I picked up this book on the recommendation of a friend, and I’m glad I did. If I had just seen the cover, I would never have given it a chance.
The setting of the book is fantastic, it’s the 1930s in an alternate Earth where people started developing magic powers in the mid-19th century. The main characters of Sullivan and Faye are excellent protagonists with completely different abilities and backstories, but both are clever and resourceful. The supporting cast is equally strong, with every character being unique and developed. The action is tight and moves quickly, but isn’t confusing or chaotic. It’s a fun read, but also manages to be fairly dark and gritty.
It has some problems. The magic system is closer to superpowers than the more tradition magic in fantasy books, but that’s not a bad thing. The issue is that it isn’t clearly defined, though it’s obvious that it’s well thought out. The magic has limits, and people can exhaust their strength, but the abilities are relied on pretty heavily, and they always seem to be there when needed. Correia doesn’t really explore how these characters function when their magic is gone. There are also a few scientific anachronisms I noticed, but that may be forgivable due to some of the powers people in the book have.
The other problem I had with the book was the, in my opinion, excessive detail about firearms. I’m not a gun connoisseur, but it’s obvious that Correia is. It’s nice to know that the author has done his research so you can trust the accuracy, but it’s so pervasive that it started to pull me out of the story.
Overall, it was a fun book, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.