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 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.
Surprisingly, Bronson Pinchot did an outstanding job of narrating this book. I mean, I was expecting Serg from Beverly Hills Cop, but he was really good. The characters were really interesting as well.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
I liked the Monster Hunter International series a lot, but felt that Larry Correia could do better. In this book, he proved me right! Yes, he still had to employ "the end of the world" scenario in this book, but that wasn't until near the end, so it wasn't nearly as overdone as every time he did it in the MHI books. Also, the story and characters are much more refined and not as stereotypical, well done!
This book is inventive, a great mix of old/new almost like a fantasy steam punk vibe. It has a great cast of characters with plenty of strong female leads and some sweet casting surprises. As usual, the pacing in the book is excellent and is hard to put down. And finally, the book is topped off by superb narration!
He killed off enough characters to keep it interesting, but not so many as to ruin the story. (That's one of the many things most writers could learn from George R.R. Martin, he's not afraid to kill off his main characters. But, that "not knowing" if your main characters are going to survive the scene, really gives you a reason to keep reading. I dislike reading books about epic battles and fighting where none of the main characters ever take one in the chest.)
I think this is the best book Larry Correia has ever published and I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series that was just released on audio!!
Before I read this book I finished reading the Monster Hunter International Series (or as much as of it that is written) it was great by the way. Back to Grimnoir Chronicals, I purchased this book looking for another series as engaging as MHI.
The story line and character development were good. The book is definitely entertaining, I would recommend it but save your credits and try to purchase it when they have a sale. For me it just wasn't one of those books I couldn't put down.
The most interesting aspect of the story are the "powers" that the characters exhibit, this was something that was new for me.
The narrator was good however the voice he chose for the main character (Sullivan) was a slow witted high sounding drawl that I found annoying. I really liked this character, knew he was intelligent but the voice took away from the character.
I would have to see the previews to see if it went cartoonish or serious.
Retired RN High end of middle age or short end of old age! Adore Christian fiction, sci-fi fantasy, and mysteries.
One of the best. I didn't believe Corriea could match Monster Hunters series. I was wrong!
Faye. Fun to watch her grow into her powers with a touch of coming of age.
Too many to choose.
I did listen to it for hours at a time.
Lots of violence, some swearing. A great read, none the less!
Book: I *loved* this book. The characters were varied, engaging, and relatable for me. I frequently found my emotions surging to match the emotions of the "good guys" and know that I probably responded to the different elements of the book in exactly the way the author wanted. Also, I thought that the author did an excellent job of reimagining how real historical events and people would have been changed and affected by the sudden existence of magic. I'm not too keen on the author's explanation of where magic originated, but I did greatly approve of his explanation of how magic worked. All-in-all, I greatly enjoyed this story, and promptly bought the sequel after I finished this one.
Narrator: Yay for the narrator! Good choice! Mr. Pinchot did an excellent job of making each and ever character unique in both voice and thought. This book has a lot of point-of-view changes, and with each change, the narrator altered his voice to correspond to the correct character. He had a wide range of different accents that I greatly enjoyed. And he did a good job of making his girls actually sound like girls despite the fact that he had a fairly deep voice, himself. Honestly, I truly believe that the skillful narration of this book is what made me love the story so much.
Overall: If you like the Dresden Files, I think you'd like this series. And if you just like urban fantasy and have an appreciation for historical trivia, I think you'd like this series. And if you're going to indulge yourself with this story, I recommend listening to the audio book because the narrator was great.
It was fun.
The different magical powers and their relationships were creative, the story line was engaging and the characters were well-developed.
The least interesting aspects were the choice of words and cheesy expressions such as, "I'm an American first, an active second!" and many others that make you cringe over and over. The fight scenes (along with the detailed information about all the guns) were excessively long.
I thought the Pale Horse was the most gripping character, although clearly not a likable one.
Maybe but I wouldn't buy it.
The performance was excellent.
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