This book was great! It does a wonderful job of recreating the charm and atmosphere of 1930's America without the cliche. Correia's characters live and breathe through Pinchot's great performance. Even being familiar with the actor for ages, I forgot whom I was listening to and enjoyed the story as if the characters themselves were living it out in my ears. The story is engaging and I found myself enthralled with the way the world and the magic work in this alternate history.
As soon as I finished this one I bought and downloaded the second one. I can't wait to continue the tale! Highly recommended.
It's hard to pick one thing that I liked "best" about this book, but I think it would have to be Bronson Pinchot's incredible performance narrating the story.
The story itself is rich, original and highly entertaining, set against the backdrop of a lushly imagined 40's-noir world with. The stakes are high, the characters are interesting, and the "magical" aspects of the world are so well-written that they seem believable and plausible, even in the most extraordinary moments. You'll find yourself grinning subconsciously at the imaginative and novel ways that magical powers enter the story.
Bronson Pinchot's narration is flawless. He is such a skilled performer that listening to him read any text would be interesting, but he takes this already highly entertaining and compelling story to the next level. He brings life to an entire world of characters, male and female, never failing to find the distinguishing vocal trait that makes them easy to identify in the midst of a plot that jumps around multiple locations and countries. And all the while he avoids the pitfalls and cliches that would be easy to fall into while juggling so many different characters. It is not exaggeration when I say that his narration was as big a factor in my decision to download the rest of this trilogy as the story itself was, after finishing this first book.
If you enjoy science-fiction you will enjoy this book.
The various abilities placed into the alternative 1930's setting.
I love the main character, Jake Sullivan.
The way Bronson Pinchot voices him, he sounds like a mean Sheriff Andy Taylor.
Can't spoil it.
Buy it, you will not be disappointed.
Loved the story, the setting, and my gosh, the detail on the guns was actually rather nice. The narration grated on me at times, everyone having a southern/mid-western drawl, but likely purposeful if overly done.
It's taken me a few days to get to this review - I've been busy calling all my friends, family members, neighbors, ex-lovers, old professors, doctors, and travel agents, trying to convince them to stop what they're doing and pick up this first book in the Grimnoir Chronicles. NOW.
Hard Magic is an insane romp through the 1930's of a re-written history where magic suddenly developed in humans. I didn't quite know what to expect given the book's description, but after finishing the series I can see why the synopsis is so genre-defyingly vague. Correia gives us the scar-covered, street-hardened, fedora-wearing cast of a noir PI film; throws in all the magic, demons, and epic airship adventures of a fantasy novel, and treats the whole thing with all the analytical and plausible attention to detail that would make any sci-fi world-builder swoon. The result is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, and a perfectly enjoyable read (or better yet, listen!)
Correia's unique approach to magic is what really sets this book apart for me. None of that hand-wavy all-powerful stuff - Hard Magic has rules, and takes place in the physical world. Correia somehow manages to make even the most fantastic feats fall within reason. Not only that, but the characters themselves learn more about their mysterious powers along with the reader, and each development builds on a complex and balanced collection of crazy abilities.
The little bits of re-told history through interviews and news articles at the beginning of each chapter are a delight - it's fun to hear how magic might have changed every aspect of American history and culture. If you're a history buff, this story will be twice as enjoyable. If you're a gun buff, three times as enjoyable. With all the detail on firearms and amo, Correia shows his appreciation for some good old-fashioned steel in a fantasy world.
And then there's Bronson Pinchot. At first I was put off by Sullivan's mucky southern drawl and Faye's okie, childish tone, but not only did I fall in love with both these characters, but I realized that Pinchot totally nailed these unlikely heroes to the core. Pinchot covers an impressive range of over-the-top characters, not only in their various international accents, but in their tone and demeanor as well. This is one of those rare instances where I can confidently say that hearing the book read out loud truly enhanced my reading experience. His asian accents are a little weak, which is a bit of a bummer since so much of the book revolves around Japan, but maybe I'm just being picky because I just listened to "Rock, Paper, Tiger" and experienced Tracy Sallows' 14+ different chinese accents.
Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart. There's a lot of blood and gore, and a blatant disregard for human life against a pretty dehumanized enemy. But it's this hard-hitting, take no prisoners pace that makes the book so crazy fun, and though it takes a while, a surprising amount of depth is revealed in the story's villains.
In short, Hard Magic is the best Tesla-powered, ninja-fighting, crime-mystery sci-fi fantasy historical novel with sky pirates that I've read. Ever.
I like a book that mixes horror and comedy - it's an awkward blend of suspense and release.
Though I enjoyed the first Monster Hunters book, I felt it was a little too cliche, too much attention on gun details. I still enjoyed it, but it was just too close to a Captain America graphic novel maybe? I don't know.
When I heard about this series though, I was thrilled. I love Film Noir, so I took another chance. I'm so glad I did.
Bronson Pinchot KILLS IT on this book. Such amazing narration, it really should be called "re-enactment" when he narrates a book. It's not just a nice voice reading a book for you. He adds subtle inflections that really sell each character's personality, motives, etc. I don't know how he did it unless Correia was sitting right next to him saying, "okay, he SAYS this but really isn't sure he means it, so there's room for doubt when the other guy hears him."
Anyway. This is probably my second favorite book I've bought from Audible, (Christopher Moore's "A Dirty Job" narrated by Fisher Stephens is my favorite, for all the same reasons).
Great story, fantastic characters, innovative concept, world-building without 200 pages of prologue, and fantastic narration. Judging from the ratings and reviews of the other two Grimnoir books, I can't wait to read those too!
It's definitely in the top ten along with Spellbound and Warbound.
Hard magic has the feel of Xmen in that globally society feels threatened by magical people. Otherwise I've not yet read anything quite like this book or series.
No I haven't, but his performance is so good it makes me want to look for other books he's read.
No extreme reactions. It was a book of action. That's not to say that the author didn't connect you with the characters.
Too Much Fun!
The character of Jake Sullivan
Mr. Pinchot is an amazing reader - he's got all the right inflections and his pace is brilliant. I only wish he could read every book I listen to - his voice is wonderful and his ability to give us the story is really nothing short of miraculous.
The preview of the book does not give it justice, nor does the first chapter. Once I got into the book, I couldn't stop. Bronson Pinchot is fantastic. Of all the narrators I have listened to he has to be the best. These books take place in the 30's and I wouldn't normally be interested, however, I was captivated by the story the different outcomes from a historical points, and the characters. As soon as I finished one, I bought the next one. I am listening to the third and last one, and really do not want it to end. I have read Larry Correia's Hunter books and enjoyed them, but these are totally unique.
I put off listening to this book for months... what a mistake. This is a brilliant book followed by a brilliant series and I am now on his other series and am far from dissappointed. Actually I am dissappointed that this series is over.
I am not one for writing reviews so all I can say is do not pass up this book, you will enjoy every moment of it.