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 starts out slow, and the initial story line that introduces some of the characters is rather thin. Once the listener meets the full cast, however, the book becomes enjoyable. I particularly enjoy the introduction of characters from history and the twists the author takes on notable historical figures.
This is far from a deep read and most characters are rather flat. The story is fun, however, and I ended up enjoying this enough to buy and listen to the second novel in the series. I would put this book is in the category of beach read for those looking for action and a new spin on magic.
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
A fun ride that launches a mystery right from the start. The characters who make up the Grimmnoir are so unique and are all introduced thoroughly without lingering on too many small details. The different magical powers they all possess and the different ways they use them is realy sensational, a lot of unexpected twists and turns.
Throughout the story we learn more about the depth of each character and they about eachother, which in turn, helps them to build a wonderful commeradery and the learned loyalty they will need to access to survive the journey.
Great heroes, sneaky villains and a fantastic narrator made this a very entertaining listen. Bronson Pinchot does such a crack job with all the voices you know exactly which character is speaking. Even with siblings he managed to place an apparent simularity but individuality between them. Wonderful talent. I would Recommend this book.
I was pleasantly surprised by this story. It started out slow but got better and better. It was a refreshing take on the magical genre. Anyone who likes the Dresden Files, Iron Druid series, or The Nightside series will probably enjoy this.
The story itself was well written and packed full of action. I really cared about the characters and the villains were appropriately vile.
ANYONE else would have done a better job than Mr. Pinchot! I listen to a lot of audiobooks and this is the only book I've ever listened to that made me want to stop listening simply due to the narration.
I loved the story. It was fast, fun, and kept my attention the whole way through. My only problem was with the narrator (and I know I'm in the minority here). Mr. Pinchot read at an agonizingly slow pace and spoke with the softest voice possible throughout the whole story, almost as if he were trying to get me to fall asleep. Much of the book contains some great action sequences, but Mr. Pinchot reads them just as softly and slowly as ever, ruining the pace of he story. I appreciate that he tried to do unique voices for all the characters, but the overly pronounced accents he used made many of the characters (Sullivan & Faye especially) sound dull, dim witted, and at times, mentally deficient. I've already started listening to the second book, "Hard Magic" and sadly, the narration has not improved. After this, I will probably just buy the print versions for the next books in the series.
Magical alternate history
Several rich characters, awesome battle scenes, and a well paced story
Made the characters of both genders come alive, you were right there in the room with each distinct voice.
Pinchot's performance is a gem. He does many different voices perfectly. The hero sounds like a folksy version of Tom Hanks hit man in "Road to Perdition."
I live how the protagonist kicks ass.
My first Pinchot book. Won't be my last.
I don't want to be a spoiler.
Addictive new series
It was a tough call, but by the end of the book, my favorite character was Heinrich. He just kicks so much butt!
I really liked Monster Hunter International, but the first couple books were a little on a the gory side. I am happy to say that this book has just as much action, but less blood and guts. The writing is solid, the characters are fleshed out and the story nice and meaty. The magic-based storyline reminds me of something Brandon Sanderson would write (he is my favorite fantasy author of all time) but it has a different edge. I especially liked how the quotes at the beginning of each chapter centered the reader into the exact place and time of the story, and gave it a realism that helped to imagine it really happening in history. I also liked the way the story circumvented real historical events and made them "magical." If you are into sci-fi/fantasy and want something more anchored in "reality," definitely give this a try.
near the top
the scope and flow. Sounds crazy, but he is in no rush, takes his time and does it right.
he was fantastic
a very enjoyable listen, I could not stop and was happy and sad,. Happy that there is a sequel sad that there is only one more (to date) in this series.
Been hit or miss for me on books lately so this was a well needed good find. It kept me interested. Looking for more books from this author.
I purchased the book, because of the Monster, Inc. series. Loved the book. It is really cool having the alternate history, with the alternate magic vs technology. Love the main character. Reminds me of Harry Dresden. Buy the book, you will not regret it.
Freelance Illustrator, & Designer
I will most definitely listen to this again! I love when a sci-fi junky like myself can be surprised by a new mixture of magic and an unexpected scenario/plot.
The final battle on the fancy blimp, and Fae keeps blip rampaging - epic!
His voices were brilliant! You'd forget that one person was characterizing all of them as he shot out separate accents and pitches for each.
The ending... I won't ruin it, but I laughed and teared up.
GET IT! If you love magic, and new ideas put on old historical twists, love, friends, epic battles, and raging magic - this is a must 'read'.
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