Sorry for the delay: this week’s been crazy. Between moving out of the dorm, prepping for graduation (which was this morning! I’m officially a college graduate!), and packing for vacation, I’ve barely had time to think, much less write the promised review of The Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic by Larry Correia.
Okay, so, Ultra-Short Review: Hard Magic is an Epic Sandwich Smothered in Awesomesauce. Run to the nearest bookstore and buy a copy. Right now. You won’t be disappointed.
Now for the Not-As-Short Review: Larry Correia has outdone himself this time. I never thought he could top Monster Hunter International. Boy was I wrong. Hard Magic truly lives up to its claim of being an epic fantasy. The story is filled with deep, multi-dimensional characters, sprawling locales, vivid imagery, magic aplenty, steampunk elements, and of course, lots of kick-ass action. Come to think of it, I think Larry’s invented a brand-new genre with this book: Fantasy-Noir.
Probably the best thing about the book is the villain: The Chairman. This guy isn’t your typical epic-fantasy villain. He’s evil, no doubt about it; in fact, he’s really evil. The thing is, he doesn’t think that he’s evil. No, he thinks that he’s doing the right thing. Sure, untold numbers of people will die, many more will have their lives ruined, but in his mind that’s a small price to pay for trying to prevent what he sees as an even greater evil. This guy makes Correia’s other villains – The Cursed One and The Lord of Shadows from the Monster Hunter series – seem like choirboys.
Backtracking a little bit, I mentioned that Hard Magic is like fantasy-noir. I know you’re probably scratching your head right now, but that’s really the only way I can describe the book. The story takes place in 1932, in an alternate-history United States where magical powers began to appear at random in the world’s population in the early 1800s. The United States and Imperial Japan are the world’s two main superpowers, while what’s left of Germany is pretty much a wasteland. The USA is protected by a series of huge Tesla Death Rays, and zeppelins are the primary mode of transportation across the country and around the world. And a secret war is being fought by two factions of Actives (those with magical abilities) The Imperium, led by the Chairman, and The Grimnoir Knights, led by John Moses Browning and General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.
It might sound corny, but Correia pulls the story off masterfully. There’s no popcorn anywhere in sight.
If you like the Monster Hunter series, you will LOVE Hard Magic. Like MHI, this book will grab ahold of your eyeballs on Page 1 and won’t let go until the last page. Seriously, if you like epic fantasy or hard-boiled noir, or even if you don’t, go pick up a copy from your local bookstore or download it onto your e-reader of choice. You definitely won’t regret it.