I like a book that mixes horror and comedy - it's an awkward blend of suspense and release.
The first Grimnoir book won me over. The world building continues, the characters continue to grow, and Bronson's narration, wow, I can't say enough about how well he brings the story to life.
The descriptions were fantastic, the battles and fight scenes were very clearly detailed, the whole thing just blew my mind.
After the first book, I was hesitant to try the second one. How could he keep the quality of suspense and plot going in a sequel? I was mistaken, and so glad I checked out this one. I suppose it's time to check out the third one.
I am listening to it for the second time. Pinchot is a very good reader, the story is epic.
It's like Xmen in the 30s.
I'm an avid reader but when driving or exercising, listening to a great book and a great performance makes time fly!
Larry Correia did it again with this installment! Fun and action-packed, this book picks up about a year after the first book's end. Where the Imperium was the focal enemy in the first book, another, more sinister enemy takes the lead in this book.
Mr. Pinchot is perfect. Simply perfect.
I can't wait for the next installment in this series!!!
This is a good follow up to the first book. It allows for events in the 1st book to be better explained and sets up for an interesting finale in the third book.
I did have some reservations about the first book, but to Larry's credit, the 2nd book is much better and builds and augments the scenes from the first book.
A much more polished effort and I look forward to the final book.
An exciting story with great narration! This is a gem, it doesn't fall into the cookie cutter trap of many of the new series. Very creative twists on history.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
???You???re Heavy Jake Sullivan, aren???t you????
???I was afraid of that.???
Larry Correia delivers another exciting magical alternate history with Spellbound, the second of his GRIMNOIR CHRONICLES. After Jake Sullivan and the gang took care of the German zombies, the Japanese Iron Guard, and Nikola Tesla???s peace ray in Hard Magic, the magicals are needed again to thwart new threats to the country. This is hard to do, though, after they???ve been framed for the attempted assassination of President Roosevelt. Public approval for magicals is low and opposition groups are organizing to march on Washington. FDR decides that magic must be regulated and proposes a new-deal-type law that will require all magicals to register with the government and wear an identification badge.
Meanwhile, after receiving a phone call from Hell, the Grimnoir recognize that there???s a much greater magical threat that the American citizens are unaware of. Only the Grimnoir are equipped to handle it. Frustrated, they must take care of this alien evil while hiding from the government. Fortunately, they do have some really awesome magical powers, an unexpected powerful ally, and a lot of guns.
Once again, I???m surprised to find myself enjoying Larry Correia???s testosterone-pumping, gun-toting, blood-spurting, heads-rolling story, but there???s a lot more here than guns, guts and gore. There???s a large diverse set of likeable and fully-developed fictional and real historical characters, an interesting historical backdrop, plenty of action and suspense, some blood-chilling moments, and a few quirky elements, too, such as an army of robots and a black hole.
There???s also quite a bit of dark humor, which blends perfectly to lighten the mood just a bit when things get scary. I was always entertained by the scenes in which Lance takes over the body of an animal. I also love the adapted quotes at the beginning of the chapters, which put the story in its historical context. For example, one is from the New York Commissioner of Boxing who explains how, after Jack Johnson beat the Great White Hope, they bribed a referee and snuck in a Brute to end Johnson???s career (???Gotta keep the sport pure, y???know????).
Bronson Pinchot???s performance of Spellbound is nothing short of brilliant. There???s a large international cast here and Pinchot handles all of those accents with ease. He perfectly captures the excitement, horror, and humor of Spellbound. If you don???t read audiobooks, you might consider starting with this series. It???s a perfect example of how good audio can get.
There???s danger on the horizon, American opinion about magicals is unstable (are they public heroes or public enemies?), and many questions remain about the Power, its motives, and Faye???s ties to it. I???m looking forward to the next GRIMNOIR CHRONICLES book.
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.
I'd definitely recommend it. It's a very original story with lots of fascinating characters.
The two main characters of Jake and Faye...the most well-developed and complex characters. Good amount of humor thrown into each of their personalities.
Bronson Pinchot does an amazing job of giving each character his/her own unique voice. One thing I noticed between this book and the previous one ("Hard Magic") was that several of the character voices changed. Jane and Lance both changed significantly from an eastern european accent for Jane and a sort of midwestern accent for Lance in the first book to a midwestern accent for Jane and a country drawl for Lance in this book.
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.
Correia gives us just enough of the new along with just enough of the old in Spellbound. We get some dynamic new characters without losing the tight-knit feel of Pershing's Knights, we get some new villains and new stakes that are just as dire but from a whole new direction, and our understanding of The Power grows and develops very naturally, as if Correia had planned it this way all along.
Pinchot continues to amaze as he maintains his entire cast of characters from the previous book, and brings a while new set to life effortlessly.
A great stand-alone story from beginning to end, but with some new plot lines that will clearly continue into the third book. I absolutely devoured Spellbound after reading Hard Magic, and was eager for more at the end.