The Human Alliance knew the war was over when the machines started using magic to cast fire, shake the ground, conjure storms, and part the seas.
We fought back anyway.
22-year-old soldier Gunnar Graves lost his faith and his family when a platoon of AI-driven war machines—led by an android fire mage—destroyed his unit. Forced to live in a machine-controlled village and hiding a dark secret, he spends his days trying to learn elemental power so he can take his revenge. After years of failure, his ability ignites when he least expects it.
On the run and hunted by the war machines, Gunnar discovers that an ancient, life-based strength has awakened to help humanity fight back. Joined by the other life mages, Gunnar is thrust into a mad world of android overlords, cyborg clans, and evil forces bent on his destruction.
To protect his newfound family, Gunnar must discover the truth behind a power he doesn’t understand and wage a war he doesn’t believe they can win.
AI already got one evil upgrade, from goofy image-generation to world domination. Then the robot overlords leveled up even worse when they discovered actual magic spells granting them control over nature, assuring their hive mind’s past victory over the society of Gunnar Graves. He’s been secretly attempting magic himself, until one crisis sparks his power and sends him into a hidden society of human mages. Quippy banter and chosen-one concepts—and the story’s overt call-outs to fiction tropes—may tear at genre seams. But ultimately Clint Hall’s Steal Fire From the Gods casts readers into a compressed-epic tale of uncertain powers yet certain morality, plus elemental conflicts between human choice and technocracy.
Best for: Teen boys and young men, fans of light sci-fi/fantasy hybrids.
Discern: Androids-versus-mankind violence, one hero’s arm is painfully vaporized, post-traumatic stress by human combatants, traces of romance, assumed natural-law magic in the “real world” powered by surrounding life.