How do you keep the people you care about safe from enemies you can't remember? Ten years ago, Nate Garrett awoke on a cold warehouse floor with no memory of his past and the only clues to his identity were a piece of paper with his name on it and a propensity toward magic. Now he's a powerful sorcerer and a successful thief for hire, but it turns out that those who stole his memories aren't done with him yet. When they cause a job to go bad, threatening a sixteen-year-old girl, Nate swears to protect her. But with his enemies closing in and the barrier holding back his memories beginning to crumble, Nate is forced to confront his forgotten life in the hope of stopping an enemy he can't remember. Crimes Against Magic is a dark, fast-paced urban fantasy torn between modern-day London and fifteenth-century France.
©2013 Steve McHugh (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I love the story! I love the characters. I love the reader! Unexpected stuff happened. I love the idea about living through the centuries, I listened to this one and immediately bought the second one, which is as good! Waiting for the next book...
Disappointment is my new official pastime, I download a book get thrilled by the premise and disappointed by the delivery of the author.
There are a few things that "narked" me off about this book. The first that I will mention (but not the worst) is the poor use of swearing. Well thought out and judicious use of swear words in a book can elevate it, appropriately increasing tension, comedy, realism or overall entertainment of the story. I found the swearing in this book to be ill conceived, overused, offensive, and lacking in purpose.
Secondly, the author has fallen into the common trap of new authors telling a first person story from the point of view of a shallow and unlikeable character. As a reader I thought the lead character was a thoroughly unpleasant thug that the writer tried to cast in a better light by putting him up against even worse characters. As if to say "hey look, I'm not a serial killing baby-eater therefore I must be good person"!
Thirdly, the character is a womaniser, and unpleasantly so. I just didn't like that. Again, the author tries to play it off as if he is somehow the good guy in all of this. But he's a jerk and as the story unfolded, my dislike for him increased.
Fourth, but of course not in order of importance, this author cannot write dialogue. "I said", "he said", "she said", no sense of connection with the characters. The quality of the dialogue is poor. Abjectly so.
Fifth no sense of being engrossed in the story or in the realism of the events or characters. I felt that the hero was overpowered and it was too easy for him to regain his memories. Because the hero was too overpowered, the bad guys were simply ridiculous and though the story had a high tempo in that lots of things happened at high speed I simply didn't care.
Sixth over the top. Simply being able to imagine acts of extreme violence, sex, etc doesn't mean that you can have the desired effect on your reader. The author is unable to connect the extreme nature of event or environment with the reader in a way that they should care. I see this a lot in modern films and books and it makes me laugh because of the amateurish nature of the delivery. ANYONE can conceive of extreme things, especially nowadays when the news brings such events to our ears daily, hourly or even more frequently. The author has to make it MATTER to the reader or else it is slapstick or just tasteless.
There was also something about the narrator I just did not connect with, I felt he was somewhat dislocated from the story. However I will underline that the story was not poor because the narrator was poor, the story was poor because the author was inadequate to the task.
Love reading, my only way to escape. Completely immerse myself in audiobooks, find it a great way to relax.
This book is a fantastic mix of supernatural beings. Utterly believe able and a joy to listen too. As soon as I finished this book I was completely hooked and so went on to buy book two and three of the trilogy.
I particularly enjoyed how the book wove together a take of the present and the past -1400's.
No I haven't but I really enjoyed his narration and will certainly be searching for more in the future.
This isn't really a story that moved me but certainly had me hooked from the very beginning.
Absolutely fantastic book and would highly recommend.
Enjoyed it esp the references to mythology and some of the baddies but lacked the humour and depth books like the Dresden Files or Nightside (Simon R Green) books have.
I listen rather than read on train journeys as I can't stand being jostled by other travelers, and walking & listening is so easy
While the idea behind this universe is interesting, and the main character is slightly off-centre, there are certain parts of the story that make me think that the author is a little bit desperate...
The fact that women seem to fall at his feet, all he as to do is look at them and their knickers fall to the floor, it's almost like the author is so sexually frustrated that he can't write porn (or 50 Shades), so has his main character have every woman fall in love with him as soon as they look at him, this includes a 16 year old teenager, a redhead he meets outside a building (who says she wants to go slowly and then immediately sleeps with him), and a mob boss' daughter!
While the overall scenario of the book is interesting, although I had to roll my eyes a few times, but I like the way we get flashbacks to show how he got to know certain things & people, especially the way they "slow burn" so it takes a while to make sense of the flashback
Overall, the idea is good, although the whole concept of the main character being a "superman" who is the most desirable man ever seems a little stretched
I would recommend this book as a good listen. It was easy to follow the characters and the motivation behind them.
Holly as she seems to be an unsung hero who ends up losing her heart only to lose it.
Depicted the characters well as if he assimulated the characters and voices
The book kept my attention and did not drag was a good listen I hope the other books in the series do not disappoint.
Spend my time cycling, reading, listening to audiobooks and music, baking and running about after 3 grown up kids, cats and chickens.
I really thought I'd enjoy this and go on to buy the rest in the series. It just didn't happen. I'm not entirely sure what was wrong with it but I lost interest as I listened and I gave up an hour or so before the end. I had no interest whatsoever in getting to the end...complete apathy won over.
I am an audible addict
Struggled to finish listening. The narration is so hard to listen too. The story is a mixed up mess dissapointed.
Great fast story
Dresden files and Alex Veras novels
Well read, good emotive voice
Great book, just a few sex scenes which seemed ill placed.
"Testosterone IV Drip"
I really enjoyed the world of the book, but then, I'm a sucker for anything that brings Arthurian stuff into a modern or magical setting. Crimes is a quick romp through a new urban fantasy setting, and for the most part I enjoyed it, even as it made me cringe. The reader did an excellent job with the material, but despite that, I'll be returning the book. I like fluffy brain candy as much as the next girl, but I still want a little more to my "diet" than a swimming pool's worth of cotton candy.
The main character is apparently made of pheromones, because he meets a female, any female, and if she's of age, she wants in his pants. There are a couple boring and completely unnecessary sex scenes.
Strong female characters played by Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Book. There's even a tearful damsel in distress who is left broken-hearted after confessing her love for him, only to be rejected because he's too dark and dangerous to live in her safe world. Keep in mind, she's the daughter of an Irish crime boss stereotype.
Gary Stu. 'Nuff said. This book is not about a character's growth from comfortably lost amnesiac to self-discovery. This book is about a badass being a badass until a woman sacrifices herself so that he can be a super big badass.
Eventually, I couldn't envision the character anymore, just a giant James Bond style movie poster of Harry Dresden cosplaying John Taylor with two nearly-naked women twining about his legs as he holds aloft a giant, throbbing mcguffin.
"Reads like a graphic novel"
Reviews are just opinions and I appreciate anyone who takes time to write one. With all due respect though I have to disagree with the comparison of this series with the Dresden Files. Both series are urban fantasy with a magic-wielding male protagonist and that is about all they have in common. If you are looking for the multi-layered characters, intricate plots, fascinating magical system, snappy dialog, and interesting settings that have developed in the Dresden Files, you won't find it here. Hellequin may interest you if you like the graphic novel format - it reads much like a graphic novel translated to book form with a whole series of action scenes strung together, cartoonish characters (voluptuous women, violent men), and very little use of setting. (The story uses multiple periods in history and multiple geographical locations and yet is never evocative.) I am all for an action-packed novel, but the action sequences in Hellequin are all the same - someone is kidnapped and tortured, some woman throws herself at Nate (our "hero") and they have sex, Nate beats up the bad guy. There is some graphic sex, but no sexual tension in the story. There is a lot of action, but no suspense because Nate wins hands down against every "critter". The magical system is inconsistent and Nate seems to find a new power around every corner.
I usually really like James Langton's narration, but I agree with another reviewer that he was the wrong choice for this book. His posh British accent doesn't work with an anti-hero who is long on violence and short on finesse.
I got the first two books in an Audible 2-for sale and they were OK for the price. I won't get anymore in the series. If you love Dresden, you won't necessarily love Hellequin. (You won't even know what Hellequin is until book 2.)
"A good start to an interesting series"
I was only able to give this book 4 stars for Story because although I really liked the book, it felt somewhat incomplete. Maybe it was the way it swapped back and forth between the two time lines, I don't know. Please don't misunderstand, I did like the book a lot, but each time I started really falling into the one time line story I was pulled back into the other. The two stories were well thought out and presented, my complaint isn't there....it's just that, well, maybe I'm not a fan of the split time line method.
That said, I still had to rate the overall and story a full four stars. It was that good I think.
The performance I gave 5 stars because the narrator is truly an artist. His narrating was good enough that often times I forgot I was hearing a reading, he had me so engrossed in the story.....know what I mean? It's hard to explain but please trust in this, James Langton is an artist and he really brought out the best in the novel.
"Crimes Against Magic heats up Urban Fantasy"
I started this series with the recommendation from a forum with regard to finding series that were similar to the Dresden Files. I was NOT disappointed at all. Nate is quite the wizard/mage but in this first installment the author reveals how he came to be without being trite or patronizing the listener/reader. I enjoy the references to past historical/mythical figures and the fact that he keeps the listener's attention to the present problems facing the character. It's a great listen/read, definitely worth the time and effort to listen. The narrator has a tough British demeanor that isn't over-the-top nor is it "wimpy" as some Brits have a tendency to sound like. I suggest that if you're looking for a good listen/read, this book will fit the bill.
"A good start."
I like the main character he is interesting and you want to learn more about him.
The fight scenes are excellent. I particularly like the scene against the werewolves early in the book.
This is the first I have heard of his work. I'll be honest, the guy has a thick accent and takes a bit of getting used to before you can settle in to enjoy the story. He range of voices is somewhat limited but good enough for this book.
This is a fun book and the narrarator does a good job. I'd have given the narrartor a higher rating if he had a bit better range and his accent were not so thick.
The story uses the worn out old amnesia trope. then again, it's a trope because it works well in novels. The story is interesting and leaves you wanting more. This one is worth a credit.
This take on the paranormal detective/mystery novel is one of the better worlds I have come across. In a nutshell, in this world all the old legends are true, the old gods are/were real etc... and now live in secret in the modern day world. A secret hidden island/land, called Avalon, is where the seat of power that rules these hidden entities resides. Our intrepid Hero runs afoul of an evil cabal out of Avalon, and must fight his way clear. What made this book for me was our intrepid hero. While he is definitely a "good guy", he is no overgrown boy scout. He is dark, angry, and at times vicious. He is more avenging angel then superman, if you know what I mean. The story itself while at times dark, is well written, intriguing and easy to follow and never gets so dark that you want to fast forward. Mr. McHugh is an excellent writer, who is able to keep his language simple while still remaining very descriptive as he paints his world. If you are looking for a light adult listen, I can highly recommend this book. I have already purchased the second novel and am looking forward to it.
"Heres the thing..."
This book is neither good or bad, It doesn't really have characters that you dislike but also doesn't provide you much of a reason to like the ones that are there. If this book was a color it would be "grey" but then couldn't make up its mind and would call itself "gray".
It feels harsh to write that but I can't make up my mind on it.The world building is just weird and not well thought out, it sets up rules but then violates them for convenance. Heres are a couple examples. Nate is a sorcerer and controls 2 elements, Air and Fire. You cant control more than 2. But there are multiple times that Nate uses Air magic to wrap around someone and crush their chest, just like a.... wait for it... "Russian water tentacle"...:) sorry, every time he used it that came to mind. Or uses air magic to suffocate someone to put them to sleep. Which sounds to me like "water". He uses fire against other magic users and burn them but when he uses it on a table hes tied to he apparently has flameproof skin. Im a Harry Dresden fan, theres a scene in one of his books where Harry uses fire in a similar way and burns his hand into uselessness which plagues him for the next couple of books. In this book when Nate gets wounded or hurt he's back to scratch a few pages later. In that way he's a lot like superman and its difficult caring much about superman because most of the situations he gets into theres no consequences to his actions or failures.
The sad thing is that Ive put more thought into writing this review than Ive needed to put into reading the book. I think it has some interesting areas it can go into and maybe its holding a lot back to pour into the the next books. It introduces werewolf's and vampires and they seem interesting maybe it will gain some traction there.
In short, its a book you don't have to think to much about while listening and there room for books like this. If you wanted something similar but better written then Id suggest checking out the "Dresden Files", "Iron Druid series", or maybe even the "Greywalker series". As for me Im considering the second book but am looking at my wish list for other things.
"Would prefer more grit, less pop-pow-bang"
Well... what to say about this... I'll start with explaining that I prefer urban fantasy that is not fantastical... noir and gritty is way better than cartoon-smash ups. This book starts kinda noir and gritty, then moves to cartoon pop-bang-pow action. It also adds in a bunch of new characters of different supernatural origins: main character is a sorcerer, great, then we have psychics, okay, then gargoyles, well, all right, then vampires, oh-kay, then werewolves, err why?... each new form of supernatural didn't add anything to the story (i.e. the werewolf and the vampires were useless in the end, so why are they even here? humans could have been enemy fodder just as easily); it just cluttered up the story with a bunch of characters that were, ultimately, not significant.
The pacing for the first part is pretty good - slow build, dole out the world and the history and the characters, then just after the halfway point a ton of characters are tossed into the mix (and are very difficult to distinguish/remember since they are just plopped into the story - they just show up/pop in when they are needed as a plot device).
Another reviewer said something about it reading like a graphic novel, and I think that is a pretty accurate assessment - it starts off like a noir urban fantasy, devolves to graphic novel status, then kind of comes back toward urban fantasy again at the end.
I had purchased books 2 and 3 after listening to the first part of this one... perhaps I might have rethought that purchase if I had known about the graphic novel feel, perhaps not... it is still a pretty good story and I liked the main character, so maybe a bit of smash-em-up won't hurt me at all. The narration is good. There is nothing very graphic, but I think there was a very minor bit of swearing.
This was a strange listening experience. I want to say up front that I liked the book. However it is definitely a mixed bag. And I definitely understand some of the comments Im seeing being written about the content.
First, the narration struck me as odd in style. Langton has a "very proper" british accent. While he's easy to follow and understand, I was originally having a problem with his stylistic approach to the content. The story has a "gritty" feel to it, however Langton's reading style reminded me of someone reading "Winnie the Pooh". A very odd paring. And when Langton tries to adopt a "hard" tone, it sounds a little forced by comparison.
However Ido have to say that after a few chapters I started feeling like the tone was more of a British "understatement" style, which I like, and I got a little more in tune with the subtle sarcasm and ironic commentary. But Im not entirely sure whether that was me dealing with the narration or if it was Langton shifting the emphasis of his reading.
The story writing here is strong, and the characters are interesting and fun to follow. But it does jump back and forth in a timeline with different character story lines. It can be difficult to follow but thats not necessarily the problem. The real issue is that this timeline jumping doesn't do that much to propel the story. And frankly isn't that necessary to the overall story arc. It does help to define some character development, but Im left thinking that all that jumping around wasn't necessary and that the story could have been better served using a different approach.
But, overall its a pretty fun listen. I may or may not continue the series. But Im glad I read this one.
"An information intense fantasy download"
This is the first book of the Hellequin series that opens a door in to a fully fleshed world that lives underneath the skin of ours. I purchased this on Audible because it popped up on my feed based on other fantasy that I had purchased and it had good reviews and was cheap, like 7.34 cheap for an almost 11 hour book.
What can go wrong?
In the present, the main character, Nate Garrett, had woke up 10 years a prior with no memory of who he was and found out that he can do magic and has since turned into a magical thief for hire. Then the next chapter takes place in the middle ages and he is a warrior sorcerer who is the is the hit man for Merlin. In the present, his past catches up with him and the stories come together to something that links these two times together.
This book was information dense, meaning if I wasn’t paying attention, I would miss plot points. I tend to fall asleep with my MP3 player on a 15 minute timer and this book kept me up for hours past my bedtime resetting the timer. This is sort of the way I judge audiobooks, this was fast paced, the plot twists were devious and what plot holes it had were totally left there intentionally. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
Advice? Pick it up while it’s still cheap in any format and hold on.
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