After reading Hard Magic (the first in the series) I knew I would like the series but was not convinced I would love it. Any questions I had about the series were thrown out soon after beginning this installment. Initially, this series was hard to describe as it was so different from others I have read. I think I will classify this as Magical Superhero Noir. There are elements of alternate history and the smokey charm of a PI novel set in the 30’s. Larry Correia is writing some of the best Urban Fantasy on the market. If you haven’t read his work yet, you need to get out your credit card and head to your local bookstore!
The series comes into focus through the plot. We come to see the Grimnoir society on an international basis. The Grimnoir society comes off as a 30’s version of the X-Men. They are a group of powerful (magically) active individuals with the dual goals of protecting other actives from the non active “powers that be” and protecting the rest of the world from actives. After receiving a message from beyond the grave, Jake Sullivan sets the groundwork to track a supernatural threat to earth – The PathFinder. Before he can begin his quest, there is an attempt on the life of the President and actives everywhere are looked at with suspicion. A new and powerful agency, the OCI, is rounding up actives to either kill or detain and they have some powerful weapons at their disposal. Jake, Faye and the rest of the crew are in a fight for their life and their freedom as terror is unleashed on actives and the city. Throughout the plot, we come to know the origins of Faye’s power and what sets her apart from the rest of the active population.
It’s Better than a Phone Call from Hell
Yes. There is a phone call from hell or at least somewhere close to hell. Wherever it was, the inhabitants were not very happy. Once again, Correia builds a novel on the foundation of a solid plot and excellent character development. Growing up, my favorite characters from TV were the X-Men and I have a special place in my heart for the mutants. This story channels the great concepts in those comics and sets it in a unique time and place. The idea of the powerful yet misunderstood super humans fighting both their government and other actives while at the same time maintaining pure motives, is a compelling storyline. Beyond the plot, the characters are multifaceted and nuanced. Correia is excellent at creating spoken idiosyncrasies for his characters. He write some of the best dialogue from any genre I have read. This book translates very well into the audio format and allows the reader to build pictures of the characters in their head. Reading this series is an active and visual experience.
There was very little to complain about in this one. Easily one of the top 10 I have read so far this year. If there is any room for complaint it would be that the pacing is a bit slow. Fans of genre will expect a fast paced novel and quick gratification. This series does not do that. I find it very refreshing and enjoyable but not everyone will share that sentiment. For my money, this is probably one of the most intelligent urban fantasy series I have read.
I enjoyed this so much, I immediately moved on to the Hugo nominated third book. If you know someone who doesn’t read UF but enjoys superhero movies, this might be a series they would enjoy. Additionally, it is unique and refreshing amongst its many competitors and the enthusiast is sure to enjoy this entertaining change of pace.
Bronson Pinochet does one of the best narrations I have heard. His timing and pacing is impeccable. He infuses nuance into the voice and his varied accents and range of voices is memorable and entertaining. I am attached to the audio version of this series and will undoubtedly continue in this format.
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 – 1.5
The not so old adage (as far as I know, I made it up) that “its hard to worry about sex when you are saving the world” holds true. There is some relational content but nothing overtly sexual.
Language – 3.5
I would say that the language is a bit more than the average. Moderate use of mild obscenities and low use of the f-word.
Violence – 3.5
As usual, there are plenty of fight scenes. Summoned beings of all shapes and sizes are fought. There is a moderately graphic beheading and discussion of ritual suicide. There is a non ritual suicide and many injuries and blood. It is generally non gory.