Larry Correia has already made a name for himself in the sci-fi/fantasy world with his Monster Hunter books, but now he's written the first in new series that takes place in New York in the 1930s, filled with dubious federal agents, hardboiled detectives, and dames with a whole lotta chutzpah. Except this isn't quite the New York you might expect, but an alternate universe where zeppelins moor at the top of the Empire State Building, the Titanic never sank and mad scientist Nikola Tesla has created a devastating weapon called the Geo-Tel. Oh, and people have magical powers. They are known as Actives. It's become commonplace for some people to defy gravity, teleport, manipulate animals, and heal by touch. The hero here is Jake Sullivan, a detective and ex-con who is set free by the FBI to track criminal Actives, which J. Edgar Hoover (yeah, he's still around) would like to eradicate.
Actor Bronson Pinchot has become a regular go-to for audiobooks and the reason is obvious – the guy knows how to bring a story to life. Far from his manic days as Balki on Perfect Strangers, Pinchot is a warm, imminently listenable narrator. He's obviously having a ball with Hard Magic, gruffing up his voice for the hardboiled Jake and the various G-men and employing a countrified voice for Faye, a young farm girl who can teleport across great distances and becomes vital to saving the world from destruction by the Geo-Tel. Pinchot gives each character a different voice, so it's easy to keep up with the big cast. Correia writes long, colorful descriptions of his characters and their situations, but those passages never become boring and never get in the way of the action, thanks to Pinchot.
Steampunk lovers will find much to love about Hard Magic, but listners who love big guns and explosions will be in hog heaven. There are epic, cinematic battles including one over-the-top of a dirigible that is audaciously impossible. Hard Magic almost defies categorization, because Correia has no problem blending science fiction with more fanciful fantasy, even managing to slip in double-headed dragons and imps. The second book in the Grimnoir Chronicles, Spellbound, is coming and let's hope Pinchot has signed on for the audio version. Collin Kelley
Jake Sullivan is a licensed private eye with a seriously hardboiled attitude. He also possesses raw magical talent and the ability to make objects in his vicinity light as a feather or as heavy as depleted uranium, all with a magical thought. It's no wonder the G-men turn to Jake when they need someone to go after a suspected killer who has been knocking off banks in a magic-enhanced crime spree.
Problems arise when Jake discovers the bad girl behind the robberies is an old friend, and he happens to know her magic is just as powerful as his. And the Feds have plunged Jake into a secret battle between powerful cartels of magic-users - a cartel whose ruthless leaders have decided that Jake is far too dangerous to live.
©2011 Larry Correia (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
I'm actually a day old tart, filled with maple custard. Perhaps, this reads as a rational introduction to others, and you are deliberately misreading it, because, come on, maple custard.
I picked this up on a 4.95 sale, and was happily surprised. It's a unique hard boiled alternate history 1920's crime fiction. Bootlegging, bank robbery, Model T's, the Great Depression, Okies, Portuguese pride, helium derigibles. Larry Correia really covers his bases. It's like getting a window into the past, with magic. Famous quotes by Einstein, Tesla, Hoover, and many other notables are altered to make them appear to be Actives. The main character is an Active which reminds me of Marv from Frank Miller's Sin City, or Shadow from Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I would gladly have paid the regular price to hear this book.
Bronson Pinchot has a very VERY masterful range of character voices. I mean this is a guy that can convincingly manage an Okie country drawl, and an aged Portuguese rancher, and make it sound easy.
The only thing I could possibly dislike, is that his version of a certain slow speaking character is so convincingly hypnotic I have trouble staying awake, and catch myself holding my breath for the next word. He was probably intending that response. It's like listening to my history teacher on a warm day.
1*=I didn't like it..... 2*=It was OK...... 3*=It was good but I will never read it again.......... 4*=Maybe I will read it again in the future.............. 5*=I will definitely read it again(maybe more than once)
Publisher's Summary is the worst kind possible!!!!
It tells facts which definitely relate to the current story
but it doesn't tell you the most important bits, so let me:
Alternate Universe 1930s
Famous Events and Characters
And all of it written by Larry Correia (author of MHI)
If you need any more reasons to spend your credit, listen to the sample and enjoy amazing narration by Bronson Pinchot.
This was a fun book. I would say its a mix of Sam Spade, Indiana Jones, the A-team, and and odd Alt-history. It might not be the best book I have ever read, but it was a great read.
I love it and respect when a single narrator can portray a different voice for each character, male and female, several nationalities, and keep it straight throughout the book. Every time Mr Pinchot reads dialogue, you can identify who's doing the talking, and he really brings the characters to life in my head. If you've ever listened to Correia before you know he loves describing all the firearms with passion of a real shooter and he brings that to this series as well but to a lesser degree, which to me is a nice change of pace and allows room for the brand of magic involved as well as how the magic affects the martial arts in this book. I feel this puts this series on a leval above monster hunters intl, which I was a fan of and led me to give this a try.
The story,plot,setting, and characters are improved over MHI, but my hat's off to Mr. Pinchot for stealing the show.
The villian, The Chairman. I love it when things aren't black and white. By defeating the unbeatable villian you risk running into a worse villian, then wishing you had the help of your defeated foe!?
Tie between Faye and Sullivan
Sullivan bring new meaning to "heavy duty"
Great, original book, with a good follow up with the second book. Like no story that's come before it.
I loved everything about this book. The characters were interesting and likable/hatable. The story was well told, with plenty of unexpected twists and fresh ideas. I really like the alternative history meets science fiction/fantasy convention. I was sad that it ended, but glad to know there was another book in the series. I will gobble that one up very soon.
I personally pledge allegiance to the Grimnoir.
Also, I want to say something about Bronson Pinchot. The guy is an amazing, amazing narrator. Sure, he was fun to watch on TV and in the movies. But reading books like this one, as well as others (Matterhorn springs to mind) seems, to me at least, to be the ideal expression of his particular performer's genius. He is working his butt off here and as a listener, I can't thank him enough. He can create a dozen characters, male and female, and each one stands on their own sonic merits. I work in the audio medium from time to time and I know how difficult such a thing is to accomplish, and I just have to say, bravo, Mr. Pinchot. You make it look/sound easy.
I came into this book with little expectation. Having heard the first two Monsters Inc. Books, and enjoying them, I thought I would give this one a go.
I really enjoyed the story, found the concepts intriguing and the characters solid. The voice work of Bronson Pinchot added depth and brought the characters to life, making this a 5 star pick for me.
Looking forward to the next book in this series
Hi, I'm an alumi of NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I'll give you guys the goods.
You owe it to yourself to buy this book. This author is amazing and ORIGANAL! This novel is a bit of a departure from M.H.I but in a great way, that makes it stand on it's own. The characters are very deep and easy to fall in love with. The action secqances are amazing. In short I loved this f--king book.
Long commute = Lots of time for audiobooks
Ehh. It's steampunk X-Men. The characters have magical powers instead of mutations. The good guys just want to be accepted and live peacefully in society, and they're led by a feeble old dude. The bad guys think they're superior to the rest of humanity and want to enslave and/or kill everyone. It's just....not very original. The writing is fine - pretty much what you'd expect. The narration is solid, though for some reason I didn't love Sullivan's southern accent, but I'm a southerner and may just be particular about such things.
This book made me realize I'm probably just not that into alternate histories. I love fantasy and sci-fi, and I even enjoy speculative historical fiction like Wolf Hall. But I got the sense that the author made decisions based on how he wished history had gone down rather than on what would make for the most compelling story. But making actual historical events about magic rather than about the complex social and political realities that drove them....it's a bit flip. That's his prerogative, but I didn't love it.
I can totally understand why a lot of people seem to love this book - the author certainly seems to have a loyal following. It just really wasn't for me.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
The idea behind this amazing novel is that of an alternate reality set during the 1930's in which patches of mankind has developed magical abilities. Aside from the story, the author examines all of the problems that present themselves with what amounts to a wonderful new form of technology.
I must also mention that out of all the hundred-some audio books that I have purchased, this book's narrator ranks among the best I have EVER heard. He manages to create a new, unique voice for every single one of the characters, almost up to the point that it feels like you are listening to a radio drama. Amazing work.
I have yet to listen to the 2nd and 3rd novels in this series but have already spent my credits on them and look forward to 2 more mind-bending experiences.
9.6 / 10
Wasn't sure about this book but listened to the first 2 Monster Hunter International (which was cool that they were based in Alabama) and thought I would try this. I fell in love with Jake Sullivan. The quotes from and about 'famous' people were hysterical! The sequel, Spellbound, is already out in book form - but I'm going to wait for the audio. Just hope Bronson Pinchot will get the read. His voices were great.
Another reviewer mentioned that they found the narrator's accent difficult to understand in places, but I thought all his accents and voices were spot on and superb. I didn't have any trouble understanding him.
The story is excellent and unlike anything I've read before: a comic detective novel with plenty of action-packed magic, and more than a few moving scenes.
The Grim Noir are a magical organisation sworn to protect the innocent - usually humans with magical abilities persecuted by both non-magical people and the sinister Chairman, who experiments on children and performs other atrocities in the name of strength and race purity.
Jake Sullivan, former prison inmate and P.I., reluctantly joins forces with one of the few remaining units of the Grim Noir to protect the magical world from the Chairman and his most evil and feared Iron Guard - who also happens to be Jake's older brother...
The whole story is told in exciting and action-filled chapters from the perspectives of several different characters - each with varying degrees of both magical ability and morality - that help draw in the reader and explain the rules of this reality, its history, and its current political situation, without any flagging of pace or feeling that you're having to get through a lot of boring exposition (which is often a common failing in the sci-fi / fantasy genre).
The villains were realistic, their motives were understandable (if deeply flawed), and every single character was so brilliantly crafted, with such unique voices and perspectives, that it was truly a pleasure to listen to and I was sad to reach the end.
I really hope there is a sequel, I would love to know more about the Knights of the Grim Noir (especially Fay, Sullivan, and Heimrich) and to know how they will tackle the continuing threat to the source of all magic.
Lastly, I agree with the other reviewer; the 'historical' quotes at the beginning of each chapter added a sense of realism, and I loved them.
This book just didn't gel for me. There are a lot of fight sequences and I found these difficult to follow. I got the end of Part One and didn't bother with Part Two. I wasn't engaged by any of the characters. Entirely my fault as I wanted to try something I wouldn't usually read but sadly this genre isn't for me. As always though with Audible the quality of the reading is terrific.
"Truly recommended listen"
My only gripe with this book is that, on very rare occasions, about twice in the entire fifteen hours, the otherwise superb reader becomes difficult to understand due to his accent. This was nothing that couldn't be remedied however by a quick rewind and a little bit of effort put into a second listen.
On the other hand this is an excellent piece of fiction superbly mixing a world of magic and power with 1930's America. The main characters are to a one engaging and more than enough to carry you through this pleasingly long tale on their own. The author has obviously put a lot of effort into altering earth's history to accommodate the power of sorcerers and this is emphasized by short sections at the beginning of every chapter, my favourite being a speech aboard the Titanic on its fifth anniversary voyage.
If you enjoy this audible book then be sure to check out the Skulduggery Pleasant series while you wait for the no doubt excellent sequel.
"Really Great Pulp Book"
I just wanted to say i totally love this book. Interesting story and interesting setting to have it in. Really looking forward to the follow up.
Great story, creative narrator who voiced each characters differently and made the characters come a live and each their own personality. Loved it. Already got next book in series.
"Lary does it again"
yes i would. I love worlds that dont do info dumps and let you pick it up from the rich world. laary creates a rich world that you fall into like no ones business.
browning as he made it possible to have 50 cals ina siege . it was awesome people.
he really brought a politicians skill to the story of changing everything round. was a dizzying ride.
yes there was joy and fun and definite kick ass moments.
there are some many reasons to listen to this books. strong characters. strong powers . kick ass moments all over the place. i mean he fell out of a zeplin. you just need this book in your library all over.
The Characters of Faye and Sullivan are great action hero protagonists. The rich story blended with real history make for a great listen
At first I wasn't sure about how fantastical the story was (I expected a more subtle noir story). Once I readjusted my expectations of a more bombastic action fantasy I loved so much about the story. Great characters, interesting historical anchoring and the richness of the world and peoples magical abilities makes for a fun ride. Prep two more credits for the sequels!
Honestly, I got used to Faye and Sullivan's voices as performed by Pinchot, but something was a little off for me. However his performance overall is worthy of five stars as he keeps the rest of the characters charming and interesting. I particularly liked Lance and Heinrich, but all of the supporting characters are great.
Smile more than laugh. Frown more than cry.
A great listen which begs the question: how could a sequel top this, but they some how do. Give it a try if your up for something different.
"Alternative timeline detective novel, with magic!"
A great story, well narrated!
Some really strong characters (literally), a solid plot and a great concept.
This book was on offer from audible and it seemed a little extreme for my scifi/fantasy tastes and so I picked it up with scepticism, I was really pleased with my choice and after listening to the first chapter I was hooked.
The book kept me gripped all they way through and left me feeling a little disappointed when I had to put it down, a good mix of magic fantasy and noir.
For a sceptic I went on to progress through the next three books pretty much back to back, I would certainly recommend.
"Love a bit of Magic!"
Very enjoyable - although not at all my usual sort of thing! I got quite caught up with the characterisation too!
"A good start"
Once you get past the first few chapters things settle down and start getting good. As this is the first book in a series you can see just how much world building the author is doing and how much of a slog it's going to be getting through it all but it's worth it. The world is full and fun, the characters are wide and varied, in style and abilities, and the story is simple enough not to confuse while your dealing with the origin story
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