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Crimes Against Magic (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 416 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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- Book 1 of 7 in The Hellequin Chronicles
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About the Author
- Publication Date : September 17, 2013
- File Size : 2702 KB
- Print Length : 416 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : 47North; Reprint edition (September 17, 2013)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00CX5BYCI
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #33,356 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I actually like the characters and the writing style, and admit to reading the current 7 books. But due to 1-8 I'm bogged down and cant finish the last one.
So... read and enjoy, but dont binge read them all they will get monotonously repetitious. IMHO.
The book scores major bonus points with me for totally defying the initial trope by the end. Apparently once you remember your dark past, you can choose not to magically turn into a goody-two-shoes and instead of becoming the paragon of virtue and redemption go back to being yourself once more.
As I said, something that’s very important to me as a reader is respecting the reader’s intelligence by providing intelligent protagonists and antagonists who actually use their brains and almost never make stupid mistakes. Too many authors rely on the stupidity of protagonists to get themselves into situations that require a whole book to escape. The author also respects the readers’ intelligence by keeping plot devices such as magic and magical beings logical and consistent. The author succeeds here in that where magic and magical beings are used in the plot, and they are key to the plot(s), they are always subject to well laid out and easily understandable magical laws of nature.
Another thing that is important to me as a reader is complete stories. In my opinion ending a book with with a cliffhanger is an amateurish and insulting way of forcing the reader to keep buying books. Author Steve McHugh takes a far superior approach with the Hellequin series in that each book is its own separate story with its own conclusion. Each installment then builds on previous stories and together build toward an overall series plot that leaves you wanting more without ever feeling cheated or left hanging. As of today I’m up to book-six in the series and will continue buying and reading them as long as the author keeps writing them.
Finally, a comment on the Audible version, the quality and consistency of the performance is very important to most readers. In this case, voice actor James Langton performs brilliantly. He has enough vocal range and the talent needed to give each character their own distinctive voice and because he is the voice of the first 5 books there is a consistency of voices, personalities, and pronunciation that makes the story easy to follow from book to book.
A few things to note for those who care.
There is lots of violence. It is an action book, and though there is some sex, it isn't too graphic, and though the main character is a man who is attracted to beautiful girls, this is not a romance. So if you want a 'they got to know each other and talk about their feelings' book, then this is not for you. There is mild cussing, but only when it is called for. Ex: if a truck almost hits me kind of thing. Though I try not to cuss, especially in front of my kid, when a semi came into oncoming traffic to pass and almost hit me last week.. some words were said.
The writing is getting better as the story goes on, less cheesy sex, and more action and adventure. In the last book the author gets half the book from 3rd person perspective, which is clearly an improvement in the writing style, and lets you get to know Mordred better.
The narration is quite good, but it takes a little to get used with the narrator, which has some interesting intonations. The last 2 books are narrated by somebody else, which is not a plus(even if narration is good), as you get used with the original one through the previous 5 books.
This being said, I recommend the books, and looking forward to follow the story into the Avalon Chronicles!
Top reviews from other countries
So, why 2*?
Because the author starts to get lazy in subsequent episodes. We are introduced to characters who start to take centre stage, and the books gradually descend into the sort of writing more typical of Alex Rivers or CN Crawford, albeit with a bit more blood and gore. You start not to worry about the little coterie surrounding the Hellequin, because you know they can't die, while recurring baddies gradually turn out to be good guys, and the main baddie is telegraphed almost from Book 1 (not necessarily Merlin). And towards the end of the series, there is some truly intolerable 'rubber-banding' (where the powers of an individual are dumbed down/enhanced to match those of their opponent).
On the wokeness question, there is not much evidence of this being a primary focus in the first book, with any issues being handled sensitively. No-one wants to see casual discrimination, bias or unnecessary stereotypes, and volume 1 keeps the balance well. Unfortunately, subsequent volumes up the ante, with social justice issues becoming increasingly prevalent. An assassin with a conscience is a standard trope, but when he is centuries old, it feels slightly off, and is not helped by the portrayal of all of the female protagonists, of whatever persuasion, being superior in all respects to their male equivalents. It is not that this is objectionable per se, but it feels contrived, and is ultimately trite and unworthy, feeling like a male fantasy rather than being a salute to female emancipation. As such, it creates a sense of imbalance and interrupts the flow, thereby damaging the reader’s immersion in the plot. While the issues addressed are valid, the way in which they are handled is clumsy. The best authors can get their message across without distracting from the storyline, and without making it feel like an add-on.
I shall admit to reading the last two of the seven because I wanted to see how Hellequin's story arc ends. If this is your only reason for wanting to read all seven books, then don't, because you will scream in frustration. This series does not actually finish at seven, despite what the blurb says. McHugh has obviously sussed that this universe is a money-spinner, so has sacrificed principle on the altar of Mammon, and if you want a conclusion, it may be somewhere in Book 20, while he experiments with the storylines of teenage werewolves.
By all means, read this and a couple more, but three or four books would have done it.
These books are brilliantly written, there's a good amount of history involved in them too, but not in the way you would expect. The characters are strong and feisty - some have a bit of a bad attitude - but they are all fantastically well-written. There's great humour to these books too. I'm not going to tell you about the storylines because I think you should discover these characters for yourself.
I have been a fan since the first few lines and I can't wait for the latest one which is out in the next couple of weeks, it's already pre-ordered so the minute it lands I'll be right into it. Seriously, give these books a go, you won't regret it.
So onto the good and there was plenty of it. Nate was an interesting character and the world was interesting and well thought out, with a plot that kept me constantly guessing and wanting to hear more. The other characters felt alive and real and while I am not sure who to really get into yet there seemed a lot of potential. For a first in what appears to be a long series there was a good set up and no info dump. Broadly encompassing many areas of myth and making them real I was delighted to find myself in the world of England Merlin, a refreshing change from the usual. In fact it felt really good to be reading a fast paced urban fantasy with plenty of action set in England. I have in fact already downloaded and stated the second. I have high hopes.
Mr McHugh starts with rather a stark character yet with the flash backs we get to build a quite thourough and convincing main character who im overjoyed to see is not without flaw and has a significant dark streak with a take no prisoners attitude when you mess with those he calls friend. Nate is not perfect, he can get hurt physically and emotionally and this makes for some tense moments when your not quite sure everything is going to work out and it gets you fully caught up in the action and just cant put the book down.
The story just seemed to roll along at a breakneck speed and before you know it your done and significant hours have passed in the blink of an eye, some stories you read that have flashbacks tend to feel disjointed and spoil the flow of the story but here the author has managed to make them an integral part of the story and it doesnt even seem an interruption to the main plot . All in all i am thouroughly hooked and the rest of the series got added to shopping basket...... the only problem now is slowing down the consumption of the story lol