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.
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.
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 a cop, 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.
Somewhere in the middle
Pinchot's narration was absolutely golden.
I enjoyed this book, but it felt odd to me the entire time. I enjoyed that the heroes didn't fall into stereotypical roles (that much) - but the "get 'er done" nature of one of the main characters (Sullivan) was a bit too much. I don't want to give anything away, but the military love and MY GOD THE GUNS was a bit much. With Browning being a semi god-like figure... it was kind of ridiculous.
And then I read a bio of Larry Correia and things started to fall into place. Former gun shop owner, moved to Utah to join the Mormon church, etc. Which started to explain the "magic" that began to show up on Earth in the middle of the 1800s... what a coincidence...
Authors push their views into books all the time. One of my favorites (Dan Simmons) is well-known for sprinkling (fire-hosing) his books with conservative themes. I'm generally OK with this. I don't want to think I'm so entrenched in my world view that I can't go on a trip into someone else's.
Guns and "just blow it all up" mixed with magical cultism just made me feel like I sat through a visit from the annoying people that show up on your door step in their black ties. I want to see this book as a work of fiction... but the philosophy behind it is just flat-out scary.
I know the author was trying to capture a magical version of the early 20th century, but there were some archaic/questionable words that hold a lot of racial hurt in them still (WWII nickname for Japanese people, archaic words for black people, etc). It felt overused and drew away from the story with the amount the words were tossed in. Also, geez, the narrator put so much work into the voices that you'd think he would have worked to make the Okie accents less obnoxious and the women less whiny. Very good narrator, but women drive key parts of the plot and the voices get used a lot. Only one woman felt like a non-stereotyped character. Asian characters were mostly stereotyped as well.
Overall, the story kept me hooked. But I doubt I'll keep following the series, considering my misgivings with this book.
"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
Very enjoyable lots of interesting characters using historic references and a good story line what more do you need in a book
"Loved this book"
The book is excellent and the reader is fantastic. Don't be put off (or fooled) by the 'comedy' cover illustration, this isn't any kind of parody or novelty story. It's a ripping yarn, loads of fun, but fun in a serious, gun-whelding, bone crunching, bloody kind of way.
The description, much like the cover, is a bit off. It's more Boy's Own adventure thriller with magic than hard boiled detective. Thoroughly enjoyable. Have already bought the second book in the series.
"So American but Really Enjoyable"
Great ready for southern belle accents, loads of bad language and descriptive emphasis on big guns and a complete, unique blending and overhaul of American war history!!
Once you get comfortable with the bad language and the authors love with everything big, you'll begin to appreciate the author's intellect, his in depth knowledge and fascination with American history and probably physics which enables him to give a convincing and enjoyable re-telling of history!!
I really enjoyed the book but, it's the narrator's performance that really did it for me, it really placed me into the world of all things American!!
This book is not something I'd have readily picked, but I'm glad I did, it was a welcome change even though it would never make my top 100 sci-fi books to read!!
"An instant fav! I can't wait for the sequels"
Very high indeed! high literature its not but its fun colourful and full of imagination and character. This book has many likeable characters and an action filled pot it was a pleasure to read.
it was an excellent performance and really brought the book to life.
"All I could ask for in a fantasy audiobook!"
This series really does have it all. A cunningly well - wrought plot, engaging characters who change and develop as the tale progresses, adventure, wit .... and all of it brilliantly read by Bronson Pinchot brings the whole series to vibrant life. I cannot reccomend this whole series too highly.
The way it changes history with a few "what if" premises.
Sullivan, closely followed by Fay.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and while it might not be fair to the authors/performers i judge everything against my staple weekly diet of decoder ring theatre and scott sigler. This looked interesting as i had just come off the back of a dresden files novel and the rivers of london series in kindle format. I needed something for in the car and this sounded like fun.I was right.This novel expects you to keep up and pay attention while still holding the popcorn style fun factor. Sure it can be a little violent at times but nothing too bad and maybe the plotting is a little erratic but the characterisation and smooth delivery make it a superb listen. I enjoyed it so much I'm now going to download the next one. See you on the other side.
"Top-notch steampunk swashbuckler"
Awesome adventure story, keeps moving, lots of great characters, and the narrator hits it out of the park! Definitely goes to the top of my "must re-read" list!
"A whirlwind action fantasy"
If you want fast pace, gun toting action incorporating a bit of magic thrown in to add spice then you could do a lot worse than this. I can't put my finger on why I liked it, but I did and I'll be getting the whole series. Though it's a audio book it's one "I couldn't put down" ;-)
"So much more than the synopsis"
Not my usual kind of book (that's more hard SF) but the steam-punk was "coherent" and that was a pleasant surprise and the story is good...
It's much more than you would expect from reading the editorial synopsis - that synopsis takes you about a quarter of the way into the story. In the rest you'll learn more of this world's magical paradigm, the heroes save the world and a soul.
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