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.
Yes, I had to the kids wanted to listen to it
The fight between the two brothers
No, I haven't
Well thought through
Optical Engineer from San Jose, CA.
Hard Magic is probably an 8 out of 10 in comparison of other audiobooks I have listened to: very entertaining, but doesn't quite make you laugh out loud, and it *is* possible to stop listening when it is 3 am and you have to get up for work in the morning...but only barely. The scenes are very suspensful, and it is, overall, a fun ride. Some of the characters are endearing, and the world itself is intriguing. I will certainly be buying the follow-on books in the series.
Alternate history and 1930's film noir are super collided with a magic and incredible action in a tale that keeps you wanting more. Original Characters in a fiercely original world, and guess what? Book 2 is even better! Get in on the ground floor and enjoy the ride. Oh and big ups to Broson Pinchot, the narration is perfect.
The Characters! You will come to love them like friends. Book 2 is great fun, and you will look forward to seeing the characters evolve and grow.
The end is an epic finally!
I've listened to the other stories by Mr. Correla (monster hunter series) and I felt that this was a better story due to the original perspective and character study of the pulp superhero.
The performance by Mr. Pinchot is terrific. The range of voices ranging from the manly hero 'Sullivan' to the country hick female 'Fay' is believable and easy on the ears.
I'm glad I have this in my library.
Bravo! I'll be looking for the second story.
It seems a little redundant to write yet another rave review for this book so I'll keep it short and try to hit the points I think other summaries/reviews have soft pedaled or omitted.
-- It's wildly imaginative but, like the best imaginative works, keeps to an internal logic that constrains and contains the action. Especially for books with a strong detective / spy story angle (this being more of the latter despite the Film Noir homage) this is vital for coherence and credibility. Correia does an excellent job of establishing magic as just another force in his fantasy world, analogous to the four forces we know, not as some sort of grab bag of plot devices.
-- It's actually very violent, and quite grim, in spots. In the audible production the book is given a gloss by Pinchot's narration that makes it easy not to stop and think about how violent some of the imagery is. It's not a criticism: I like action books, and this is a good one, but be warned if this might bother you.
-- A really good action book requires a really good villain and the way "The Chairman" is treated in this is quite good. What starts out looking like a Fu Manchu stereotype is actually a fairly interesting character and very powerful and smart.
-- Pinchot's narration is fantastic. The way he establishes and uses a large number of character voices is excellent. His work is so good that I think it actually improves the story: there were parts that seemed flawless when I listened to them but, when I thought back about them later, I could see some issues the author had with maintaining a consistent tone that I think would have bothered me in a print version.
I am really looking forward to other books in this series and will be terribly disappointed if Pinchot doesn't read them all.
I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!
I listen to A LOT of Audiobooks, so this is a really hard question to answer - in terms of pure entertainment, this was a great book. I thought the mix of characters were interesting and the world Correia builds is strangely fantastic but also believable. I only gave the book 4 stars, but I'm grading on a steep curve. Will this book change your life and make you a better person? No.
Will it provide you with hours of entertainment, make you smile, and eagerly download the next book in the series? Yep.
I think Correia does a great job of taking an Alt. History, and mashing it up with classic pulp genres (noir, superheros and classic science fiction) . Pinchot does a good job with the characters - I honestly think he had a lot of fun with the interactions between the characters in how he interprets the dialog.
Like all great Narrators, Pinchot doesn't just read the book, he performs it. I didn't feel his performance was ever a distraction from the story. Some of the accents were a little thick, but I really enjoyed his reading.
A lot of cliff-hanger moments. The bad-guys are really bad, the good guys are good - its what you expect from this kind of book.
Great book - you'll enjoy it
5 stars is i love and i will read agani and again. 1 is i hate and i never want to hear about it ever again. YES = :))) - NO= :'(
When I finished the 3 books from Monster Hunter International series, i noticed this series. I wasn't sure if it will be as good as MHI.... And of course it is as good .... if not better.. i love it.
the narrator is really good, and he did a really good job with putting southern accent and european accent on different characters.
give it a listen, if you like MHI series you will like this as well.
The book did start off with a bang. It was great - amodern world history re-written where people had magic.
The book has great character shells. There's so much interesting stuff in the book. However, the author's execution was lacking. The novel had so many interesting scenes and set pieces, but the author leaned towards the character brooding and big noting themselves, that after a while it got too much.
It always helps in fantasy novels if your main character has the biggest power and thus can claim omnipotency. This was certainly the case in this book.
The book definitely started lagging and I really felt the author needed to get a move on. Larry focussed too much on repeating each characters - he could have done a flashback to the original fight for the Tessla device. But instead, there were multiple references to it. For all its worth, nobody talked about how Tessla ended up with the device, etc.
However, in defence of the author, he had enough characters in the book to deal with. The audiobook is also well narrated by Bronson Pinchot.
Overall, it's not a bad book. It has interesting characters (some better developed than others), cool magic system, interesting re-written world history and strong fight scenes (where some main characters die). It's biggest negatives remains its dragging pace in certain sections and some execution and scene selection issues.
The first book in this series is packed with all of the action expected from a novel written by Correia. The story and characters are fantastic, and the main characters are like superheroes. The only problem I had was with Bronson Pinchot's narration. I wasn't impressed. He certainly was not as fun to listen to as Oliver Wyman, and I really wasn't impressed with how there was no change in delivery when the action was going on. The character's tone never changed when they were supposed to be shouting, and half of the characters sounded like they were either high on something, or complete morons. The story and experience was what you would expect from Correia though, it keeps you listening.
I found this book a bit slow to start, but I persevered and and I'm very glad I did.
The characters are appealing and well-delineated, the evil guys are truly evil.
The story is set mostly in post World War I America and the alternate reality resounds very closely to history--both in what was going on and in attitudes of the time.
Many people exhibit different magical characteristics and a maverick "heavy", not so dumb as he looks and sounds, becomes a leading force in the fight against the approaching evil.
The ending took an unexpected turn--clever plotting Mr. Correia!
I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the next one.
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