[download] Hard MagicAuthor Larry Correia – Blockdiagramwiring.co
Unfortunately, Hard Magic doesn t measure up to Correia s first series, Monster Hunters International One reviewer hit it on the head when he noted that there is a lack of world building, and tossed in 1920s vocabulary is supposed to stand for setting There s detail on guns then there are physical characteristics of setting and mood, critical elements of the detective noir There s a lot of odd ethnic referrals going on as well that make me vaguely uncomfortable I don t know a lot about the 20s, but it almost seems if Correia is pulling on American political attitudes from the 40s 50s post WWII in his characterizations of Germans and Japanese and the political divisions I get the feeling he didn t research the 1920s for this book like he watched a couple of Al Capone movies.I enjoyed Faye, the grey eyed talented Okie kid who grows into her power, but I think I loved her because I root for grrl power, and not because the characterization was done particularly well Her simplistic speech pattern when we are inside her head need finesse as she progresses through her development As usual, females play the almost but not quite equal role, despite the actions of Faye One s a healer and one s a ex prostitute I believe there s an ex ho in Monster as well , so you can pretty much tell from there how their characterization is going to run view spoiler Yes, I get that Faye saved the day However, she does so with a sense of glee and with her uneducated speech text, and she s still technically a juvenile, so she s not equal or sophisticated enough to rank with the male leaders Her end scene with the jellyfish might negate my assessment, but that section is a little to weird to analyze hide spoiler Cool no, not nearly cool enough Cooooool so now we re not even using our words Nope Super cool almost makes it less cool no Very cool oh, now we re getting so descriptive no Chilly apparently the thesaurus isn t working, nope Boss actually on the way to fitting despite going back a few decades, not quite Bully actually getting to the right decade, but still not there Cawbullboss aka Coolawesomebullyboss I was right up above, needed a new word to describe this Yep, Hard Magic reeks of cool in the best possible way, especially when read by Bronson Pinchot Yup, the Perfect Strangers actor is, despite his character, one of the coolest narrators I ve ever listened to.Speaking of cool Jake Sullivan Jake freaking Sullivan He s easily the coolest character I ve ever read He s a slow witted meathead, at least it would appear on the surface, and you would think I would hate him, but that couldn t be farther from the truth Not only is he actually a very smart guy, but he works hard and keeps his word And you probably don t want him to keep his word, it usually doesn t bode well for people This brings me to something I really enjoyed about this book Correia s magic system in this book is excellent It s extremely well thought out, but even better is that people can also use it in ways than it appears Jake is one of those who has figured out a way to use his magic differently, he s figured out that manipulating things so that he can easily lift them or move them is just a small portion of what his magic can do It allows him to manipulate gravity much the same as a certain character in The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson I ve heard a lot about Larry Correia and never anything less than positive Already he was on my list of authors to read, but I ve obviously taken my sweet time getting there Let me tell you, I waited far too long.Hard Magic takes place around the time of the Great Depression It s the early 1930 s and things are not going well for people However, there are oakies, gangsters, pin stripes, and everything cool about this time period There are also secret organizations, some good and some bad, and there s to the magic than it first appears I won t waste your time any This was such a great read, with great characters and a great narrator in Bronson Pinchot, even though it did take some time to warm up to him His slow drawl for Jake Sullivan was just pure genius But beware, this may just make you cooler.4.5 out of 5 Stars very highly recommended When I started to read this book my expectations were completely different from what the book was about Look at the cover read the blurb heck read the title of the series I expected something like Raymond Chandler or James M Cain with some magic thrown in an urban fantasy in the beginning of twentieth century Instead I got X Men set in twenties and general atmosphere of forties of the same century To make my life easier I explain some plot elements it terms of X Men world I will put these explanations in parenthesis Some time before the book events start some people mutants suddenly acquire supernatural abilities A groups of such people with powerful abilities decided to create a secret society called Grimnoir X Men to protect others with such abilities from normal people who naturally distrusted them and help the normal people The biggest US branch of Grimnoir was led by General Black Jack Pershing Professor Charles Francis Xavier A new guy called Jake Sullivan Wolverine ended up in this Grimnoir cell practically against his will I can trace the further parallels, but will risk the wrath people to whom I give too many spoilers So full stop with the plot I liked the main character Jake Sullivan he was well developed and relatable A young girl Faye Vierra Rogue was at least interesting, but she definitely divided the opinion of reviewers Some thought she was great, while others thought she was not strong enough, or too stereotypical, or not serious enough In any way she made an impression The action was great as I came to expect from Larry Correia Now the question comes why only 3 stars For starters I already mentioned different expectations I still think that what I expected would be better Everybody who read Monster Hunter series already guessed the author is a big gun enthusiast and I expected some interesting gunfight scenes However magic was deciding factor in any fight and guns ended up being meaningless again despite what the cover suggests My second big problem with the book there were too many points of view for my liking and switches between them happened way too often Such frequent switches might work in epic fantasy although I really hated them in Malazan Book of Fallen but in any other subgenre of fantasy it only serves to annoy.Too many good people bit the dust while baddies just shrugged and kept doing their nefarious deeds It would not be too bad except for the fact that no bad guy girl impressed me as an interesting character worth rooting for I also missed the humor of Owen Zastava Pitt Even enigmatic and emotionless Agent Franks said some great one liners from time to time This book was way too serious.So my verdict is 3 stars Would I read the next book The jury is still out on this one Oh and by the way if I created an impression that it is a retelling of X Men, I am sorry The book is inspired by the comics, but is not a copy. This is a big greasy double cheeseburgerwith all the works kind of a book It s not deep, it s full of action, a rather unique magic system that while you ve probably seen things close toyou haven t seen it exactlyadventure, and imagination I like it So far I ve pretty much liked everything Mr Correia has turned out.Maybe if we had a 10 star system here I might have given it a 9 as there are a lot of books I d rate higher The same goes for a half star system, it might get a 4.5 But we don t have either of those, we have an out of 5 star rating system, and I think it deserves a bit better than a 4, soI went to the complete 5 The novel is all story right from the get go without the slow build up you sometimes get even in action novels While we don t find out what color socks each person wears or how they feel about polar bears or their favorite snack they are well drawn and complete You come to know them and care when.well, that would be a spoiler You ll see influences here from other well done fantasy Don t get me wrong, the story is very original and shows lots of imaginative thought, it s all Mr Correia s own, still there are distant echos of so many from H.P Lovecraft to Sax Rohmer with maybe a nod to Bob Kane The book does something I ve seen done before in that Mr Correia takes actual people from history and re imagines them into this very alternate history where magic has come to exist As many are people I m interested in one way and another and some I find very interesting as in for example John Moses Browning or John J Black Jack Pershing I won t give any details about the way the world s different or the basis for the magic system other than what I ve already said It may slightly resemble things you ve seen before, but it s one of the original systems and alternate histories I ve seen.As you may have guessed by now, all in all I like the book Not great literature but a great read Maybe not the best, maybe a few gripes, no need to go into those really Are you curious I ll mention one below, but it s no big deal but nothing to turn me away I d say the book is fun, and it is, but there are serious moments and even some emotional moments Well, done, well told, well written, enjoyed and recommended enjoy view spoiler nothing much here One reason I might have dropped a half star was that there is a bit, and only a bit of social or political commentary which I agree with mostly, but not entirely BUT most of that is in imagined quotes in chapter headings and has nothing to do with the story at all No reason not to read the book if you like Urban Fantasy, Action or both Very little down side to this bit of brain candy hide spoiler I had high expectations when I picked it up and, boy, I was not disappointed Awesome Simply awesome The book grabs you early and doesn t let go And it has everything super bad bad guys, zombies, dames, magic, and Plus, I loved the setting a blend of steampunk and 30 s and 40 s pulp fiction rollicking adventure A great read Downgraded to four stars after some reflection Fun read, but not a classic. Excellent Magic Noir 4 Stars Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca Being that I am a big fan of the gun toting, monster slaying cowboys in Larry Corriea sMonster Hunter Internationalit seemed natural that I would give his other series a shot I am glad that I did Correia bends the Urban Fantasy Genre once again by melding elements of noir with alternate history sci fi The result is a unique reading experience that sets it apart from the Dresden clones Plot summary For a large portion of the book, two major parallel storylines are taking place with a few smaller ones for good measure The first focuses on Jake Sullivan, an ex military, ex con spiker a person able to alter or spike gravity under the thumb of the government The second story line focuses on Faye, an Oakie Gypsy girl sold to a kind hearted farmer who shared her power as a Traveler a person able to transport themselves from one place to another After each of the them suffer a series of unfortunate events they each come into contact with a secret society of Actives people with magical powers Of course, once they do, all hell breaks loose The Good Great Feel The story was atmospheric and the reader has the sense that some of these characters would fit in with a bunch of gangsters in a mob flick or would be solving crimes from their poorly light, smoke filled offices This is unlike most books in the UF genre which tend to be character centric while the setting is blurred or generic The novel is deeply rooted in a period of time While I don t recall that a date was given, you have the sense that it occurring in the 40 s or 50 s The difference is that it is not the 40 s and 50 s that show up in our text books Hitler, Einstein, Tesla, J Edgar Hoover and a wide array of historical figures existed but their lives and deaths did not necessarily unfold as we remember Some of them, Einstein and Tesla for example, were Cogs Actives whose intellect is augmented by magic At the beginning of each chapter, the author quotes historical figures The quotes are generally related to real events but make reference to appearance or use of magic This literary device did an excellent job of helping the reader he was reading an alternate history The Bad It s the good kind of slow Fans of Monster Hunter International have come to expect specific pace from of Larry Corriea book Namely, a plot on full auto with a hurricane at its back This novel on the other hand moves at leisurely pace For the most part, this did not bother me It did seem that from time to time the plot was dragging or some obstacle was put in the way simply to draw out the story For some lovers of UF the pace with put them off While it did detract somewhat from book and ultimately my rating don t let it scare you away The genre mixing style is entertaining and fun Final Thoughts I enjoyed the world building and a magic system that people did not understand The exploration of how magic suddenly appeared and where it came from is an interesting aspect of the story Corriea s ability to draw in the reader and engage them with his story never fails to impress While Monster Hunter International remains my go to series for all things Larry Corriea, this is an excellent addition to Corriea lore Audiobook Notes The narration was 5 star The narrator is genius with voices and accents He does an especially good job of bringing to life two the odd speech patterns of the two unique characters Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sex violence language content of book if you are interested I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading Disclaimer I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read I am simply giving approximations.Scale 1 Lowest 5 Highest Sex 2 There is some sexual tension between a few characters Once character is revealed to be a former prostitute Sex is implied on at least one occasion Overall, the sexual content is low Language 3.5 Corriea does not shy away from the use of adult language That said, there is less than in the Monster Hunter International series Moderate occurrences of mild obscenities and low occurrences of the f word Violence 4 There is plenty of magical and gun related violence As there is war between factions of those who have magic, there are battles on many fronts There a several scenes where characters are disemboweled and it is moderate to highly graphic In most every chapter, at least one person is killed by a wide array of means It is pervasive and occasionally graphic. A good entertaining read, full of action, throughout the book Most interesting character is a young woman, who I hope grows in heaps in the next books. 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 S 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 4.5 Stars I downloaded this book from Audible way back in February, but I hadn t touched it since then It could be that I tried to start Correia s Monster Hunter International series a couple times, but it just didn t grab me, and so I thought this one would be the same way I was very wrong about that Almost from the first line I was drawn into this story I loved it, and have every intention of finishing out the series and getting back to the MHI series I do think that quite a large part of my enjoyment of this book was due to Bronson Pinchot s reading though I followed along in the e book for a good chunk of this because I wanted to see some of the terms that I was hearing, and I realized that he wasn t just reading the book aloud, he was performing it He wheezed, he croaked, he mumbled, he did the accents and I liked it His cadence and accent while reading The Pale Horse brought that character to life so much than the words on the page alone would have I know that this is a complete turnaround from my long held stance against readers doing the voices , but in this case, I feel like it benefited the book than it got in the way of it But, on the other hand, the ebook edition did have lovely sketches of some of the characters, and I really enjoyed those I will say that there were times when I wished he d have gone in a different direction with the reading, though For instance, I LOVED the way that he voiced Jake Sullivan, and I found myself wishing that he had dialogue so I could listen to of him But Jake is a very large man, even among big men, so when he yells, I expect a bellowing roar What I got was of a slightly raised voice It was OK, but I wished he d just go for it and make me really FEEL the intensity and urgency of the moment that made quiet Jake need to yell in the first place Or, another example, sometimes he d end a sentence with a slightly higher tone than I thought it should have had To me, the sentence He was pissed is one that should almost be read staccato, and the last word should be either the same tone and inflection as the other two, or slightly lower To me, it sounds SERIOUS that way Dangerous You don t want to fuck with him when he s pissed But Pinchot would sometimes read sentences like that with a slightly raised inflection at the end Not quite enough to make it sound questioning, but as if it was amusing, and it just seemed strange to me But other than these little things, I thought that he did a fantastic job reading the book, and I hope that he reads the entire series because now that his performance is in my head, I don t think that anyone else would be able to hold a candle to it Not even myself, in the unlikely event that I were to continue in text form But enough about the audio itself This story was fascinating, and I really enjoyed it I loved the characters, and I loved the magic system, and I loved the conflicts and the tone and the setting and well pretty much everything I loved the alternate history style I haven t read very many alt hist books, but the ones that I have, I enjoyed quite a bit I think that I will need to read of these, because I m not sure if it s the novelty of seeing real historical figures and events morphed into very different versions that I enjoyed, or the skill of Correia s execution in doing so But honestly, it doesn t matter, because I DID like it, and that s enough for me I definitely want to learn about the umm source of the magic, and about the different skills that the Grimnoir mentioned but that we didn t much get to see in action I want to live in this world for a while, so I ll definitely be picking up the other books in the series. This alt history magic noir series is a great mind bender I love Larry Correia s no holds barred action writing His world building in this is fantastic and the attention to detail is superb I had been told by other fans of Monster Hunter International that this was even better and I think I might agree Jake Sullivan is a gravity manipulating Heavy , forced to do jobs rounding up other magical Actives for J Edgar Hoover Faye Vierra is a girl of indeterminate age a teenager who has a rare ability and an over abundance of Power Delilah is a Brute, Francis is a Mover, Lance can talk through squirrels, Jane can Heal, and Blackjack Pershing is in trouble It s intricate, driven, even poignant, and it engages completely The use of real history and people is done with finesse and incredible cleverness As always, Correia s action sequences are over the top and filled with suspense and gore There s an element of superhero mythology one reference made me laugh out loud at the end as well as military suspense, steampunk and epic fantasy Jake does seem like Owen Pitt the protag from MHI in a different setting, but that s okay because I love Owen And this is third person so we get many points of view and they re all fascinating And, yes, the story structure is also a lot like MHI but, again, I love MHI s story structure so I have no complaints The rich detail of this imagined world is so full and unique I can t imagine the similarity of one character is going to bother anyone too much Check your political correctness at the door This is noir written in the context and verbiage of 1920 s 30 s post war America And what impresses me so much is the accuracy of tone and general worldview of the time coupled with the outrageous aspects of the fantasy element Correia has done an amazing job.I had one complaint but it s a spoiler so I won t tell It wasn t enough to lower the rating, however Now to distract myself so I don t plow through the next one and end up with nothing left.