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Hard Magic

(Grimnoir Chronicles #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  14,784 ratings  ·  1,175 reviews
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye-and an ex-con. He's free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and objects in his vicinity, and the Bureau of Investigation calls on him when they need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical talents. But the last operation he was sent along to help with went complet ...more
Kindle Edition, 1 edition , 432 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Baen Books (first published 2011)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,784 ratings  ·  1,175 reviews

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Start your review of Hard Magic (Grimnoir Chronicles, #1)
May 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Correia fans and people who don't want to know about authors' politics
Recommended to carol. by: Fantasy Aficionados
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 more 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 ...more
WINNER:...BESTest, most FUN-Drenched and PAGE-Turniest new hard-boiled, magical, steampunk, noirish, alternate history, gun-toting, action-orientated urban fantasy.

Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series has been guilty pleasure of mine for a few years. Now, with Hard Magic, the first of a new series called the Grimnoir Chronicles, Correia unloads the guilt and pumps up the pleasure by crafting a smart, authentic, incredibly fun alternate history in which magic has been incorporated
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Mike (the Paladin)
This is a big greasy double cheeseburger...with 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 haven't seen it exactly...adventure, 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. B
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ree
Tim The Enchanter
Excellent Magic Noir - 4 Stars

Posted to The Literary

Being that I am a big fan of the gun toting, monster slaying cowboys in Larry Corriea's Monster Hunter International it 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
Mr. Matt
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 more. 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.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Beanbag Love
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Correia's Hard Magic is a genre-crossing novel: epic, urban fantasy, alternative history, steampunk, noir-detective thriller all rolled into a single story. The story is set in the 1920s and 1930s, with the Japanese seeking supremacy after Germany has been subdued. At the heart are two complex, but well-developed characters in the classic good vs. evil battle. First, Jake Sullivan can alter his personal gravity (a "Heavy.") He has been recently paroled to assist the Feds in capturing criminals, ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Okie teleporters, red-headed magical ninja, New Orleans madames with super-strength
Contrary to its title, Hard Magic is not an urban fantasy: it's basically a superhero novel. Set in an alternate history between world wars, a mysterious alien "power" came to Earth in the middle of the 19th century and granted a subset of the population magical powers. For the majority of "Actives," these powers come in singular and well-defined forms: there are "brutes" who have super strength, "torches" who are pyrokinetics, "mouths" with mind control powers, "heavies" who can manipulate grav ...more
Kat  Hooper
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Jake Sullivan is not your average Heavy. He spent his jail time honing his skills and improving his mind and now he’s J. Edgar Hoover’s super-weapon, useful for fighting Fades, Torches, Brutes, and any of the other Actives who are using their magic for criminal purposes. Jake doesn’t like being used this way, but it’s his ticket out of prison. When the FBI asks Jake to bring down Delilah Jones, the Brute who used to be his girlfriend, Jake gets caught up i
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
Ryan Draga
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've now read this along with Book 2 of the series (entitled "Spellbound"). I found this on a whim as an audiobook on Audible whilst looking for something for my girlfriend. I had a few free monthly credits thanks to a promotion, so I snagged both books.

First off, for novelty's sake I should note that the audiobooks are (quite wonderfully) narrated by none other than Bronson Pinchot...known to most of us 80s kids as Balki from Perfect Strangers.

Now I'll be honest here, when I saw a pulpy-looking
Heather Bobrowicz
The characters are largely forgettable (especially the females-- some border on insulting), the possibly interesting setting is neglected in favor of dirigible-set combat, there's not enough atmosphere to invoke the "noir" suggested by the subtitle, and the ethnic stereotypes are cringe-worthy. I felt less like I was getting some fantasy/noir experience and more like I was reading the novelization of an uninteresting comic book. It's a mercifully quick read, but I wound up largely regretting the ...more
This was a great world and setting created by the author- a blend of magic, steampunk, magic and noir. I enjoyed the characters and their different powers: travellers, Brutes, Faders, Gravity benders. Very well conceived! Sort of like the Diviners with guns and violence!
An odd mix of Steampunk and sci-fi, elements of fantasy. Think film noir meets The X-men in an alternate history. Various characters have "powers" over elements, gravity, The time-frame is between the World Wars, but this is a US with regular blimp and train travel with a united Asia (imagine Mao working with Hirohito) poised to take over the world. Correia's world is fairly well-crafted, with interesting touches of humor--oblique references to the alternate nature of this history where a fanati ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a great spin on the noir genre with magic and alternate history thrown into the mix. Reminded me of Mickey Spillane, Scott Westerfield's Leviathan series, Monster Hunters International and Jim Butcher's Dresden books all rolled into one heck of an action packed story. I'll be reading the next one. ...more
Jim Gorman
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this audiobook at my local library; it's read very nicely by Bronson Pinchot. It's a rather long and involved fantasy that can't seem to decide if it wants to be a superhero adventure or a modern fantasy with political airs or an alternate-history study with magic stirred in... It does all of these things well enough from scene to scene, but seems to lack focus. Perhaps if I had picked up the print version it would have been clearer... In the meantime, there were several very enjoyable s ...more
Nowadays my reading has real ups and downs. I DNF some, I absolutely adore others, which probably means I tried a bunch of things and took the risks. Or I don't know what's going on, but this one was absolutely fantastic in my opinion.
We had everything. Alternate history '30s, people with superpowers, crazy weapons that could destroy the whole world, steampunk, zombies, a secret society of people who try to save the world no matter what. I swear it had everything.
The two protagonists are a tel
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not one for me I'm afraid. This was a novel that seemed, from the description, to be trying to do something really interesting with the Urban Fantasy genre but doesn't succeed.

The Good:
- The story moves along at a fast pace
- The action scenes are well written and exciting (although a couple feel like they are thrown in for no real story reason and the final one goes on for too long in my opinion).
- The idea is pretty original.

The Bad:
- The writing. Just to point out that I'm not saying here th
Mogsy (MMOGC)
This book is just way cool! It did take a while for me to get into it; for about the first 10% I was completely lost and figured I was going to have to force myself to finish. That said, the development of the story and the setting up of the world is on the heavy, extensive side especially in the beginning -- but patience pays off.

The reason behind all that build-up is simple: the Grimnoir Chronicles series takes place in probably one of the most awesome and unique fantasy worlds I've ever had
Skylar Phelps
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mobsters and magic, what's not to like??

This was a really unique and very cool book. I haven't read anything quite like it before. It's pretty much an alternate history and urban fantasy blend set in the early 1900s and it's loaded with cool stuff like zeppelins, zombies, and retro guns galore! And of course, some serious magic.

I thought the writing was very good and the narrator of the audio version did a fantastic job. I'd recommend it if you're looking for something out of the ordinary with
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
If you've enjoyed Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International series, then you'll love Hard Magic, the first of his series set in an alternative history in 1930s America, where for just over seventy years (since the 1860s) magic has begun to manifest in random people around the world. Some become stronger, others can walk through walls, and still others can heal, curse, see the future, teleport, control the weather, raise demons, or create zombies.

That's right. You didn't think that Correia wou
Julie Davis
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye — and an ex-con. He’s free because he has a magical talent and the Feds need his help in apprehending criminals with their own magical abilities. ... Jake found out that not only have the Feds been lying to him, but there was a secret war being waged by opposing forces of magic-users. Worse still, he had attracted the attention of one side’s ruthless leaders — who were of the opinion that Jake was far too dangerous to be permitted to live.
This looked li
Janie Johnson
I was recommend this book by a friend, so I decided to try it out even though it is an adult fantasy and I rarely do well with this genre. I both listened to this book and read along with it which helped since I don't really like Audio all that much. The story did keep my interest, it just did not blow me away. I am glad I read it and I think there is enough here to the story for me to venture into the next one.

Jake Sullivan is a licensed Private Eye—with a seriously hardboiled attitude.
Steve Naylor
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating 4.0 stars.

I really enjoyed this book but not as much as I think I should. I enjoyed almost every aspect of it, but for some reason that I can't really articulate I can't give it 5 stars. Usually I can come up with reasons for taking stars away, but in this case I can't really put my finger on why. The magic system was very interesting and it was explained in more detail as the story went along. The time period was around the 1930's and magic had been around for a long time. Some of the
A fun ride that launches a mystery right from the start. The characters who make up the Grimmnoir are so unique and are all introduced thoroughly without lingering on too many small details. The different magical powers they all possess and the different ways they use them is realy sensational, a lot of unexpected twists and turns.

Throughout the story we learn more about the depth of each character and they about eachother, which in turn, helps them to build a wonderful commeradery and the learn
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOOOVE this book. I'll post a more comprehensive review when I can be bothered! BTW this is a reread. ...more
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Larry Correia (born 1977) is the New York Times bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International series, the Grimnoir Chronicles, and the thriller Dead Six.

Other books in the series

Grimnoir Chronicles (3 books)
  • Spellbound (Grimnoir Chronicles, #2)
  • Warbound (Grimnoir Chronicles, #3)

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