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Editorial Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Paranormal, 2012

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Todd
  • Rochester, MN, United States
  • 01-24-15

My favorite audio book of my favorite author.

This is hands-down the favorite audiobook I have my 160 + library. (I have all the Larry Correia books).
Probably have listened to it six times. Excellent story and Bronson Pinchot is quickly becoming my favorite narrator as well. Does a fantastic job. I even picked up a couple books I normally would not have just because he was the narrator, he is that good.
The author never disappoints. I have never purchased one of his books and regretted it. Everyone could be listened to several times

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Over-all good

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Felt like I was listening to a 1950s comic book - although it did keep my interst through out...

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Marla
  • Independence, MO, United States
  • 07-14-14

OMG! The Best Audio Book Ever!

Would you listen to Hard Magic again? Why?

Where do I start raving about this book? The narrator, Bronson Pinchot (who you may remember him as Balki on Perfect Strangers) creates the best character voices I've ever listen to. Each main character (and there are many) he performs has their own cadence, tone and accent. He is just one of the best narrators I've ever listen too. So listening to this book again would be just as enjoyable as the first. Another reason to listen to this again would be the story and the wonderful and creative characters. Larry Correia's writing is far better than James Marsters' Dresden Files. That's just my opinion, sorry Marsters. I know we live in the same town and everything, I just could never get excited reading your books. But I am excited to listen or read any of Correia's books!

What did you like best about this story?

Correia story-lines, for each of his main characters, approaches (the ever present evil which threatens) from a different angle. They have their own unique magical ability, and they have their own reason to fight for their own cause, bad or good. The story showed how family can have apposing views and needs. Some may turn to evil and some to good, and it's not just their own up bringing or nurture which dictates it.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

Who was my favorite performance? That is a toss up, it's either Fey or Mr. Jake Sullivan. Fey the 16 something, naive Traveler, but a power-house, Okey? Or the seemly dumb acting Heavy, who is secretly the most intelligent? Both are just amazing. You wanted so much for them to win, and not to die, it just kept you on the edge of your seat through out the whole book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There are many good laughs in this books, especially due to the naive Okey's exuberance in her performance of her powers. Yes there are many tears and sadness due to the lose of lives in the book. I hate it when a character dies just when you begin to love them.

Any additional comments?

Get this book, you won't regret it. I'm now a huge Larry Correia fan!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best narration I've come across yet

Would you listen to Hard Magic again? Why?

I would consider listening again. Bronson Pinchot's performance significantly enhanced the story.

What other book might you compare Hard Magic to and why?

It reminded me of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" quite a bit. There are numerous alternate reality stories out there and they are generally not that appealing to me. However, this one had some interesting twists, combined with the magic angle, that made it quite an enjoyable fantasy.

Have you listened to any of Bronson Pinchot’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is the first book I've listened to that was narrated by Bronson Pinchot. Frankly, I can't imagine a better performance by a narrator: he was that good.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Saving the World that Might Have Been

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Hesitant, but tried anyway

Any additional comments?

I usually shy away from a book with "magic" in the title or description... just not my thing. However... after taking a risk, I'm happy to report that this is a well-written, well-read story full of fun and plot twists. If you ever got into an alternate reality book and enjoyed it, you're missing out if you don't check out the Grimnoire world.

The bottom line... good writing is good writing, regardless the genre. I'll get the second book in the series after writing this review.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fun and quirky

A great read! I listen to a lot of fantasy/scifi/fiction and this was a fun listen.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A book and Series worth their Time

The author had taken what is familiar in the magical world and put his spin on it so well it does not get old. He does this by creating fantastic characters that you pull for and also want dead. The late 1800's is a great setting for magic. This series is worth the listen and a read.
On a personal note I could have did without the "f - word". He handles the sex and violence with a deft hand. Less is more. If there was not so much profanity (there is not a ton but enough) I could have my 12 year old read this series.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Montclair, NJ, United States
  • 09-25-13

Hard Magic...Hard to stop listening!

Any additional comments?

Larry Correia does it again! I loved this book!I didn't think Correia could do better than his Monster Hunter series but this is going to give it a run for his money.And Bronson Pinchot...Wow...i would have never suspected he is that good. His narration was some of the best i have ever heard. His characrterizations and tones were perferct and the accents were spot on! i will listen to anything he reads. I have to admit i ws a little off-put about Jakes deep south accent but it really grows on you & you really enjoy it.The story is well constructed, exciting and suspensfull, the characters are engaging and interesting. There are plenty of twists and turns, though i don't think anyone is really fooled by them, nor do i think anyone cares that they are obvious. And then there is the magic... Correia comes up with some wonderfull magical abilities and their shortcomingsIt is very rare that i would say this in a review but i wholeheartedly recommed this book and I can find no flaws!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Beau
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 09-22-13

Larry Correia wins me back with this one.

Though I enjoyed the first Monster Hunters book, I felt it was a little too cliche, too much attention on gun details. I still enjoyed it, but it was just too close to a Captain America graphic novel maybe? I don't know.

When I heard about this series though, I was thrilled. I love Film Noir, so I took another chance. I'm so glad I did.

Bronson Pinchot KILLS IT on this book. Such amazing narration, it really should be called "re-enactment" when he narrates a book. It's not just a nice voice reading a book for you. He adds subtle inflections that really sell each character's personality, motives, etc. I don't know how he did it unless Correia was sitting right next to him saying, "okay, he SAYS this but really isn't sure he means it, so there's room for doubt when the other guy hears him."

Anyway. This is probably my second favorite book I've bought from Audible, (Christopher Moore's "A Dirty Job" narrated by Fisher Stephens is my favorite, for all the same reasons).

Great story, fantastic characters, innovative concept, world-building without 200 pages of prologue, and fantastic narration. Judging from the ratings and reviews of the other two Grimnoir books, I can't wait to read those too!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-06-13

Dark and Imaginative, Correia's best

I loved this book. I listened to it again in anticipation of the third sequel (Warbound), and I raved about it so often that my husband agreed to start listening to it. He rarely goes for science fiction but he is hooked on this one.

The story is a truly creative alternative history of the early thirties, and I liked the chapter prefaces that featured quotes from real historical figures, tweaked to mirror the storyline. The characters are well-developed, and it was impossible not to care about them. My favorite is the teenaged Faye, who turns out to be tougher than all the others combined. There are plenty of weapons and fights, building to a spectacular finale. The ending is very satisfying, and this story stands nicely on its own. But wait, there's more! The adventures continue with Spellbound...

This would have been a great read, but the audiobook is catapulted into the realm of fantastic by the narrator. Mr. Pinchot creates a unique and perfect voice for every character, from Jake's slow deep-gravel drawl to Dan's measured enunciations, to Faye's 'Oakie' accent, to the skin-crawling misplaced syllables of the Pale Horse.

I got Monster Hunter International after I finished this book, but for me it doesn't compare.
Hard Magic made it onto my desert island list.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful