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Crimes Against Magic: The Hellequin Chronicles, Book 1 | [Steve McHugh]

Crimes Against Magic: The Hellequin Chronicles, Book 1

How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember? Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past and the only clues to his identity were a piece of paper with his name on it and a propensity toward magic. Now he’s a powerful sorcerer and a successful thief for hire, but it turns out that those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet. When they cause a job to go bad, threatening a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her.
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Publisher's Summary

How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can’t remember? Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past and the only clues to his identity were a piece of paper with his name on it and a propensity toward magic. Now he’s a powerful sorcerer and a successful thief for hire, but it turns out that those who stole his memories aren’t done with him yet. When they cause a job to go bad, threatening a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her. But with his enemies closing in and the barrier holding back his memories beginning to crumble, Nate is forced to confront his forgotten life in the hope of stopping an enemy he can’t remember. Crimes Against Magic is a dark, fast-paced urban fantasy torn between modern-day London and fifteenth-century France.

©2013 Steve McHugh (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (479 )
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4.2 (433 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Christopher Kenmore, WA, United States 11-21-13
    Christopher Kenmore, WA, United States 11-21-13 Member Since 2008

    What is there to say, I am a 40-something professional man with kids who like to listen to light books while on the bus to work.

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    "Excellent World"

    This take on the paranormal detective/mystery novel is one of the better worlds I have come across. In a nutshell, in this world all the old legends are true, the old gods are/were real etc... and now live in secret in the modern day world. A secret hidden island/land, called Avalon, is where the seat of power that rules these hidden entities resides. Our intrepid Hero runs afoul of an evil cabal out of Avalon, and must fight his way clear. What made this book for me was our intrepid hero. While he is definitely a "good guy", he is no overgrown boy scout. He is dark, angry, and at times vicious. He is more avenging angel then superman, if you know what I mean. The story itself while at times dark, is well written, intriguing and easy to follow and never gets so dark that you want to fast forward. Mr. McHugh is an excellent writer, who is able to keep his language simple while still remaining very descriptive as he paints his world. If you are looking for a light adult listen, I can highly recommend this book. I have already purchased the second novel and am looking forward to it.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wesley New Britain, CT, United States 10-28-13
    Wesley New Britain, CT, United States 10-28-13 Member Since 2012

    I love to read and since 2011 I have been mostly listening to audiobooks because oftentimes there is nothing like a good narrator.

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    "A good start to an interesting series"

    I was only able to give this book 4 stars for Story because although I really liked the book, it felt somewhat incomplete. Maybe it was the way it swapped back and forth between the two time lines, I don't know. Please don't misunderstand, I did like the book a lot, but each time I started really falling into the one time line story I was pulled back into the other. The two stories were well thought out and presented, my complaint isn't there....it's just that, well, maybe I'm not a fan of the split time line method.

    That said, I still had to rate the overall and story a full four stars. It was that good I think.
    The performance I gave 5 stars because the narrator is truly an artist. His narrating was good enough that often times I forgot I was hearing a reading, he had me so engrossed in the story.....know what I mean? It's hard to explain but please trust in this, James Langton is an artist and he really brought out the best in the novel.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliff madison, MS, United States 10-22-13
    Cliff madison, MS, United States 10-22-13 Member Since 2009

    I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)

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    "A good start."
    What did you love best about Crimes Against Magic?

    I like the main character he is interesting and you want to learn more about him.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Crimes Against Magic?

    The fight scenes are excellent. I particularly like the scene against the werewolves early in the book.


    Have you listened to any of James Langton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first I have heard of his work. I'll be honest, the guy has a thick accent and takes a bit of getting used to before you can settle in to enjoy the story. He range of voices is somewhat limited but good enough for this book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a fun book and the narrarator does a good job. I'd have given the narrartor a higher rating if he had a bit better range and his accent were not so thick.

    The story uses the worn out old amnesia trope. then again, it's a trope because it works well in novels. The story is interesting and leaves you wanting more. This one is worth a credit.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emiko Grannis, AR, United States 04-30-14
    Emiko Grannis, AR, United States 04-30-14 Member Since 2006
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    "If you like the Dresden files you will like this"

    If you are waiting for Skin Game by Jim Butcher to come out and are looking for something to read, this is it. I have been looking for something like Dresden for years and I finally found it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Veronica St. Louis, MO, United States 08-06-14
    Veronica St. Louis, MO, United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Testosterone IV Drip"

    I really enjoyed the world of the book, but then, I'm a sucker for anything that brings Arthurian stuff into a modern or magical setting. Crimes is a quick romp through a new urban fantasy setting, and for the most part I enjoyed it, even as it made me cringe. The reader did an excellent job with the material, but despite that, I'll be returning the book. I like fluffy brain candy as much as the next girl, but I still want a little more to my "diet" than a swimming pool's worth of cotton candy.

    Reader Beware:

    The main character is apparently made of pheromones, because he meets a female, any female, and if she's of age, she wants in his pants. There are a couple boring and completely unnecessary sex scenes.

    Strong female characters played by Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Book. There's even a tearful damsel in distress who is left broken-hearted after confessing her love for him, only to be rejected because he's too dark and dangerous to live in her safe world. Keep in mind, she's the daughter of an Irish crime boss stereotype.

    Gary Stu. 'Nuff said. This book is not about a character's growth from comfortably lost amnesiac to self-discovery. This book is about a badass being a badass until a woman sacrifices herself so that he can be a super big badass.

    Eventually, I couldn't envision the character anymore, just a giant James Bond style movie poster of Harry Dresden cosplaying John Taylor with two nearly-naked women twining about his legs as he holds aloft a giant, throbbing mcguffin.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tango Texas 06-24-14
    Tango Texas 06-24-14 Member Since 2012

    Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reads like a graphic novel"

    Reviews are just opinions and I appreciate anyone who takes time to write one. With all due respect though I have to disagree with the comparison of this series with the Dresden Files. Both series are urban fantasy with a magic-wielding male protagonist and that is about all they have in common. If you are looking for the multi-layered characters, intricate plots, fascinating magical system, snappy dialog, and interesting settings that have developed in the Dresden Files, you won't find it here. Hellequin may interest you if you like the graphic novel format - it reads much like a graphic novel translated to book form with a whole series of action scenes strung together, cartoonish characters (voluptuous women, violent men), and very little use of setting. (The story uses multiple periods in history and multiple geographical locations and yet is never evocative.) I am all for an action-packed novel, but the action sequences in Hellequin are all the same - someone is kidnapped and tortured, some woman throws herself at Nate (our "hero") and they have sex, Nate beats up the bad guy. There is some graphic sex, but no sexual tension in the story. There is a lot of action, but no suspense because Nate wins hands down against every "critter". The magical system is inconsistent and Nate seems to find a new power around every corner.

    I usually really like James Langton's narration, but I agree with another reviewer that he was the wrong choice for this book. His posh British accent doesn't work with an anti-hero who is long on violence and short on finesse.

    I got the first two books in an Audible 2-for sale and they were OK for the price. I won't get anymore in the series. If you love Dresden, you won't necessarily love Hellequin. (You won't even know what Hellequin is until book 2.)

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne MONROE, GA, United States 02-12-14
    Suzanne MONROE, GA, United States 02-12-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Crimes Against Magic heats up Urban Fantasy"

    I started this series with the recommendation from a forum with regard to finding series that were similar to the Dresden Files. I was NOT disappointed at all. Nate is quite the wizard/mage but in this first installment the author reveals how he came to be without being trite or patronizing the listener/reader. I enjoy the references to past historical/mythical figures and the fact that he keeps the listener's attention to the present problems facing the character. It's a great listen/read, definitely worth the time and effort to listen. The narrator has a tough British demeanor that isn't over-the-top nor is it "wimpy" as some Brits have a tendency to sound like. I suggest that if you're looking for a good listen/read, this book will fit the bill.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Selzler San Jose, Ca 01-19-14
    Bruce Selzler San Jose, Ca 01-19-14 Member Since 2012

    SezWho

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    "Mixed Feelings"

    This was a strange listening experience. I want to say up front that I liked the book. However it is definitely a mixed bag. And I definitely understand some of the comments Im seeing being written about the content.

    First, the narration struck me as odd in style. Langton has a "very proper" british accent. While he's easy to follow and understand, I was originally having a problem with his stylistic approach to the content. The story has a "gritty" feel to it, however Langton's reading style reminded me of someone reading "Winnie the Pooh". A very odd paring. And when Langton tries to adopt a "hard" tone, it sounds a little forced by comparison.

    However Ido have to say that after a few chapters I started feeling like the tone was more of a British "understatement" style, which I like, and I got a little more in tune with the subtle sarcasm and ironic commentary. But Im not entirely sure whether that was me dealing with the narration or if it was Langton shifting the emphasis of his reading.

    The story writing here is strong, and the characters are interesting and fun to follow. But it does jump back and forth in a timeline with different character story lines. It can be difficult to follow but thats not necessarily the problem. The real issue is that this timeline jumping doesn't do that much to propel the story. And frankly isn't that necessary to the overall story arc. It does help to define some character development, but Im left thinking that all that jumping around wasn't necessary and that the story could have been better served using a different approach.

    But, overall its a pretty fun listen. I may or may not continue the series. But Im glad I read this one.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Dustman hanging out in San Diego 11-21-13
    Sean Dustman hanging out in San Diego 11-21-13 Member Since 2008

    Doc in the Box

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An information intense fantasy download"

    This is the first book of the Hellequin series that opens a door in to a fully fleshed world that lives underneath the skin of ours. I purchased this on Audible because it popped up on my feed based on other fantasy that I had purchased and it had good reviews and was cheap, like 7.34 cheap for an almost 11 hour book.

    What can go wrong?

    In the present, the main character, Nate Garrett, had woke up 10 years a prior with no memory of who he was and found out that he can do magic and has since turned into a magical thief for hire. Then the next chapter takes place in the middle ages and he is a warrior sorcerer who is the is the hit man for Merlin. In the present, his past catches up with him and the stories come together to something that links these two times together.

    This book was information dense, meaning if I wasn’t paying attention, I would miss plot points. I tend to fall asleep with my MP3 player on a 15 minute timer and this book kept me up for hours past my bedtime resetting the timer. This is sort of the way I judge audiobooks, this was fast paced, the plot twists were devious and what plot holes it had were totally left there intentionally. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Advice? Pick it up while it’s still cheap in any format and hold on.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Oshkosh, WI, United States 08-02-14
    Brian Oshkosh, WI, United States 08-02-14 Member Since 2006

    Im some guy in Oshkosh, WI that walks to work and has found the joy of listening to good books and values good narrators :).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heres the thing..."

    This book is neither good or bad, It doesn't really have characters that you dislike but also doesn't provide you much of a reason to like the ones that are there. If this book was a color it would be "grey" but then couldn't make up its mind and would call itself "gray".

    It feels harsh to write that but I can't make up my mind on it.The world building is just weird and not well thought out, it sets up rules but then violates them for convenance. Heres are a couple examples. Nate is a sorcerer and controls 2 elements, Air and Fire. You cant control more than 2. But there are multiple times that Nate uses Air magic to wrap around someone and crush their chest, just like a.... wait for it... "Russian water tentacle"...:) sorry, every time he used it that came to mind. Or uses air magic to suffocate someone to put them to sleep. Which sounds to me like "water". He uses fire against other magic users and burn them but when he uses it on a table hes tied to he apparently has flameproof skin. Im a Harry Dresden fan, theres a scene in one of his books where Harry uses fire in a similar way and burns his hand into uselessness which plagues him for the next couple of books. In this book when Nate gets wounded or hurt he's back to scratch a few pages later. In that way he's a lot like superman and its difficult caring much about superman because most of the situations he gets into theres no consequences to his actions or failures.

    The sad thing is that Ive put more thought into writing this review than Ive needed to put into reading the book. I think it has some interesting areas it can go into and maybe its holding a lot back to pour into the the next books. It introduces werewolf's and vampires and they seem interesting maybe it will gain some traction there.

    In short, its a book you don't have to think to much about while listening and there room for books like this. If you wanted something similar but better written then Id suggest checking out the "Dresden Files", "Iron Druid series", or maybe even the "Greywalker series". As for me Im considering the second book but am looking at my wish list for other things.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Joscha
    Germany
    2/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Soooo good!"

    I love the story! I love the characters. I love the reader! Unexpected stuff happened. I love the idea about living through the centuries, I listened to this one and immediately bought the second one, which is as good! Waiting for the next book...

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    5/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Completely immersed!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is a fantastic mix of supernatural beings. Utterly believe able and a joy to listen too. As soon as I finished this book I was completely hooked and so went on to buy book two and three of the trilogy.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Crimes Against Magic?

    I particularly enjoyed how the book wove together a take of the present and the past -1400's.


    Have you listened to any of James Langton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No I haven't but I really enjoyed his narration and will certainly be searching for more in the future.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This isn't really a story that moved me but certainly had me hooked from the very beginning.


    Any additional comments?

    Absolutely fantastic book and would highly recommend.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    Knaresborough, United Kingdom
    6/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Extremely good listen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book as a good listen. It was easy to follow the characters and the motivation behind them.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Holly as she seems to be an unsung hero who ends up losing her heart only to lose it.


    What about James Langton’s performance did you like?

    Depicted the characters well as if he assimulated the characters and voices


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book kept my attention and did not drag was a good listen I hope the other books in the series do not disappoint.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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