When I wrote my post on books like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, I said I would be reviewing one of the books, Hard Magic by Larry Correia. As with my previous book review, this is both a review of the book and the audio version.
Hard Magic is the first book in the Grimnoir Chronicles, and it’s a fun urban fantasy set in the time of Prohibition. Although it follows most of the urban fantast tropes, the time frame made it feel original, and Correia’s magic system feels unique. It has a few similarities to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn magic series, so if you enjoy those books, you’ll probably enjoy this one.
In the world of the Grimnoir, certain people have a magical ability focused in one area: manipulation of fire, affecting gravity, strengthening the body or teleportation, to name a few. Some people have just a minor ability-one character can produce a flame roughly equivalent to a cigarette lighter, while others, known as Actives, have more control or mastery of their powers.
The main character, Jake Sullivan, is an ex-con private eye who was released from prison on the condition that he perform a few jobs for the FBI. This story begins with what Jake thinks is the last of his required jobs. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go quite as he expected. Throughout the book, he discovers there is more to magic than he had thought and that there is an epic battle going on between the forces of good and those of evil. While that sounds cliched, trust me, it works.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, as did my husband, who listened to it on a two-day drive to and from North Carolina on business. He was so grateful for the book that he made me brownies, which I think says something about how much he enjoyed it and how much easier it made the long drive. 🙂
Bronson Pinchot, the reader, made this book. His voices were superb. I found his voice for Jake to be distracting for a few minutes, but as I learned more about the character’s personality, I realized the voice was a perfect fit. His voice for Faye, one of the other important characters, fixed her personality firmly in my mind, and it was a joy to listen to her scenes. While she was a great character, I don’t think I would have enjoyed her as much if I had read instead of listened to the book.
Faye, however, is my one criticism. While I loved the book and am looking forward to listening to the rest of the series, I did think that Faye ended up having too large a role. The book was supposed to be about Jake, and he was important, but some of the major plot points were resolved by Faye, and I felt like she was a character who kind of took over the story. Fortunately, she’s a fantastic character, and I can mostly forgive Correia for letting her get away with so much of the plot.
Definitely a solid 4 stars. It might even be worth 4 1/2.