MH Alpha is the one book in the series in which Pitt does not make an appearance. Rather, this story is completely about Harbinger with his past, present, and future. Now just because the rest of the MHI staff isn't in the story (other than random references), doesn't mean this story is less. Quite the contrary, I found it to be a very compelling and interestingly complete guide to werewolves. We learn much more about the history of MHI, the MCB, the relationship between Stark and Harbinger, and much more detail on the MH universe while being introduced to some new characters from the past and present.
I actually enjoyed the continuity of this book more than the others and was very satisfied with the climax and conclusion. Now I need an Alpha 2 to find out what happens next.
Regarding the performance of Wyman, it was top notch, as usual. I did find his voice for Nikolai to be a bit distracting because, to my ear, it was a rather good impression of Christopher Walken so that's whom I pictured Nikolai as looking like as well. LOL!
It's certainly worth your time as you'll be sucked into it in no time. Just be aware going in that it's not the exact formula as the other MH books in the series but it does maintain the timeline.
Right from the moment that Jake literally answers a phone call from hell to the destruction of the newest nemesis, this book kept me on the edge of my seat. Every fight, whether it be with demons, Iron Guard, or good-old-fashioned normal non-magical agents took on Correia's signature style of violence, strategy, and mayhem.
The powers-that-be are simply ignorant of the true threat to their world, preferring instead to favor their own personal agenda (what else is new?) and the Grimnoir are pretty much on their own to save us from ourselves as well as the newest threat that makes the Chairman look like a pouting child in comparison.
The whole Grimnoir crew does their thing again in Correia's own original universe based in a modified 1930's time-line while employing a very thought-provoking, original, and unique magic system that we were introduced to in the first book, Hard Magic. For the second book, he fleshes out yet more details of the nature of the Entity, it's purpose, and it's natural enemies as well as new information on the mechanics of the magical universe.
Correia's description of his monsters are all very unique and his ability to rationalize their existence in the world allowed me to suspend my reality and fully engage my imagination. A good example would be his description of Zombies from the first book; always feeling the pain of their death until they become insane with rage and jealousy. His explanation of demons in this book is equally as satisfying.
I think this book would be worth a second listen as there's just so much detail in the various scenes. I enjoyed it all the way through as we were getting to know the "real" Crowe and especially loved the final encounter with him toward the end as all of the bad guys got their comeuppance. I couldn't help but feel a bit bad for them though as I realized that they were just victims of their own environment.
This book finishes the story to my satisfaction and doesn't leave a cliff hanger to agonize over until the next writing. However, it does setup the next book in such a way that I can't wait to read it.
Waiting for book 3 is going to be long and painful and will surely drive me insane. Now I know how those zombies feel...
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.
This was the most intense and action-packed of any of the series and I couldn't wait for the next listening session to find out what happens from the build-up all the way to the conclusion. There were a lot of sub-plots, twists, and turns but not a lot of extraneous background building (presumably because the work had been done in the prior books).
I was also very satisfied with the conclusion. The loose ends were wrapped up and every major player got their time in the spotlight. I especially loved how Rand realized what his true goals were going to be during his battle with the dark one and the role that Callandor played in the final battle.
Just a really good book.
Okay, so I like to be open-minded about "chick-lit" so I tend not prejudge books based on gender interest. I thought this would be a good action, fantasy but, alas, I was wrong. There's waaaay too much sex and feelings for my liking and not nearly enough combat. Yeah, 3 or 4 good scenes but mostly a what-if-somebody-from-1945-landed-in-1745 with historical accuracy. And modern (Dr. Spock) sentiments on child-rearing from a 1945 nurse? Suuuure. The entire story line was a very intricate female sex fantasy for the "perfect" sex partner. Tough like an ancient highlander who will take a buggering to save his lassie, but sensitive as a modern metrosexual that has the staying power of a bull with the experience of a child. Oh, and by the way, a noble as well with powerful allies. Sorry, but after the 15th love scene I was ready to nail my own ears to the stockades.
Not to be completely negative, it does have some good fight scenes and probably accurate details about life in the 1700 highlands of Scotland. I'll pass on the rest of the series.
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