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.
Mr. Pinchots narration performance made an already entertaining story even better. There are many characters and intertwining story lines in this book that under normal circumstances would be a little challenging to follow. Bronson gave each character very unique tone and personalities making the whole experience wonderfully enjoyable. I might go as far to say that if I was stuck between choosing one title over another I would choose the one narrated by this gentleman. That being said, I really liked the story and will be buying the other two books in this series.
Truthfully, this is bare minimum entertainment at best. It was better than MHI with more interesting characters and far less gun jargon. However this is not a great work, so adjust your expectations accordingly. It is decently entertaining, lacking in depth and originality. It's a bit like fast food as opposed to a gourmet meal.
For the record, im usually the guy giving 1 star to the books that probably deserved 3.
But this book was just... Satisfying. Not as subtle or intellectual as I usually prefer, but completely and totally satisfying nonetheless. I cant wait to listen to the rest of the series.
I let this book sit in my library for a year before I read it. I think the cover put me off and I couldn't remember why I'd purchased it. I'd just finished a few pretty heavy books and was fishing around for something light. This was the one.
I can't believe it took me a year. I bought the next book before I finished the first. No spoilers- just go be as pleasantly surprised as I was.
Full of unique ideas, twists of history, humor, excitement, and a terrific set of original characters, this book would be great in any format. But once you hear Bronson Pinchot read it, you'll never go back.
I still remember Bronson Pinchot from Perfect Strangers but this performance really shows how diverse his acting can be.
The characters are interesting and enduring - the story is really enjoyable overall!
I liked Bronson Pinchot's performance of Robert Heinlein's work, so I took a chance. The performance was again excellent. I enjoyed the story. Suspension of disbelief was well maintained except for the naming a character "Harkness," which caused me to flinch and jump out of the story.
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