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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mad scientist ( biscuit division)
I listen to a lot of podcasts and while it might not be fair to the authors/performers i judge everything against my staple weekly diet of decoder ring theatre and scott sigler. This looked interesting as i had just come off the back of a dresden files novel and the rivers of london series in kindle format. I needed something for in the car and this sounded like fun.I was right.This novel expects you to keep up and pay attention while still holding the popcorn style fun factor. Sure it can be a little violent at times but nothing too bad and maybe the plotting is a little erratic but the characterisation and smooth delivery make it a superb listen. I enjoyed it so much I'm now going to download the next one. See you on the other side.
Love driving and audiobooking.
One of the best series in my audible library so far.
You'll have to listen to it yourself ;) The Story is great.
Sullivan. Such a great character and amazingly brought to life. Faye is a close second.
After Monster hunter (by the same author), this shows the author developing. Along with the narrator being great for this story, thoroughly enjoyed this and the rest of the series.
Awesome adventure story, keeps moving, lots of great characters, and the narrator hits it out of the park! Definitely goes to the top of my "must re-read" list!
If you want fast pace, gun toting action incorporating a bit of magic thrown in to add spice then you could do a lot worse than this. I can't put my finger on why I liked it, but I did and I'll be getting the whole series. Though it's a audio book it's one "I couldn't put down" ;-)
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.
"great mashup of james bond, the x-men, and columbo"
i'm usually not drawn to alternate history type stories, but after listening to and really enjoying larry correia's monster hunter series, i decided to try hard magic. like many other reviewers, i was a bit skeptical of the story b/c of the description. i wasn't sure of the whole detective angle. but being a fan, i decided to go for it, and boy am i glad i did!
correia uses the detective angle to open the story. jake sullivan is released from rockville prison by j edgar hoover on the condition that he helps hoover catch law-breaking actives. actives are humans with magical abilities. each active has a specific magical ability. jake is a heavy, which means he can manipulate gravity. hoover wants jake to capture his ex-girlfriend, delilah, a brute, who are actives with enhanced strength and speed.
as jake investigates delilah, he learns that things aren't what they seem. without divulging too much of the plot, jake stumbles across a hidden war between actives, and he must choose sides. yes, this may be cliche, but larry correia makes it a thrilling ride.
the story is kind of like a mashup of james bond, the x-men, and columbo. the bad guys' intentions are as sweeping as those of spectre's, except their methods are even more depraved and vicious! the magic system is extremely unique and interesting. as a heavy, jake is assumed to be a dimwit, and like columbo, he allows others to assume that train of thought until his spark of intellect surprises those around him. again, this is kind of cliche, but it is well done, well timed, and utterly enjoyable.
true to correia's style, there is a great cast of characters, each with their own unique magical power. the supporting cast have their own interesting backstories, which add depth to their characters. each character is well-developed, and fits into the plot.
as an alternate history story, correia adds nice touches by having each chapter open with quotes from famous people, ranging from abraham lincoln to einstein to teddy roosevelt to adolph hitler.
although the story starts kind of slow...the first 2 & 1/2 hours...what starts as a simple detective story unfolds into an action-packed thrill ride to save the world from a megalomanic, reminiscent of professor xavier vs. magneto. to those of you who don't know what i'm talking about, the are characters from marvel's x-men who butt heads and fight over the future and direction of the mutants. sorry...i was geeking out for a while. lol yes, i've read a lot of comics and manga.
overall, an excellent story! if you liked larry correia's monster hunter stories, i'm pretty sure you'll dig hard magic. the stories are disimilar enough that you won't feel like you're listening to the same thing, but they are similar enough in that they're both awesome and unique stories. geezzzz...does that even make sense? lol
if you've never listened to nor read larry correia's monster hunter stories, then don't be afraid of hard magic. it is a great jumping off point to experience his exquisite storytelling!
omg! i would be remiss w/o mentioning bronson pinchot's narration! i can't believe this is the same guy who played balki from the tv show perfect strangers! lol i'm showing my age! bronson's narration is amazing! his range of voices is staggering, from jake's deep voice to faye's flighty, country twang, bronson believably pulls of different accents and tones so well that you think there's multiple narrators! this is my first time listening to his narration, and he's one of the best i've heard!
"Larry Correia did it again!!!!"
Publisher's Summary is the worst kind possible!!!!
It tells facts which definitely relate to the current story
but it doesn't tell you the most important bits, so let me:
Alternate Universe 1930s
Famous Events and Characters
And all of it written by Larry Correia (author of MHI)
If you need any more reasons to spend your credit, listen to the sample and enjoy amazing narration by Bronson Pinchot.
"Hard Magic is an Easy Pick!"
I came into this book with little expectation. Having heard the first two Monsters Inc. Books, and enjoying them, I thought I would give this one a go.
I really enjoyed the story, found the concepts intriguing and the characters solid. The voice work of Bronson Pinchot added depth and brought the characters to life, making this a 5 star pick for me.
Looking forward to the next book in this series
"I've taken the oath."
I loved everything about this book. The characters were interesting and likable/hatable. The story was well told, with plenty of unexpected twists and fresh ideas. I really like the alternative history meets science fiction/fantasy convention. I was sad that it ended, but glad to know there was another book in the series. I will gobble that one up very soon.
I personally pledge allegiance to the Grimnoir.
Also, I want to say something about Bronson Pinchot. The guy is an amazing, amazing narrator. Sure, he was fun to watch on TV and in the movies. But reading books like this one, as well as others (Matterhorn springs to mind) seems, to me at least, to be the ideal expression of his particular performer's genius. He is working his butt off here and as a listener, I can't thank him enough. He can create a dozen characters, male and female, and each one stands on their own sonic merits. I work in the audio medium from time to time and I know how difficult such a thing is to accomplish, and I just have to say, bravo, Mr. Pinchot. You make it look/sound easy.
"Pinchot and Correia are a dynamite combo!"
I love it and respect when a single narrator can portray a different voice for each character, male and female, several nationalities, and keep it straight throughout the book. Every time Mr Pinchot reads dialogue, you can identify who's doing the talking, and he really brings the characters to life in my head. If you've ever listened to Correia before you know he loves describing all the firearms with passion of a real shooter and he brings that to this series as well but to a lesser degree, which to me is a nice change of pace and allows room for the brand of magic involved as well as how the magic affects the martial arts in this book. I feel this puts this series on a leval above monster hunters intl, which I was a fan of and led me to give this a try.
The story,plot,setting, and characters are improved over MHI, but my hat's off to Mr. Pinchot for stealing the show.
The villian, The Chairman. I love it when things aren't black and white. By defeating the unbeatable villian you risk running into a worse villian, then wishing you had the help of your defeated foe!?
Tie between Faye and Sullivan
Sullivan bring new meaning to "heavy duty"
Great, original book, with a good follow up with the second book. Like no story that's come before it.
"Buy this book"
You owe it to yourself to buy this book. This author is amazing and ORIGANAL! This novel is a bit of a departure from M.H.I but in a great way, that makes it stand on it's own. The characters are very deep and easy to fall in love with. The action secqances are amazing. In short I loved this f--king book.
"A little bit of everything"
Jake Sullivan is not your average Heavy. He spent his jail time honing his skills and improving his mind and now he???s J. Edgar Hoover???s super-weapon, useful for fighting Fades, Torches, Brutes, and any of the other Actives who are using their magic for criminal purposes. Jake doesn???t like being used this way, but it???s his ticket out of prison. When the FBI asks Jake to bring down Delilah Jones, the Brute who used to be his girlfriend, Jake gets caught up in a world-wide battle that involves magic, mobsters, zombies, zeppelins, Ninjas and Nikola Tesla???s peace ray.
Knowing that Larry Correia was into big guns and B movies, I wasn???t planning to pick up Hard Magic, the first of his Grimnoir Chronicles. It doesn???t really sound like my kind of thing. But then I noticed that it was released in audio by Audible Frontiers (who always do a superb production) and narrated by actor Bronson Pinchot. I decided to give it a shot, and I???m glad I did. Even though it is a bit too gory for me, Hard Magic is an exciting story with a fully-developed world, a cool magic system, terrific characters, and some hard-hitting action scenes.
I won???t even try to classify Hard Magic ??? it???s urban, it???s alternate history, it???s paranormal, it???s steampunk, it???s romance, it???s horror, it???s noir ??? it???s a little bit of everything. The story is set in an alternate 20th century between WWI and WWII. Magic talents have evolved in some humans so that each Active has one particular skill. For example, Jake Sullivan can alter gravitational forces, making himself or other objects light or heavy, Torches can set or put out fires, and Brutes have super strength. In addition to these heritable magical skills, the Germans have developed a way to create zombies to keep their soldiers fighting during The Great War, and the Japanese have developed their own nearly indestructible human super-weapons which they call the Iron Guard. And everyone wants to find the missing pieces of the machine that Nikola Tesla built...
"Not what I thought it would be"
Larry Correia knows how to spin a story, Bronson Pinchot did a wonderful job at narration. I never heard him narrate anything, Pinchot is excellent at voices and expressions. The story was a bit confusing to me the first 15 minuets, But once I figured out the premise, the action NEVER STOPPED. This says Book 1, I do hope that Audible will be getting book 2 when it is available. It was truly an enjoyable surprise.
"Can't wait for the sequel!"
Wasn't sure about this book but listened to the first 2 Monster Hunter International (which was cool that they were based in Alabama) and thought I would try this. I fell in love with Jake Sullivan. The quotes from and about 'famous' people were hysterical! The sequel, Spellbound, is already out in book form - but I'm going to wait for the audio. Just hope Bronson Pinchot will get the read. His voices were great.
"Magical gunny goodness"
Once again Larry Correia brilliantly mixes real-world and fiction. A well written book that leaves you waiting for the next one.
Bronson Pinchot does a great job with the narration as well. I would highly recommend this book.
And if you like this book, try Monster Hunter International, Monster Hunter Vendetta, and hopefully Monster Hunter Alpha will be out soon as well.
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