Do you like 1911s? Do you like giant airships and zeppelins slugging it out with heavy artillery? What about dogfights, gunfight, magic fights, and pithy one-liners like “a bullet is always faster than magic”?
I just finished reading the E-Arc (Electronic Advanced Reader Copy) of Larry Correia’s latest novel, “Hard Magic”, the first book in the Grimnoir Chronicles. It’s part steampunk, part fantasy, part alternate history novel. There really isn’t an established genre for it, but somewhere someone else called it “Diesel Punk” and that’s as good a genre as I would have been able to come up with.
Hard Magic is set in a 1930s era where a percentage of humanity has access to magic, with different people having different skill sets. Some people can alter gravity, some people are super strong, some can control fire, etc. What I really like about Hard Magic is that the “magical” element isn’t the focus of the book. A lot of (hack) writers would have spent the entire book focusing on the magic itself. Larry treats the magic like another plot element – if you took the magic out of the story entirely the book would still hold up and work because the characters are solid.
Speaking of the characters, one of the things that I personally enjoyed about the book wasn’t the good guys – it was the bad guys. I’m a huge fan of bad guys in fiction, and I like bad guys who are bad just because they decide one day to be the bad guy. One of my personal favorite bad guy pairings is Darth Vader and the Emperor from Star Wars. Vader was clearly the focal baddie, but the Emperor was there, controlling, pulling strings, and provided a more quiet form of pure evil. Without giving too much away about the book, the villain pairing of Madi and The Chairman was very shades of Darth Vader and the Emperor, and I mean that in a good way.
Now, there were things I didn’t like about the book. No book is perfect, and I didn’t expect this book to be perfect either. I’ve read Larry’s two previous books and enjoyed them both immensely, because they were action packed, with a fun story and good characters. I came into Hard Magic expecting more action, good characters, and a fun story and that’s exactly what I got.
Bottom line on Hard Magic? If you liked Larry’s first two books, you’ll like Hard Magic. If you like action, pithy dialog, sweet airships, teleporting ninjas, zombies, and .50 caliber machine guns than not only will you really like Larry’s book, but you’re my kind of people.