I was fairly skeptical when I read the reviews by others here exclaiming how great this book was. I had just finished the first Monster Hunter book and was still deciding whether I really liked it or not. After listening to the first chapter of Hard Magic, I was intrigued. The faux-history was a bit weird at first as I was wondering where it all was going to lead but within the first few chapters, I was hooked by the cleverness and plausibility of each of the historical quotes.
I was happy that Hard Magic didn't follow the same formula as Monster Hunters in that although there was a bit of weapon terminology and discussion, it wasn't just for the bravado of the character(s) but rather for fleshing out specific props for the character.
The characters in the story were outstanding. I loved that Correia "bent in" real characters from history such as Pershing, Browning, Tesla, and Roosevelt to name a few. The lead bad guy was a bit "Voldemortian" but Correia still managed to separate him from the cliche boss with some interesting personality traits and a bit more ambivalence than just being "evil" plus an explanation of why he is rightly so more scary than any other magic user other than just being meaner or more psychotic than your run-of-the-mill boss. Quite the opposite it seems. The interaction between the characters was excellent as well whether it be between the Grimoire or the Imperium. Imperium weren't just all bad and Grimoire weren't all just good. There were shades of gray on each side driven by personal agenda just like in the real world. That being said, don't be put off by the Sullivan character being so similar to the Owen character of Monster Hunters, they are only similar in their build and bad-assery but Sullivan could kick Owen's butt any day (IMHO of course).
The magic world and its explanation throughout the story were very well done. Don't worry, if it sounds lame at first, there's a reason and logic to everything and Correia does a marvelous job of leading us through it while feeding us missing details throughout the book right up to the suspenseful ending. The creativity to come up with a design like that and the source of the magic was impressive, all the while keeping the concept of balance and real world physics in play. His inclusion of a magical history was another treat that kind of hints at where the timelines of our reality diverged from his. The many types and styles of magic were also a very cool concept but he left us open to possible "improvements" that each type of magic user could accomplish just by knowing how the system works. Everything is symbiotic so Ignorance in this world, is not bliss.
I was a bit worried about Bronson Pinchot's narration before I started to listen as I was afraid that I would constantly be picturing Balki speaking the parts but thankfully, he brings his acting talent to bear much to my satisfaction. His character voices are unique to themselves, for example, his interpretation of Harkeness' bizarre inflections were as annoying as they were surely supposed to be and his narration of Faye reflected her innocent naivety and growth superbly.
There's so much more that I could say but am afraid to ruin it for new listeners because Correia has designed a new world that leaves much to be explored and details to be discovered. I'm in for the next book and am sure that I'll love it equally. This officially satisfies my "Harry Potter" addiction. It's grittier and geared for adults and that's just fine by me. I just hope Correia keeps putting these out past Book 2.
I have never been more satisfied or excited about a book since Enders game. The writing and story are phenomenal! The narrator is amazing and ill look for more by him now as well.
Larry is quickly becoming one of my most favorite authors and I can wait for more from him!!
Just enjoying my readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmatic.
Definitely. I love the current trend where authors have been mixing very disparate genres. In this book, Larry Correia takes urban fantasy and puts it in a noir setting in the 1920's. The fantastical element being magic begins to suddenly appear in humans around 1850. So even though everyone has grown up with the idea of magic, it is not well understood and is still quite uncommon.
I guess I'd have to say Fay was my favorite. She was a "Traveler", or someone who could teleport themselves. I liked her country bumpkin simplicity. To her, everything was right or wrong, friend or foe, black and white. Even more interesting was her simple morality, if you were good you should live, if you were bad, you should die. And she had no compunction about ending those who she deemed bad.
Geez, these questions are terrible. If a book is written well, it should be a scene near the end, likely the climax, because each preceding scene should have been what culminated into a satisfying result. Since I don't want to give any of that stuff away, I guess I'll say this book followed that template.
I'm not writing a review for a 6th grade book report. I'm just going to skip to the additional comments now...
First things first, Larry Correia marries the two genres wonderfully. I suppose you could also call this story an Alternate History. I'm not sure I would. All genre quibbling aside, his alternate history is both well crafted and interesting. One subplot dips into the "why's" of how magic came to earth, which aids in building both his vision of the world and creates a foundation for the sequel. Speaking of which, I enjoyed this story so much, after I was finished, I purchased and downloaded the sequel right away. I suppose that's as good as praise gets.
Of course, the world makes for a nice place to visit in fantasy, but ultimately, it's the characters that makes a story worth reading. As is the modern convention, good versus evil is merely a matter of perspective and morality. This story is no different. Though in true noir fashion, the protagonist, aka Jake Sullivan, is the type of person we can consider to be "morally pure". By that, I mean, he always does what he feels to be the right thing. Considering the U. S. Hippy-Christian salted with a pinch of schadenfreude-ian Old Testament Eye-for-an-Eye mentality that many of us have been raised with, we're inclined to agree with his actions.
Basically, that's a long-winded way of saying Jake is sympathetic and likable.
In a nutshell, this story takes all the elements of fantasy, noir, and alternate history and blends them into an well crafted and interesting story. I highly recommend it!
Strong characters, novel re-write of history, unique alternative universe, all the threads pulled together, yet clearly leads to sequels.
Fay was my favorite character because of her strength, thirst for knowledge, growing powers, innocence.
Pinchot's performance was exceptionally fine with him creating new appropriate voices for each of many characters
Belabored description of fight scenes that grows tiresome
Hello, my name is Teresa and I'm an addict.
I'm huge fan of the MHI series so I decided to give this series a try. I'm so glad I did. It is very imaginative and fun. The narrator does an excellent job. I will admit that the story kinda has an x-men feel to it, but since I'm a fan of that I went along for the ride. The characters are great and there is lots of action. This is one of those books that it gets really intense and then switches to another character right when you are at the edge of your seat. The story line does take a bit to figure out what is going on, but once you are there it is a wild ride. Many people are saying they like this book better than MHI, and although it is excellent, MHI is better. For those of you who like steampunk/romance try Meljean Brooks series Iron Duke, it has some simularities to this story.
This was the first book that my boyfriend and I listened to on audible. We were going on a long road trip and wanted something to pass the time. I like fantasy stories and he likes guns. This worked out perfect. We are now listening to the second book and really hope a third makes it out.
We both really enjoyed the storyline and the narration of all the characters was wonderful. It was easy to tell them apart. My favorite was Faye. She was definitely the comic relief, and her character really had me laughing out loud a lot.
My bf really liked the way that the inventions and things in the book came from actual concepts that real people have thought of, but never got produced. Like the peace ray. It wouldn't be a hard stretch of the imagination that if in some parallel universe things like that were actually made and put to use. The same goes for the deridgables, or blimps, in the story.
So if you enjoy stories with magic, weaponry, mentions of a few famous people in a parallel time of this world, and good vs bad, then this is one for you. I definitely recommend it.
Better narrator. This one speaks so slow, that it seems like a joke. He has pleasant voice, but makes the book at least few hours longer than it warrants.
It is very distracting, you forget first word of a sentence before the end!
He read the book like he wanted to put us in bed. Slow quiet voice/murmur.
The story is just fine.
Better read than listen to...
Exciting action throughout the book! Deceptively bright and powerful "Heavy" Jake Sullivan is drawn into saving the world, but takes one beating after another, mostly physical injuries but plenty of emotional ones too.
Difficult to put down this delightfully lengthy novel!
This is a fun, fast-paced magical thriller, with likeable characters that are not too far-fetched, and a interesting, complex universe.
What sets this apart from Correia's other work (which is quite similar in terms of plots) are the characters. They're all sympathetic, substantive, and real, even the bad guys. Stereotypes are well done, conversation is punchy and enjoyable, but still realistic, and character development doesn't seem far-fetched.
The performance is just spectacular. Might take a bit of getting used to at first, but the gruff, almost gritty narration fits into the overall feel of the story really well, and the different characters are easily distinguishable.
This isn't exactly canonical literature, but it's a fun story, and good company on long drives or at the gym. Definitely recommended for a light-hearted yet engaging listen.
Enough people have written about the story, which I loved, so I thought I would make this about the narrator. Being old enough to know of Bronson Pinchot from his start in Beverly Hills Cop and Perfect Strangers I was very hesitant to give this a try. But since I had just finished Monster Hunters and loved it so much I couldn't pass it up any longer.
I loved Bronson's performance and have a greater respect for him than I did before. Being able to identify all the characters without hearing "Sullivan said, Francis said" all the time was a relief. This was a true performance and not just another flat reading of a great story. The emotions of the characters could be felt, even when there weren't supposed to be any as in Sullivan's case most of the time.
I will gladly pick up any of his future performances without hesitation.