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.
The book was performed fairly well, but the voice used for the main character was not consistent, sometimes having a slow southern drawl, and at other times being almost accentless. It was easy to clearly differentiate between the other characters.
It is set in the a historic version of the U.S. and had quotes and references from historically significant figures that lent a sense of realism to the alternate universe that was created. Also, the story went above and beyond simple fantasy and magic users, but provided a compelling back story that motivated me to want to continue to follow the series and see how the characters from this book fare later on.
Vintage, supernatural, acton-adventure = PULP!
I could say "Spell Bound" but that's the 2nd book in this series. I gues I'll say 7 wonders. An Action/super hero novel seen from an adult view point, written with wit, smarts, and no fear of hard core action scenes.
Brilliant reading, acting really. He a whole cast in one man (both women and men with many accents and ages) and I can paint while "reading" books... my two favorite things to do!
Oh yes, if I could. This was a near perfect book. I liked that is was LONG... so much good story!
I love so many things about this book. It's amazing how many things on my strange check list of "What I would want to read about in a book" that this book got right! 1.) I Love the time period. 2.) I love the magical powers that were used with like super powers. 3.) I love the very well researched historical tid-bits and frame work. 4.) I love the action-heavy scenes that go on and on in great exciting detail. 5.) I love the sense of humor, yet the very serious situations and violence. You never feel the material is being taken too lightly, as a joke. No, it's a deadly serious situation, with real people with a lot of real skills and powers who rely on their own dry wit and humor to make it through crazy things and come out sane. And 6.) Magic & Monsters! Magic powers & Monsters well thought out. Smart writing. 7.) Bad guys with real reasons behind what they do and why they are doing it. 8.) A great big ending... I love a pulp/action/adventure writer who can bring up the story to a bigger and bigger earth shaking climax! Larry Correia is just such a writer. He's good... he's really damned good. He's GREAT at writing PULP! I love good pulp, and I hope Larry Correia writes a whole mess more! Bravo!
This is a really entertaining book and the narration is among the best of the 100s of books I've listened to.
As a long-term listener of audiobooks, I downloaded this purely based on the review profile. And I have heard a remarkable variety of great stories. This has to be one of the best and most unexpected delights I have encountered (ever since Shantaram). This is a sci-fi kind of story, but it is much deeper than that. This is a story for those not into sci-fi will enjoy - it represents a very simple and elegant concept, another version of human history which is fascinating.
The historical reflections throughout, the twists on human history from the 1800's, Albert Einstein, WW I -- it all is wonderfully done, and based on simplicity. An alternate world which things come alive. I personally love the timeframe (1930's) where the Prohibition is active, with all the hallmarks of a well-thought-out universe and characters.
The story itself is made up of some quite intriguing characters, and both sides of the story held my interest. The writing style is refreshing, certainly not laboured, and demonstrates a great deal of skill.
I am three quarters finished and I am already downloading the second book of the Grimnoir Chronicles. A fantastic read/listen, and recommend it to everyone, regardless of age, gender or reading preferences. A very good find and wholeheartedly recommended.
As mentioned, the twists on historical figures, their viewpoints slanted to include magic are particular nice for me to listen/read. Gandhi, Einstein, the Kaiser, Tesla, Lincoln, Al Capone - all very well constructed, witty and stylish.
Wow what an orator! I mean, I was impressed. Ive listened to some fantastic stories (Frank Muller, Scott Brick, Michael Page, Michael Kramer (&) Kate Reading, Marc Thomson. I have to say that Pinchot does such a wonderful job of this, effortless with some fantastic vocalisations. I sincerely look forward to other stories he tells -- very unexpected and very good listening.
I want to see this story into a film. BADLY. This could be masterfully done (I would be thinking Christopher Nolan for this).
- But this story is just SO well done. No nonsense author who treats the reader/listener with a great degree of respect for thier intelligence. The writing style is sharp, not waffley at all, humourous, and just won't let you stop listening/reading! I cannot wait for #2, #3, #4, and all to come. I want to hear about all the other characters - big and small - in this era and in previous times, such as American Civil War, Jack the Ripper, India, China -- many events in the past 200 years come to life in a wonferfully new and refreshing way! love the detective/noir feel, love the Prohibition/Depression era, love the characters.
READ THIS BOOK. LISTEN TO THIS BOOK. It will only be the beginning and you will be wanting more.
The hold story
The Action from begin to the end
All where great
Kept me listening and wanting more. Next Spell Bound high five.
This is a book for pure entertainment, provided you don't mind violence. It will not educate you or change your life. If you're the sort of science fiction reader who likes to pick apart writers for not getting the details of, say, time travel or rocket ship acceleration correct, you'll probably hate it. (Note that this is a steampunk world, so you get airships instead of rockets. I'm not telling whether you get any time travel.) It's definitely genre fiction, with some deliberate stereotyping of characters -- although I think Faye Vierra is quite an original.
With all that out of the way, this book is fun. Once it gets going, which takes a little time, it moves fast. In print, this would be a "read in one sitting" book. That's a bit of a problem for an audiobook, because few people would have time to listen to the whole thing at once, and there aren't a lot of good places to stop. I had to do some re-winding and re-listening to make sure I didn't lose the thread after a break.
I did not love Bronson Pinchot's narration. I know he's a hugely popular reader, but to my mind, he went overboard in trying to give each character a distinctive voice. To be fair, the voice he did that bothered me most was prompted by a description in the book, and luckily it wasn't one of the chief characters of the book. I managed to get over my dislike of Pinchot's narration, but I won't go looking for more books read by him.
I did buy the second book in the series (Spellbound) immediately after finishing Hard Magic. I didn't like it as much as Hard Magic, but I still plan to buy the third when it comes out.
I absolutely would, the story telling in it was stunning. The ideas themselves are refreshing and the characters are each so clearly individual people that you can't help but pick and choose your favorites feeling a real commitment and emotions for them.
I found myself rooting for the knights, and listening to section of the story with my breath held while waiting for the results.
This is an excellent story for anyone who enjoys a more modern feeling fantasy that will captivate them.
Without a doubt the best part of Hard Magic that really left me on the edge of my seat was near the end while Fae and Toshiko fought on the imperial warship. The unpredictability of the battle and the internal dialogue that came from Fae not only made it exciting but it was comical for just a moment as well.
The results of the battle were so brilliant and elegant with how it neatly wrapped up a part of the story and made for a wonderful and memorable metaphor.
He is an excellent story actor, listening to him really helped me lose myself in the story especially with his distinct voices for each character. There were parts of the story when I forgot that I was listening to a single dictation and it felt like a whole cast, he has a wonderful voice.
This book made me giggle in public which was very embarrassing but completely worth it, and it also had times when I would hold my breath stopping what I was doing anxiously listening for what would happen next.
After listening to the Monster Hunter series I was already counting myself amongst Larry Correia's fans, this book has galvanized that feeling.
I'm still a huge fan of the Monster Hunter books and I recommend them to anyone who wants a fun story, but it seems to me that the Hard Magic series is a serious refinement of his talents. I can't wait for his next story!
What a fun, engaging, interesting book. It takes superhero powers, wraps them inside a supernatural and alien magic and plunks them down in a post-steampunk 1930's noir. It is clever, tight, and funny. The characters are developed, the plot is interesting, the pace is just right to keep you interested, and the ensemble of heroes and villains are believable and compelling. And if you are a firearms fetishist, welcome to heaven. Mr. Correia describes guns so lovingly that you'd assume that he spends a lot of time around them (he does).
And then, there's the performance. When I bought this, it was with rather low expectations as I really didn't see Cousin Balky (Bronson Pinchot) as being much of a narrator. I will have probably never been more incorrect, so let me say this here: Bronson Pinchot is the BEST audiobook narrator I have ever heard, and with around 100 titles in my library, I feel like that's saying something. Each character is given a distinct voice which makes this almost a radio drama. The reading is just flawless.
A word of warning: if you have a problem with relatively heavy right-wing politics, I would stay away from Mr. Correia's blog, as it is filled with Tea-laden rants and screeds about "liberals". I stumbled into it after listening to this audiobook, as I wanted to find out more about the author. What I found almost guaranteed that I would not give the man another penny, as I loathe people who make foolish generalizations in public forums, and he does a great deal of that. But the more that I thought about it, the more that I realized that most of that message stays out of this book, and so I eventually bought the sequel and enjoyed that very much as well.
Yes. Great characters easy to get attached to and makes you cheer them on, great fun and cynical humor. Action and epic fight scenes. Love the world and time the author takes the reader to.
Many of the battles fought.
Tough choice. They're all really great and brining in unique, individual powers to the characters adds a whole different dynamic.
I love books but am severely dyslexic. Audio books have become a lifeline for me.
Yes, I really loved this audio version.
Faye. The character was funny (without trying to be funny).
All of it! The voices he gave to each character were rich and distinct.
No. It's not really an epic.
Larry Corriea has made a world of alternate history believable and wondrous. Some of what happens in the story is a little over the top (maybe his love of B movies). It works and makes it a fun ride.
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