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 was fully immersed in this story from the minute I pressed play. Larry Correia has created a world so easy to relate to that the people within it seem to be almost immediately familiar. Character development blossoms at incredible speed and before you know it you are rooting for the Grims like they are old friends..
Sullivan, the heavy. You just want to see him squish something.
At first, listening to the sample, I was unsure if I liked Bronson Pinchot's narration. It seemed too slow of a reading pace to keep me interested. What seemed like a lackadaisical pace turned out to be an incredible ability to create a sense of scale by controlling the speed of the character's dialogue. For example, Sullivan's words are never rushed and are always even and steady (Just the way an immovable object should sound). On the other hand, Pinchot gives Faye a pace that is bouncy and unpredictable. How else would a teenage girl that can vanish and reappear on a whim talk? I am very impressed with his ability to convey the nuances of all these characters.
I listen to audio books primarily while I am driving. I know I have a good one when I find myself not wanting to get out of the car at my destination. This one had me looking for an excuse to take a long road trip.
Hard Magic is one of the best books I've listened to this year. I think this is the first Larry Correia book I've ever read, but plan to read more from him.
Three's not enough. I love Bronson Pinchot. He’s a wonderful character actor. I'm not completely sold on him as a narrator. He ends so many sentences with a sort of a lilt...almost like a question. It was a little distracting. Now that I've gotten that off my chest...his accents and voices are superb.
This book made me laugh and cry.
I would recommend this book to others.
I enjoyed the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia thoroughly, and this new endeavor of his is even better. Top rate historical fiction with a heavy dash of film noir sensibility meet magical fantasy, and the results are delightful.
If I have one complaint about the performance of this audio book, it's that when faced with voicing so many different characters with accents from all over the globe, the actor falls short of the task. The Texas cop, midwest hick, and New Orleans' hooker all sound pretty much the same, for instance. But while somewhat dissappointing, this failure is mild and certainly doesn't diminish from the overall enjoyment of the story.
The reading is awesome. The characters come to life. I could feel the intensity, from happiness to sadness to laugh out loud.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I usually hate fantasy books, or anything dealing with magic, but this one came highly recommended so I gave it a try.
I enjoyed the book, and found it to be a fun, easy listen.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to continue with more in the series... and the fact that I'm not racing to pick up the next book is what's stopping me from rating it more highly. I guess at the end of the day I'm just not sure it was worth as many hours as I dedicated to it... or more accurately, maybe I think it was worth exactly that many hours and no more.
If you get this book, you won't regret the purchase... but you may not fall in love with the series. In other words, I enjoyed the story a lot, but I wasn't left feeling very interested in the world the author created.
I really hope this series is made into a movie some day. This is an unlikely super hero story that is an adrenaline rush.
I highly recommend this book for folks who love The Dresden Files, Iron Druid Chronicles and others in the magical crime-fighting genre. It also might appeal to readers who appreciate x-men style magical powers.
This story is set apart from others in the genre by the 1930s setting. While most books about magic in our world are set in the present or future, this tale is set in the 1920s to 1930s. Historical incidences and figures are mildly altered and interwoven into the story of our history as if magical powers had evolved in the late 1800s. The author does a brilliant job of maintaining concerns and issues that would have been present at the time.
The narrator is excellent! I especially enjoyed his interpretation of the character, Harkness's weird, halting diction. he also reads female characters well, which is always refreshing. I can't wait to start the next book in the series!
Not so much graphic violence. More victories for the good guys
probably not, he's the kind of author who hates his characters
I have seen him act, no idea he was this good
I would have toned down all the descriptions of graphic death. I don't need to hear about how blood and giuts are spilled
I like to have some breaks in the action. Some times when the good guys are rewarded for their fight. I couldn't even finish this one, it was too hopeless for me. Isn't life hopeless enough without entertainment being hopeless also?
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found it hard to put down. I loved Jake and Faye as characters, and it was a pleasure to listen to Bronson Pinchot telling the tale.
I am crazy about Correia's MHI series, I have read 4 in the series now. Naturally I was hoping that this book would be great also. However, I just could not get into the story. I finally gave up about 3/4 through and felt that I was wasting my time.
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.
"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
"Loved this book"
The book is excellent and the reader is fantastic. Don't be put off (or fooled) by the 'comedy' cover illustration, this isn't any kind of parody or novelty story. It's a ripping yarn, loads of fun, but fun in a serious, gun-whelding, bone crunching, bloody kind of way.
The description, much like the cover, is a bit off. It's more Boy's Own adventure thriller with magic than hard boiled detective. Thoroughly enjoyable. Have already bought the second book in the series.
"So American but Really Enjoyable"
Great ready for southern belle accents, loads of bad language and descriptive emphasis on big guns and a complete, unique blending and overhaul of American war history!!
Once you get comfortable with the bad language and the authors love with everything big, you'll begin to appreciate the author's intellect, his in depth knowledge and fascination with American history and probably physics which enables him to give a convincing and enjoyable re-telling of history!!
I really enjoyed the book but, it's the narrator's performance that really did it for me, it really placed me into the world of all things American!!
This book is not something I'd have readily picked, but I'm glad I did, it was a welcome change even though it would never make my top 100 sci-fi books to read!!
"An instant fav! I can't wait for the sequels"
Very high indeed! high literature its not but its fun colourful and full of imagination and character. This book has many likeable characters and an action filled pot it was a pleasure to read.
it was an excellent performance and really brought the book to life.
"All I could ask for in a fantasy audiobook!"
This series really does have it all. A cunningly well - wrought plot, engaging characters who change and develop as the tale progresses, adventure, wit .... and all of it brilliantly read by Bronson Pinchot brings the whole series to vibrant life. I cannot reccomend this whole series too highly.
The way it changes history with a few "what if" premises.
Sullivan, closely followed by Fay.
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