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.
Narrator perfect ; pulp fiction at its best for modern day literature, a guilty pleasure
The story is pulpy and the author seems to have little use for such trivial things as, y'know, democracy. But the world building was fun and cliched melodramatic characters seem par for the genre. I'll be glad to read another one.
Great audio performance and character voicing, though I think I would have read Faye differently in a number of moments.
All in all, good escapist fun.
Whoever authored the blurb for the book must have read only the first chapter and had no idea what the theme or story was about because it is definitely not a detective novel. However, if you like to play shoot-um-up video games with lots of magical characters who defy the laws of physics, this is the book for you. Although there is a base of the early 20th century, the whole thing is pure fiction so Larry Correia changes history to suit his whim. This is not my genre, however, the characters and subtle humor that is inserted, did make the book enjoyable.
Bronson Pinchot does a marvelous job of giving each of the characters a unique voice synonymous with their character. Correia makes Faye an exceptional character and Pinchot gives her the perfect voice and accent; she is precious and by herself makes the book worthwhile.
Loved this book. It's fun the way Indiana Jones is fun. Bronson Pinchot is amazing almost as good as Jim Dale. Story has lots of parts but is expertly crafted together and answers all of the questions by the end but leaving you wanting more. Can't wait to listen to book 2.
I am a long time fan of Larry Correia and was worried about starting a new series with an unfamiliar narrator. But I absolutely loved it from start to finish.
No. The audio edition merely puts different characters and voices to the ones imagined during the hardcover reading.
It fits right into the MHI universe(s) as it takes the mundane and adds a new twist of hidden magicks and the infinite repercussions of a world with magic and Thompson submachine guns.
Cousin Balkie? His characterizations are wonderful but he lacks any real enthusiasm and reads the story as though he can't be too loud or he might wake the neighbours. The lack of intensity in some of his reading was the only drawback I found in his performance.
When a character is supposed to be screaming and it's presented in a gasping whisper it takes away from the story and can crash the whole suspension of disbelief in doing so.
Fedoras, Kanji and Tesla, Oh my.
I almost gave up on this book, but the plot was engaging enough to keep me going. I was frustrated with the author's focus on describing the many weapons and the damage they inflicted.
Since I read this as an audio book, I had trouble noticing when the story switched point of view to a new character, and the POVERTY changes happened frequently. The narrator did a great job creating unique voices for each character, but since there was no audible "white space" to indicate a scene or pov change, if all flowed together into a confusing muddle at times. Perhaps if the author had provided the character name as a title to the scene then I wouldn't have been so lost at times.
The alternate universe and the great characters were awesome!
Seriously! Bronson Pinchot is PERFECT for this series, his reading is incredible!
His characterization of each person was right on!
The narrator was a great choice for this book. For me, the right narrator can make a mediocre book or ruin a good audio book. The synopsis of the story interested me and the price got me to buy it. The narrator kept me listening and the story line has now looking forward to the next in the series.
The universe of Hard Magic stands on its own, not directly comparable to any other series. I think that Dresden Files fans would like Hard Magic. The modern, fantasy noire backdrop, like Dresden Files, is what drew my interest.
Bronson did a commendable job of differentiating the voices of the various main characters. I especially enjoyed both Faye and Jake.
At first, Bronson's narration, being different than what I expected, took me aback. Once I gave it a chapter it not only felt right, but the perfect narrator for this story. While I've picked up a number of audio books that I won't be picking up the second in the series of, I highly recommend Hard Magic and will be continuing to read this series.
I had high expectations when I picked it up and, boy, I was not disappointed. Awesome. Simply awesome. The book grabs you early and doesn't let go. And it has everything - super-bad bad guys, zombies, dames, magic, and more. Plus, I loved the setting - a blend of steampunk and 30's and 40's pulp fiction rollicking adventure. A great read!
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