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.
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.
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.
Quite a few reviewers have said that the Grimnoir series is way better than the MHI books. I personally disagree. BUT,the Grimnoir books are fantastic,original and they keep you listening. I loved that in between chapters we get some new history blurbs as they could have happened with the addition of magical powers.
Sweet story,read the publishers description,and then be surprised that the book is way better than the publisher describes.
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.
Another reviewer mentioned that they found the narrator's accent difficult to understand in places, but I thought all his accents and voices were spot on and superb. I didn't have any trouble understanding him.
The story is excellent and unlike anything I've read before: a comic detective novel with plenty of action-packed magic, and more than a few moving scenes.
The Grim Noir are a magical organisation sworn to protect the innocent - usually humans with magical abilities persecuted by both non-magical people and the sinister Chairman, who experiments on children and performs other atrocities in the name of strength and race purity.
Jake Sullivan, former prison inmate and P.I., reluctantly joins forces with one of the few remaining units of the Grim Noir to protect the magical world from the Chairman and his most evil and feared Iron Guard - who also happens to be Jake's older brother...
The whole story is told in exciting and action-filled chapters from the perspectives of several different characters - each with varying degrees of both magical ability and morality - that help draw in the reader and explain the rules of this reality, its history, and its current political situation, without any flagging of pace or feeling that you're having to get through a lot of boring exposition (which is often a common failing in the sci-fi / fantasy genre).
The villains were realistic, their motives were understandable (if deeply flawed), and every single character was so brilliantly crafted, with such unique voices and perspectives, that it was truly a pleasure to listen to and I was sad to reach the end.
I really hope there is a sequel, I would love to know more about the Knights of the Grim Noir (especially Fay, Sullivan, and Heimrich) and to know how they will tackle the continuing threat to the source of all magic.
Lastly, I agree with the other reviewer; the 'historical' quotes at the beginning of each chapter added a sense of realism, and I loved them.
This book just didn't gel for me. There are a lot of fight sequences and I found these difficult to follow. I got the end of Part One and didn't bother with Part Two. I wasn't engaged by any of the characters. Entirely my fault as I wanted to try something I wouldn't usually read but sadly this genre isn't for me. As always though with Audible the quality of the reading is terrific.
"Truly recommended listen"
My only gripe with this book is that, on very rare occasions, about twice in the entire fifteen hours, the otherwise superb reader becomes difficult to understand due to his accent. This was nothing that couldn't be remedied however by a quick rewind and a little bit of effort put into a second listen.
On the other hand this is an excellent piece of fiction superbly mixing a world of magic and power with 1930's America. The main characters are to a one engaging and more than enough to carry you through this pleasingly long tale on their own. The author has obviously put a lot of effort into altering earth's history to accommodate the power of sorcerers and this is emphasized by short sections at the beginning of every chapter, my favourite being a speech aboard the Titanic on its fifth anniversary voyage.
If you enjoy this audible book then be sure to check out the Skulduggery Pleasant series while you wait for the no doubt excellent sequel.
"Really Great Pulp Book"
I just wanted to say i totally love this book. Interesting story and interesting setting to have it in. Really looking forward to the follow up.
"Lary does it again"
yes i would. I love worlds that dont do info dumps and let you pick it up from the rich world. laary creates a rich world that you fall into like no ones business.
browning as he made it possible to have 50 cals ina siege . it was awesome people.
he really brought a politicians skill to the story of changing everything round. was a dizzying ride.
yes there was joy and fun and definite kick ass moments.
there are some many reasons to listen to this books. strong characters. strong powers . kick ass moments all over the place. i mean he fell out of a zeplin. you just need this book in your library all over.
The Characters of Faye and Sullivan are great action hero protagonists. The rich story blended with real history make for a great listen
At first I wasn't sure about how fantastical the story was (I expected a more subtle noir story). Once I readjusted my expectations of a more bombastic action fantasy I loved so much about the story. Great characters, interesting historical anchoring and the richness of the world and peoples magical abilities makes for a fun ride. Prep two more credits for the sequels!
Honestly, I got used to Faye and Sullivan's voices as performed by Pinchot, but something was a little off for me. However his performance overall is worthy of five stars as he keeps the rest of the characters charming and interesting. I particularly liked Lance and Heinrich, but all of the supporting characters are great.
Smile more than laugh. Frown more than cry.
A great listen which begs the question: how could a sequel top this, but they some how do. Give it a try if your up for something different.
"Alternative timeline detective novel, with magic!"
A great story, well narrated!
Some really strong characters (literally), a solid plot and a great concept.
This book was on offer from audible and it seemed a little extreme for my scifi/fantasy tastes and so I picked it up with scepticism, I was really pleased with my choice and after listening to the first chapter I was hooked.
The book kept me gripped all they way through and left me feeling a little disappointed when I had to put it down, a good mix of magic fantasy and noir.
For a sceptic I went on to progress through the next three books pretty much back to back, I would certainly recommend.
"Love a bit of Magic!"
Very enjoyable - although not at all my usual sort of thing! I got quite caught up with the characterisation too!
"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
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