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Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles Audible – Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 302 customer reviews

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By Nickolas X. P. Sharps VINE VOICE on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hard Magic is Larry Correia's third novel and already he is writing better than authors who have been on the scene for years. Having read both Monster Hunter novels I was well aware of Correia's skill going into Hard Magic but I never expected a masterpiece of this caliber. Reviews have been going around for some time now, Baen published an electronic-Advanced Read Copy a couple months ago and the reviews have been flattering. Some critics had even stated that this is Correia's best book yet. Having finished the novel I can honestly say that such praise is well deserved.

Hard Magic can be summed up as epic-urban fantasy-steampunk-noir-detective thriller-alternative historical-fiction. Correia juggles so many genres and "Big Ideas" that a lesser author would fumble in an instant and mangle into some Frankenstein monster of failed literature. Not only does Correia manage to keep the story uncluttered but he does it with some serious style. The Monster Hunter novels are packed with hardcore action, huge set pieces ,deep characters, and involving plots and yet Hard Magic is able to transcend them and create a whole new level of awesome.

First, the universe Correia has created. Not only does Hard Magic feature a fully functioning, well planned out system of magic but it also gives explanation behind the appearance of this magic. The magical abilities of "Actives" are very cool but at the same time they are explained. There are rules and dangers that come with each form of magic, and the magics themselves are firmly grounded in the universe they inhabit. Correia's alternative version of the 1930's is also a very cool world on its own, and quotes by notable historical figures involving the emergence and use of magic only help to flesh it out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review was posted on Elitist Book Reviews. For more reviews and interviews stop by our blog.

***The Review***

There are very few authors whose body of work makes us cackle with boyish glee. Chris Wooding is one. Jonathan Maberry another. Recently Sarah Pinborough has joined those ranks. For those of you keeping score, when Larry Correia writes something new we drop everything. You can then find us camped out with a flashlight in the living room under a tent made of sheets and blankets. Never mind we own our own homes.

We are just going to come out and say it: Larry Correia's HARD MAGIC, book 1 of the Grimnoir Chronicles, is completely fun and awesome. Everyone knows how much we like his Monster Hunter series. We like this one more. Much more. Everything about HARD MAGIC is positively saturated with style...

...well, and explosions of course.

HARD MAGIC takes place during an alternate USA of the 20' and 30's. Magic has been reintroduced into the world which has obviously changed it dramatically. There is some detective story stuff here and some magic. But apart from those automatic "win buttons" the main thing that Larry's novel has going for it is its epic foundation. This is Epic Alternate Historical Urban Fantasy...with superheroes...kinda. Yeah. Tell us that doesn't sound completely fun and awesome if executed right. And yes, Larry does it right.

You may be tempted to dismiss Larry as a pure action author. The style (and `splosions) over substance type. The explosions and violence are there, and they are GLORIOUS! But we've said it before, and we'll say it again. Larry's work is deceptive. No doubt we read his work for the gunplay (one of the best out there) and the B-movie feeling it all invokes.
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Format: Paperback
The "cool" factor of a book must have, for me, three things.

First, it must have an original feature about it. Secondly, the setting must be believable as well as easy to pronounce. Lastly, it must have very compelling characters and a very intriguing plot. Thankfully, author Larry Correia accomplishes all of these in his latest offering, Hard Magic: Book 1 of the Grimnoir Chronicles.

Jake Sullivan is a con "assisting" the FBI with the arrest and capture of people who are "specials" like him: people who, for unknown reasons, have magical abilities. Jake is what's called a "Heavy": people who can manipulate gravity. Usually associated with the simple-minded and common laborers, Jake is a Heavy who has pushed his ability further than previously thought possible. It is his special talents that come to the attention of the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover (the novel is set in the 1930's) when they need him to arrest 6 "specials" with other powers. Six, and he is pardoned. However, Hoover more or less screws him over by having him "arrest" his former love, Delilah, who is a type of special called a "Brute". You can figure out what that means, I bet.

In the midst of all this, however, is the tale of Faye, a young teen from Oklahoma who was taken in by a Portuguese farmer when he learns that she is talented like him. His ability, to travel through space, is identical to hers, only it comes to light later that she is far more powerful than he ever could be. Just as she's finally settled into her new life (okay, a few years later), someone comes along and murders the man she has grown to call "Grandpa". Faye sees the killer, isn't able to do much other than hurt one of the men, and promptly runs to San Francisco upon her dying "grandfather's" request.
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