“Mud, Blood, and Magic” by A.D. Krabis is an exceptional military fantasy novel that interweaves elements of war and magic with deep relationship building. Sam Caulfield, our hero, is intelligent, skilled, and relatable. And his background as an ex-Army Ranger and CIA operative isn’t just window dressing, but is crucial to his role in the story.


The plot follows the bones of an Isekai novel, but is more accurately described as a fantasy adventure combined with military fiction. Though Sam is swept away to a world of magic, he possesses no magical powers of his own. He’s not an overpowered, godlike warrior. His primary strength is his knowledge of modern-day warfare tactics, and he uses it to great advantage.


The author’s military experience shines through in the realistic portrayal of warfare, capturing the toll it takes on the characters’ minds and bodies. The integration of magic adds an intriguing twist, and the blend of old-school WW1-style weapons with modern tactics creates a fascinating dynamic in the worldbuilding.


There’s a nice slow-build development of the harem. Each member brings her own unique strengths, and contributes to the team in a meaningful way. The interpersonal relationships are complex, with believable interactions and genuine growth. If you’re looking for a lot of smut, look elsewhere: Krabis focuses on Sam’s journey of overcoming grief and finding love while largely (but not completely) avoiding the spicy bits.


Overall, “Mud, Blood, and Magic” is highly recommended for readers who like their military fantasy served with a side of harem elements. It’s a thrilling journey filled with dangers, victories, and unexpected moments of tenderness.


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