Short, focused and inspiring.
Mage Noir manages to deliver with a relatively small word count, tons of atmosphere and information about 1940's america and how the Awakened fit into it, all with an eye for the noir style. The book is jammed with storyhooks and ideas about a variety of possible mage stories set in the period. And while it focuses greatly on the large American cities of the time, there's enough material to visit the small towns of the south or the battlefields of europe.
When talking about the war against fascism, Noir tends to depict the Awakened as divided along similar lines by their opposition to the Seers of the Throne. But there are enough throw-away clues to hint that this wasn't a clear-cut dichotomy. The horrors of that war a constant theme in the book, as is the cynicism those horrors carved into the men and women who lived through them.
The book uses a new legacy of mages practicing covert magic almost exclusively, as the focusing lense of the book. This legacy embodies the spirit of the age, and the short adventure in the book is tailored to a cabal belonging to that legacy.
The only downside I see to this book is the art. It is serviceable. But nothing there really captures the eye or the imagination.
An enjoyable and informative read. Full of advice and ideas.
[4 of 5 Stars!]