with excellent worldbuilding. Its setting is the Second World War, and, it describes the situations and circumstances with a
Robert Greenberger
I'll state upfront that Dave is a friend and I am predisposed to support him and his work. Then, let me add in that I was really happy to see this book because it shows a step forward in his already-considerable skills as a writer.

Here, he posits a world with a limited number of mages and has, of course, opposing forces in conflict. Then he set it against World War II where things got bloody really fast and the stakes were already high. He takes them further.

Adair has rescued Cade Martin who kne
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superb adventure-thriller that is so much more than magicians battling in WWII. This is one of my favorite reads of 2019.

I met David Mack at the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity Con and was fascinated by his description of The Midnight Front. I talked about it so much my friend Jenny bought me a copy to cheer me up and it was one of the best gifts I've received.

Mack weaves in deeply faceted characters with a fast-paced adventure that is well above most fantasy or adventure novels. The key to

Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked was the clever use of historical dates to correspond with the plot line. What I didn't like so much was how perfect the main character was. All of the other characters seemed alive, or at least more believeably alive than the main character. Beyond that it felt like the author was trying to focus on their story line, and not ramble on. And for the most part they accomplished that with time jumps.
Review posted at Fantasy Literature.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would really give this 3.5 stars. The concept is excellent, as is the historical placement. I love the pre-WWII and WWII setting, and I did enjoy the characters - good and evil. The pace of the novel overall moves quickly and wasn't boring.

What did not thrill me was the overly modern dialogue between characters -- that dropped me right out of 1938-45 and right into 2018. I thought also that the start of the novel was too quickly begun and ended. Yet, this is what motivates our hero's initial
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick read with historical figures, events, and locations sprinkled throughout. And for me, I had never read a fantasy novel set during this time period. I went in with high expectations and really wanting it work out, but in the end, I found some of it lacking. One dimensional characters and at times, the plot is predictable. I’m not sure if I will be trying the second book.

For my full review:

For all my reviews:
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, while I wanted to like this book, I kinda didn't. That said, I did finish it, and it did end strongly. But the final excellent 25% doesn't really completely make up for the initial blah 75%. It isn't overtly *bad*, it's just not good. I can't say that I ever really felt anything for any of the characters, despite repeated descriptions of how tough life was for each of them, how hard it is to wield magick (as Mack chooses to spell it), and just how important the idea of the soul is. Ultima ...more
Christopher Clark
"Killed a bunch of bad guy magic users... ho hum, just another day at the office. Now I'll get drunk and high because the demon magic makes me feel down."

Completely unrealistic emotional reactions from characters!
John Robinson
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I paid three bucks for this book and...yeah, it's worth that, just. On Kindle Unlimited, it'd be an entertaining read, on Audible, with voice-actors, especially someone decent and Scottish, and some good sound effects for demon-summoning and such, it might be really enjoyable in a guilty pleasure kind of way, but not in a way that would have you using up your monthly book credit, because, just...nope. The world-building is very good, and the magic(k) system is well thought out and overall great ...more
Peter Bradley
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Please give my Amazon review a helpful vote -

I am a pretty easy grader. If I enjoy something, if I can lose myself in it for the period I'm reading it, if it induces me to think about the setting or characters, then I am a soft touch for a "five-star" rating.

This book met those criteria. It was a page-turner that took us from setting up through conflicts to resolution and planted the seeds of a second story without leaving us hanging.

The storyline introdu
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This book took me by surprise. It was so action packed and fast paced.
It was easy for me to get into. In a lot of fantasies, the world is made up and it takes a long time to explain the world to the reader. This book takes place during World War II, a time which many people learn about in school and already know about to some degree. It took place along with all the events of the war, not changing anything. It explains things differently than history explains them.
The main character is Cade. At
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was skeptical of the hype The Midnight Front had when I began it. There were certain things that slowed down the process of me getting deeply into the novel, like Cade being a bit whiny, his inner voice being a bit silly to me, little details.

But, as soon as the novel hit fortress Europe I was sold. Especially when we follow Stephan and Niko into their respective operations behind enemy lines. Mack has a talent for weaving historical events with the Dark Arts, and he also brought forth a numbe

Stop reading, gonna be spoilers.

Ok, the basic plot was good. The concept is pretty cool, but the way it was written was less than.

It got tedious with every mention of when the characters were smoking dramatically and gave the whole thing the feel of a bad graphic novel. The military training portion felt forced and like a bad homage to band of brothers or something. From that point on the dialogue was forced AF. Did we really need a nickname for every person on the boat? It was like WW2
Chris Bauer
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit to enjoying this read much more than I thought I would. Picked up cold after reading the dust cover and flipping through the first chapter. I knew I would like it - but after finishing it, I was really impressed by a number of factors.

Setting: WWII is no longer a common setting for urban fantasy + military fiction. The combination of both elements was refreshing and well done.

Worldbuilding: I don't recall reading anything by David Mack before but I was really impressed by the lev
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David Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels of science-fiction, fantasy, and adventure, including the Star Trek Destiny and Cold Equations trilogies.

Beyond novels, Mack's writing credits span several media, including television (for produced episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), film, and comic books.

Follow him on Twitter @davidalanmack or join his fans on Fac

Other books in the series

Dark Arts (3 books)
  • The Iron Codex (Dark Arts, #2)
  • The Shadow Commission

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