I've listened to the other stories by Mr. Correla (monster hunter series) and I felt that this was a better story due to the original perspective and character study of the pulp superhero.
The performance by Mr. Pinchot is terrific. The range of voices ranging from the manly hero 'Sullivan' to the country hick female 'Fay' is believable and easy on the ears.
I'm glad I have this in my library.
Bravo! I'll be looking for the second story.
It seems a little redundant to write yet another rave review for this book so I'll keep it short and try to hit the points I think other summaries/reviews have soft pedaled or omitted.
-- It's wildly imaginative but, like the best imaginative works, keeps to an internal logic that constrains and contains the action. Especially for books with a strong detective / spy story angle (this being more of the latter despite the Film Noir homage) this is vital for coherence and credibility. Correia does an excellent job of establishing magic as just another force in his fantasy world, analogous to the four forces we know, not as some sort of grab bag of plot devices.
-- It's actually very violent, and quite grim, in spots. In the audible production the book is given a gloss by Pinchot's narration that makes it easy not to stop and think about how violent some of the imagery is. It's not a criticism: I like action books, and this is a good one, but be warned if this might bother you.
-- A really good action book requires a really good villain and the way "The Chairman" is treated in this is quite good. What starts out looking like a Fu Manchu stereotype is actually a fairly interesting character and very powerful and smart.
-- Pinchot's narration is fantastic. The way he establishes and uses a large number of character voices is excellent. His work is so good that I think it actually improves the story: there were parts that seemed flawless when I listened to them but, when I thought back about them later, I could see some issues the author had with maintaining a consistent tone that I think would have bothered me in a print version.
I am really looking forward to other books in this series and will be terribly disappointed if Pinchot doesn't read them all.
I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!
I listen to A LOT of Audiobooks, so this is a really hard question to answer - in terms of pure entertainment, this was a great book. I thought the mix of characters were interesting and the world Correia builds is strangely fantastic but also believable. I only gave the book 4 stars, but I'm grading on a steep curve. Will this book change your life and make you a better person? No.
Will it provide you with hours of entertainment, make you smile, and eagerly download the next book in the series? Yep.
I think Correia does a great job of taking an Alt. History, and mashing it up with classic pulp genres (noir, superheros and classic science fiction) . Pinchot does a good job with the characters - I honestly think he had a lot of fun with the interactions between the characters in how he interprets the dialog.
Like all great Narrators, Pinchot doesn't just read the book, he performs it. I didn't feel his performance was ever a distraction from the story. Some of the accents were a little thick, but I really enjoyed his reading.
A lot of cliff-hanger moments. The bad-guys are really bad, the good guys are good - its what you expect from this kind of book.
Great book - you'll enjoy it
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
When I finished the 3 books from Monster Hunter International series, i noticed this series. I wasn't sure if it will be as good as MHI.... And of course it is as good .... if not better.. i love it.
the narrator is really good, and he did a really good job with putting southern accent and european accent on different characters.
give it a listen, if you like MHI series you will like this as well.
The book did start off with a bang. It was great - amodern world history re-written where people had magic.
The book has great character shells. There's so much interesting stuff in the book. However, the author's execution was lacking. The novel had so many interesting scenes and set pieces, but the author leaned towards the character brooding and big noting themselves, that after a while it got too much.
It always helps in fantasy novels if your main character has the biggest power and thus can claim omnipotency. This was certainly the case in this book.
The book definitely started lagging and I really felt the author needed to get a move on. Larry focussed too much on repeating each characters - he could have done a flashback to the original fight for the Tessla device. But instead, there were multiple references to it. For all its worth, nobody talked about how Tessla ended up with the device, etc.
However, in defence of the author, he had enough characters in the book to deal with. The audiobook is also well narrated by Bronson Pinchot.
Overall, it's not a bad book. It has interesting characters (some better developed than others), cool magic system, interesting re-written world history and strong fight scenes (where some main characters die). It's biggest negatives remains its dragging pace in certain sections and some execution and scene selection issues.
The first book in this series is packed with all of the action expected from a novel written by Correia. The story and characters are fantastic, and the main characters are like superheroes. The only problem I had was with Bronson Pinchot's narration. I wasn't impressed. He certainly was not as fun to listen to as Oliver Wyman, and I really wasn't impressed with how there was no change in delivery when the action was going on. The character's tone never changed when they were supposed to be shouting, and half of the characters sounded like they were either high on something, or complete morons. The story and experience was what you would expect from Correia though, it keeps you listening.
Hard Magic was an entertaining listen. However, you shouldn't expect anything too innovative.This book seems to be made up of one part X-men, one part late steam punk, one part alt history (with famous persons as characters).In general, the plot and characters are fine. The characters do get 'developed' though not in a very deep or meaningful way. Similarly, the plot is nicely crafted but lacks anything novel.The frustrating part of this book was that it feels almost exactly the same Monster Hunter International. You've got a sort of everyman hero who turns out to be the best in his field (and almost something of a messiah for his friends and the world). The plot follows this one character for most of the book. He encounters a group of other heroes (notably at odds with government authority - I feel strong echoes of second amendment hyper-neo-conservatism here) and with them saves the world.Reading Hard Magic made me feel as if I had just read MHI again but the characters had all changed names and switched their rocket launchers for super powers.If you've read David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean and then compared these to his Elenium and Tamuli series, you'll get an idea of how similar the Monster Hunter and Grimnoire series are.
I found this book a bit slow to start, but I persevered and and I'm very glad I did.
The characters are appealing and well-delineated, the evil guys are truly evil.
The story is set mostly in post World War I America and the alternate reality resounds very closely to history--both in what was going on and in attitudes of the time.
Many people exhibit different magical characteristics and a maverick "heavy", not so dumb as he looks and sounds, becomes a leading force in the fight against the approaching evil.
The ending took an unexpected turn--clever plotting Mr. Correia!
I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the next one.
I've enjoyed Larry Corriea's other series, Monster Hunters International, so I decided to give this book a try. I'm very glad I did. Its great 'noir' style, unforgettable characters, and the situations they get into made this a wonderful book. The fantasy world that Mr. Corriea creates is internally consistent and understandable.
I was a little skeptical when I saw that Bronson Pinchot was narrating (Balki?), but was soon captured by his abilities. It took a little while to get into the story, but once I did, Mr. Pinchot's skill brought the story alive. Each character has their own easily recognizable voice, making it easy to stay on track. I highly recommend this book, and wish Audible Frontiers would release the second book!
I thought the narration on this was so well done. This is one of those books that has such a variety of characters that quality narration is crucial. Bronson Pinchot nails it. The novel takes place during the first half of the 20th century, but with a slightly off version of history. Darwin's survival theory has humans tapping into certain powers beyond the norm, for instance "heavies" can manipulate gravity, and "brutes" have great strength. There is a collection of good guys who are battling to save the world; the bad guys are, of course, trying to take over the world, and the whole thing is done with a noir style - the protagonist is so cool and tough - in dirigibles, for Pete's sake. As a history buff, I enjoyed the "quotations" at the beginning of each chapter from figures in history. I also enjoyed references to Tesla, Pershing, and other historical figures and events. Considering how bloody and thrilling this novel is, is was surprisingly fun to listen to! The mystery and action are complicated enough to be interesting and the story moves along at a good pace. The ending is exciting and the writing is very visual without being tedious. I very much enjoyed this listen.