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Crimes Against Magic Audiobook

Crimes Against Magic: The Hellequin Chronicles, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

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.

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4.3 (349 )
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  •  
    Ozzymandias Mistworld 29/05/2016
    Ozzymandias Mistworld 29/05/2016 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Crimes against literature"

    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.

    41 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary 25/07/2017
    Gary 25/07/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "Badly written, badly performed"

    This book reads like a juvenile fantasy and much of the dialogue I found cringeworthy or just bad - "He was kneeling on the floor, his hands a raw mess of boiled skin and flesh. They'd been against the edge of the sphere he'd created. 'You've crippled me!' he shrieked" is from late in the book. There's also the occasional part where the full manufacturer's name for a weapon is given ("an Accuracy International Arctic Warfare AWS Covert") which just reads like the author thought the guns were SO COOL (or made the character so cool) that they needed to be named in full, even if it doesn't mean anything to the reader. The dialogue wasn't helped by the reading style of the narrator, elongating odd syllables and having a weird cadence and strange choice of tones for dialogue compared to what is described in the text.

    The main character is also the definition of a Marty-Stu - all the women want him, all the men want to be him or kill him. The only women he doesn't sleep with almost on first sight are either in an abusive relationship or too busy murdering people; He easily beats or kills anyone he faces in combat and if the bad guys have the temerity to capture him, the main character is surer to be saved by deus ex machina than through any struggle on his part.

    22 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T STEVENAGE, United Kingdom 05/05/2016
    T STEVENAGE, United Kingdom 05/05/2016 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Missing something the Dresden Files had."

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MS Rosalind R Orchard 10/02/2016 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No sex please we're British!"
    If you could sum up Crimes Against Magic in three words, what would they be?

    Great fast story


    What other book might you compare Crimes Against Magic to, and why?

    Dresden files and Alex Veras novels


    What about James Langton’s performance did you like?

    Well read, good emotive voice


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, just a few sex scenes which seemed ill placed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Extremely high user of Amazon United Kingdom 04/05/2014
    Extremely high user of Amazon United Kingdom 04/05/2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Completely immersed!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Crimes Against Magic?

    I particularly enjoyed how the book wove together a take of the present and the past -1400's.


    Have you listened to any of James Langton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No I haven't but I really enjoyed his narration and will certainly be searching for more in the future.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This isn't really a story that moved me but certainly had me hooked from the very beginning.


    Any additional comments?

    Absolutely fantastic book and would highly recommend.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10/03/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    5
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    "brilliant book"

    loved it, kept me going really well at work. would suggest anyone that likes magic and real life mixed into one, to listen to this!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sean manning england 04/02/2017
    sean manning england 04/02/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story"

    First time reading any books by Steve Mchugh. Will be looking for the next in series right now. Narration great too.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oscar 30/07/2015
    oscar 30/07/2015 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Unexpectedly great"

    Tried this out of the blue, slight suspicious of the premise, but thoroughly enjoyed it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mackemafc 26/07/2015
    mackemafc 26/07/2015 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    Story
    "Modern Arthurian fantasy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I originally found this series on ebook when I was having a trawl through amazon. I consider it to be one of my best finds. It's a very British update of one of the most classical fantasy stories and is really good read. I'm glad to say that the audiobook version is just as high quality.


    What other book might you compare Crimes Against Magic to, and why?

    The closest comparison for me would be the Desden Files by Jim Butcher


    Which character – as performed by James Langton – was your favourite?

    Nate is an engaging and interesting main character and you really want to find out about his past as the story progresses


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I cant comment too many spoilers :)


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mark enniskeane, Ireland 27/04/2015
    mark enniskeane, Ireland 27/04/2015 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant story."

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters are engaging , the story is captivating and the narration is spot on.
    It's one of the better urban fantasy books I've read in a while.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • Veronica
    St. Louis, MO, United States
    06/08/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    Reader Beware:

    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.

    33 of 38 people found this review helpful
  • Wesley
    New Britain, CT, United States
    28/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Tango
    Texas
    24/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.)

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Suzanne
    MONROE, GA, United States
    12/02/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Cliff
    madison, MS, United States
    22/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good start."
    What did you love best about Crimes Against Magic?

    I like the main character he is interesting and you want to learn more about him.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Crimes Against Magic?

    The fight scenes are excellent. I particularly like the scene against the werewolves early in the book.


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

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Christopher
    Woodinville, WA, United States
    21/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent World"

    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.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    Oshkosh, WI, United States
    02/08/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • DarthVal
    Hickory, NC, United States
    07/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great start to an interesting new UF series"
    Would you listen to Crimes Against Magic again? Why?

    Yes. The story was exciting and action packed. I liked the world building and the characters are interesting.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It had great action without sacrificing plot.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There was a scene where the main character is getting beat up and his instincts kick in from his forgotten life. It turns out that the is a bad @ss, but really had no idea where it came from.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wish I had the time push through the entire book all at once. I had to make myself set it aside to go to bed.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bruce Selzler
    San Jose, Ca
    19/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mixed Feelings"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • crazybatcow
    East Coast, Canada
    29/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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