Molecular biologist. Musician. Lover of science. Lover of music. Dreamer of magic. Thinker of thoughts. ||| "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke ||| As a scientist, science fiction and fantasy inspire me to push the line of discovery forward, beyond conventional imagination, beyond conventional wisdom.
The title of my review for Hard Magic (Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles) was "Simply, the best audiobook I've ever encountered." After getting through Spellbound I have to say that Hard Magic still holds that title, but the sequel is certainly no disappointment. Perhaps it was because Hard Magic just felt more fresh, and upon reading Spellbound my wonderment at the universe had been a bit diluted (I listened to them back to back all in less than a week). But, the best way to put it is, if I give Spellbound 5 stars all around, I'd have to give Hard Magic 6 stars. Although, Bronson Pinchot's performance still gets 10/5 in both books.
Spellbound has the same incredible historical urban science fiction fantasy mojo that is touted by Hard Magic. Most of your favorite characters return and the new characters that are introduced, for the most part, do not disappoint, with a very interesting interaction between a magic-envious academic and a demon possessor; yes a demon summoner that possesses the demons. Clever stuff.
You won't be disappointed by Spellbound if you found Hard Magic worth your time. But, while this seems obvious, definitely get through the first book before even attempting this one. Though, you could probably take a pretty big break in between and have no trouble picking right back up into the universe. And, what a universe it is!
The only disappointing thing about Spellbound is that Larry Correia hasn't finished the last book yet. Right now I'm feeling quite impatient waiting for both Cold Days, the next Dresden Files installment and for the third book of the Grimnoir Chronicles. I'm working my way through the Monster Hunter series now, trying to get my fix of Correia's action packed fantastical imagination.
Comparing Grimnoir Chronicles to Monster hunter:
After finishing the first book, Monster Hunter International, I would suggest that both Hard Magic and Spellbound really represent a definite refinement of Correia's art. The Grimnoir Chronicles series blows, at least the first, Monster Hunter book out of the water, and that's saying a lot because MHI itself represents a fantastic addition to the urban fantasy genre. Though I admit that I am probably speaking too soon since the MH books likely improve with each new installment. I am quite excited to see how Correia evolved as an author.
Plug for Iron Druid Chronicles:
Oh, and one final recommendation for those waiting for the third GC book: The Iron Druid Chronicles. While the series is a magnitude lighter than Larry Correia's writing, Kevin Hearne's own take on urban fantasy with a 2000 year old druid living in Arizona might be of interest to those who have similar tastes to myself, based on my review above.
Not attacking the Democrats (Obama), and refraining from advocating for right wing views.
I wish Authors would state their politics they plan to advocate for on the cover of their books. I feel dirty after finding I'm reading an author who advocates a political view that supports war, NRA, Hate speach, mixing of religion with state etc
Its like realizing part of me likes the idea of being able to steal what I need
Somehow the voice narrator has gotten even better in this part of the book than he was in the last! The narrator was already one of the best I'd ever heard in the first book but in this second book he's in a league of his own. The most noticeable improvements have been in Dan Garret's aka "The Mouth".
Before he'd done an ok job with Dan's voice but this time around, Dan's voice stands out and you can feel the influence in it.
He also flawlessly shifts from French accents of both genders to German accents to Japanese and makes all of them convincing.
Oh and the story deserves 5 stars as well but the narrator did just as good a job as the author.
I really like the way the author moved the story along. never a lull or boring moment in the whole listen, and the reader is outstanding with an the different voices and accents. Awesome!!
With crazy antics and secret societies running across the US to stop a rogue government agency. You can only depend on one small group to defend the rights of the majority and Jake Sullivan and his rag tag group are at it again. This is my favorite series by Larry Correia and each novel in it gets better and better making you wish that it would go on for far longer than it did.
After book 1 I could not fail to listen to book 2, and now will have to get the 3rd. This is really not my genre, I did not think, but might be wrong. Bronson Pinchot does an amazing job with all characters, and the story is top notch.
This is a great story. The only problem I had with the narration was the consistency. I love Bronson Pinchot but he changed the voice of some of the characters from the way he had done them in the first book in the series. There were also a few lapses in this book where a difference was apparent from scene to scene. They were few but still noticeable. I still highly recommend the book and the series.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Less than a year after the California Knights of the Grimnoir's desperate attempt to save the USA from the Tesla superweapon of the evil Japanese Imperium in Larry Correia's Hard Magic (2011), the sequel, Spellbound (2011), begins with their being framed for the attempted assassination of President Roosevelt. Indeed, a new governmental organization called the Office of the Coordinator of Information is out to eliminate the entire covert Grimnoir Society. The mood in America regarding Actives (people like the Grimnoir able to access "the Power" to perform specialized "magical" abilities like telekenisis, telepathy, and healing) has turned dangerously ugly, and although the Grimnoir are dedicated to coexistence between Actives and Normals, they are "loved by few, feared by many, and hated by more." Worse, the Power, an alien entity who came to earth in 1849 and started seeding certain people with "magic" so they can grow it and feed it back to the Power when they die, is about to be followed here by its own super alien predator, the Enemy. To prevent the Enemy from destroying the earth, someone must kill its Pathfinder, and to have a chance at that, the Grimnoir may need to call on their Imperium archenemies.
If all that sounds involved and absurd, it is, but Correia tells his story with pulpy panache and appealing characters. Our favorite Knights from the first book are back, like Francis Cornelius Stuyvesant, a young Mover (able to mentally move objects) who's been playing the Bruce Wayne-esque millionaire playboy corporation head; Jake Sullivan, a hard-bitten, chivalrous Heavy (able to manipulate gravity) who's been researching magic and carving magical spell sigils into his own flesh; and Faye Rivera, a teen Traveler (able to teleport herself and other people and objects) who's possibly turning into the Spellbound, the vessel for the most dangerous and powerful cursed spell of all. Correia introduces some intriguing new Knights, like Whisper, a French Torch (able to manipulate fire) and Ian, a bitter Summoner (able to summon demons); X-factors, like the Japanese Iron Guard Brute Toru (able to access super strength and speed) and the Texas Justice Beverly Hammer (able to find people and detect when they lie); and antagonists, like OCI agent Crow (an amoral, scary guy with a long history of dirty work). And real historical people appear with alternate-world twists, as in epigraphs by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert E. "Heavy" Howard, and Geronimo, references to Babe Ruth and Jack Johnson, and cameos by Navy Lt. Heinlein and Raymond Chandler, who says when Francis gives him a tricky covert job, "I'm an accountant, not a detective." (Funny lines like that are many in the novel.)
As in the first novel, Correia revels in writing exciting and creative (and destructive!) small- and large-scale fight scenes featuring a variety of weapons (tommy guns, shotguns, 45s, knives, nails, katana, war clubs, etc.), machines (automata, dirigibles, magic nullifiers, etc.), powers (electricity, fire, gravity, animal possessing, spell writing, etc.), foes (G-men, demons, black domes of death, etc.), and injuries (broken limbs, burst eyeballs, punctured lungs, gunshot wounds, immolation, etc.). Correia is not above adding humor to the action, as when a nearly deaf and blind old woman sleeps through an apocalypse in her boarding house.
The novel has a libertarian thrust. The Grimnoir's raison d'etre is "to fight for liberty though it cost my life," and Jake is sick of men with "grand visions," "just a bunch of assholes trying to control everyone else." At one point Francis says, "Nothing like that [the government imprisoning all Actives] could happen here [in America]." But of course, it can happen here, and it's up to the Grimnoir to stop it.
Correia does some politically correct things regarding race, as in repugnant racist epigraphs by H.G. Wells and Jack London, Faye's opposition to segregation, and a white Knight's marriage to a "quadroon" woman. And he depicts a more complex side to the Japanese than in the first novel's one-note depiction of them as loyalty-crazed, inhuman eugenic experimenters bent on purifying the world.
Bronson Pinchot has great fun reading the novel, changing his voices for European characters and for Americans from different classes and regions, and for demons and men and women. I really like his deliberate, deep voice for Jake, and his Okie-naïve-girl-on-the-surface-cold-killer-beneath for Faye.
Spellbound is so entertaining that it almost teleported me past some flaws.
--Correia writes some bad lines, as when a man has "unfashionably large old-fashioned sideburns."
--His ends-justify-the-means villain mastermind is prone to typical flaws of such figures, being unable to resist gloatingly telling his plans to captured heroes, and generally seeming less brilliant than he's supposed to be.
--Although Correia generally obeys the limits to magic he sets up, as when Faye can't Travel outside a boarding house because of a dust storm, he also ignores such limits when expedient, as when she Travels into an OCI room that's "full of dust."
--Correia callously uses animals for humor, as when a Knight possesses a cow into the path of a speeding automobile to stop it and then has the cow, with all four legs broken, wink at the enemy and trash-talk him.
--Finally, although the plot of Spellbound has its own closure and prepares the way for the climactic third volume, I suspect that much of the entertaining second book is superfluous, for its necessary developments (re Faye and Toru) could come in the beginning of the third book, making a potent duology instead of a de rigueur trilogy.
Anyway, readers who like pulpy horror sf about super powers and "Cog" inventions (like a Thomas Edison-made spirit phone to call hell) with plenty of exciting action and appealing characters should like the trilogy.
Love these characters and Bronson Pinchot brings them to life so expertly. Jake Sullivan is right on top of my favorite list, but his sidekicks help make the story worthwhile. I can't say I dislike any of them, even the new ally. This story is packed with more action against evil, with the biggest threat being members of our own government. Legislators want to make the actives register like criminals, doctors want to control them, while others want to eliminate them. Meanwhile, the actives try to save the world once more, while trying to save themselves.