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've enjoyed Larry Corriea's other series, Monster Hunters International, so I decided to give this book a try. I'm very glad I did. Its great 'noir' style, unforgettable characters, and the situations they get into made this a wonderful book. The fantasy world that Mr. Corriea creates is internally consistent and understandable.
I was a little skeptical when I saw that Bronson Pinchot was narrating (Balki?), but was soon captured by his abilities. It took a little while to get into the story, but once I did, Mr. Pinchot's skill brought the story alive. Each character has their own easily recognizable voice, making it easy to stay on track. I highly recommend this book, and wish Audible Frontiers would release the second book!
I thought the narration on this was so well done. This is one of those books that has such a variety of characters that quality narration is crucial. Bronson Pinchot nails it. The novel takes place during the first half of the 20th century, but with a slightly off version of history. Darwin's survival theory has humans tapping into certain powers beyond the norm, for instance "heavies" can manipulate gravity, and "brutes" have great strength. There is a collection of good guys who are battling to save the world; the bad guys are, of course, trying to take over the world, and the whole thing is done with a noir style - the protagonist is so cool and tough - in dirigibles, for Pete's sake. As a history buff, I enjoyed the "quotations" at the beginning of each chapter from figures in history. I also enjoyed references to Tesla, Pershing, and other historical figures and events. Considering how bloody and thrilling this novel is, is was surprisingly fun to listen to! The mystery and action are complicated enough to be interesting and the story moves along at a good pace. The ending is exciting and the writing is very visual without being tedious. I very much enjoyed this listen.
Great story and a very good performance. I know some people didn't care for the sound of the main characters accent but I thought it was great. There are very few readers who can actually get other accents and tones besides their native one. This guy blew me away from the way he went from whatever sullivans accent is, to southern okie, to a japanese ninja, to a older black man and for the most part they all sounded great.
I found the story itself to be engaging, fun and epic and I greatly look forward to listening to the next one.
This guys is my new favorite author. I love the monster hunter series and this is almost as good. It is sort of like X-men/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen/Crazy Alternative History. (I can't spell) Great fiction. I wish audible had the sequel.
Bronson Pinchot is one of the best narrators I have ever heard and I have over 700 books in my library! A narrator can make or break a book and Mr. Pinchot has added his magic to an already good story.
Bronson Pinchot brings Mr. Corriea's slightly alternate depression area world to life, with a vibrancy seldom experienced in a story of this type. If you have enjoyed MHN but hesitated to try this genre, it is your lost. The action is engaging, the characters not only entertain, but are developed to the point that you can care about them and understand their motives. This is obviously the beginning of a great series, I have already read the second installment Spellbound, and hope that it finds it way to audible soon.
If you were to tell me that Forrest Gump and all his cousins read the character parts, I would believe you. I have loved the Monster Hunters series from Audible, but I could not continue listening more than two hours worth. Wasted money and time on the performance, but the story might have been good if I had liked the hero played by Forrest.
I could have given this 4 stars based on writing, story, character developement...but I rate for overall tingle so it got 3. That's still good and for sure I'll read the next in series. One thing tho is that the cover says it's a P.I. novel. Jake is an ex-con that does bounty work for the FBI to stay out of jail. He does take on some P.I. work on the side but none of that was part of this story. This is alternative history, and the main characters are magically enhanced. Exciting world. My favorite part was the famous personality quote at the beginning of each chapter..they kept me in that moment of alternate time. Bronson Pinchot was amazing at the # of vioces he managed, and although at first they were not so great, by the middle of the book they became more refined.
Good book. They dropped the ball when they had pinchot narrate though. the story is great and i liked the characters,but i started laughing at some parts because of how awful pinchot was.
This breaks new ground by the merging of many different ideas of fact and fiction. This has something for every fiction reader out their. I am so glad that this already has a "Book 1" in the title. I can not wait for the next installment. This writer breaks new ground with a mix of magic, super heroes and monsters. Even his involvement of real historical characters ignites the imagination. Don't hesitate. The first book is worth the leap of faith.
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