I simply adored this trilogy! I don’t think I have ever finished a trilogy and then immediately began reading book one again like I did with this one. When it was over I just wanted to peak back at how it began. I honestly didn’t think I would listen to all three books again but that is exactly what I did. There were little details I had missed the first time as well as some things that became clear the second time through since I was in pain, on drugs and grieving the first time through. I think that’s another reason I didn’t want to let the trilogy go. It had been a huge comfort to me through what was probably the most difficult few weeks of this year.
My friend Ricardo told me about “Hard Magic” when he was reading it and he was very enthusiastic about it. I can’t remember if I checked it out then, but later when it was an Audible daily deal and Ricardo noticed and told me, I read the publisher’s summary. Honestly, whoever wrote the summaries for these books did them a vast disservice in my opinion. A private detective who uses magic? Um, isn’t there already a hugely popular series of books like that? The book just didn’t sound appealing to me at all. However Ricardo has never recommended a book I didn’t like and it was a daily deal so I took a chance. Oh thank goodness I did!
“Hard Magic” begins when a farmer is annoyed by yet another car full of “Okies” comes by looking for work. I read “Grapes of Wrath” earlier this year so that immediately placed the time setting of the book for me during the Dust Bowl era. The farmer notices a scrawny teenaged girl in the car with grey eyes and against his better judgement,decides to intervene on the girl’s behalf since he recognizes her as having a special magical power that kills most before they reach adulthood. It’s a good thing he decided to take her under his wing. She quickly became my favorite character. Faye Vierra! I adore you!
Next we meet Jake Sullivan, the aforementioned private detective. Pretty much after this the publisher’s summary does the book no justice. It took me a bit to get into it, simply because it was so bizarre I couldn’t yet wrap my head around the things that were happening. I soon realized I had been transported to an alternate history, this one full of all sorts of magical powers and interesting characters mixed with real people from that time. If a name sounded familiar, chances are looking it up would lead me to a Wikipedia page about that person and their life. Examples are John Moses Browning, Jay Edgar Hoover himself and Raymond Chandler, to name just a few.
Faye and Jake meet others like them and what follows is an almost X-Men like gathering of people with special talents coming together to fight evil and protect magical and non-magical folks alike.
Oh and there are airships, did I mention airships? Yeah, remember how I feel about the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld? The Grimnoir Chronicles is the Leviathan series on steroids! By the time the first book was over I was giggling and applauding and I couldn’t wait for the next one.
The narration? Bravo! Bronson Pinchot does so many different voices and accents, from the deep slow voice of Jake to the soft accented voice of Faye to the odd and creepy Pale Horse and on and on, he was brilliant! It wasn’t until I was grabbing links for this post a couple days ago that I read he played Balki on Perfect Strangers! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Luckily he narrates the whole series.
I failed to mention that our heroes are called the Knights of the Grimnoir. They have really awesome rings. I want a Grimnoir ring haha! I am getting obsessed. In “Hard Magic” they are tasked with saving the east coast of America from a peace (death?) ray invented by Nikola Tesla in the hands of The Chairman, a seemingly immortal wizard and ruler of the Imperial Council. Will they succeed?
She scrabbled behind a marble statue of a fat man holding a blimp…
In “Spellbound” we learn of a magical curse that has attached itself to one of the Grimnoir. Soon the Elders of the Grimnoir Society must decide what to do about this spellbound in order to prevent what could possibly happen in the future if this person is allowed to live. But first the Knights have a foe to battle once again in the mysterious Crow and his government agency which is hellbent on controlling those with magic.
Oh there’s also that little issue of a dead man calling Sullivan on a spirit phone in order to warn him of the coming enemy who has hunted the power nonstop. The power will flee to keep from getting caught and it’s up to the Knights to stop the enemy before it can succeed. Can the Grimnoir manage to do their jobs while their hands are tied with politics? Not much different from our heroes today, if you think about it.
There were slight changes to the narration which was quite noticeable listening back-to-back so it was a bit of a bummer getting used to two of the returning characters having different accents but aside from that the narration was just as fabulous as in the first book. This one really ties the first and third books together nicely and is just as action packed. I couldn’t help but think about my dad when we went to see Independence Day all those years ago. He pointed out how frustrating it was that everything they seemed to try failed. Not everything goes perfectly four our heroes in these books either.
I think it might have been this one, or the end of the first one, with a funny Batman reference haha. I just remembered that.
“Warbound” is the conclusion to the series unfortunately. When I finished it the second time I was sad because I knew I was really done with them now. Even though I knew how it ended I kept expecting things to change. In this book, Sullivan has to team up with Toru, a fearsome foe from book two. The relationship between them is incredibly entertaining and Toru has some fabulous dry lines that made me giggle. I love Toru!
Sullivan has to put together a rag tag group of crazy volunteers to try and stop the enemy from destroying everything and finding the power. One of the best characters introduced in “Warbound” is the thirties version of Hannibal Lecter. Creepy! There was what I think of as an X-Files reference with this black oil stuff that made my stomach turn. There was an extremely powerful conversation with a zombie. What didn’t this book have? There were armored suits, fierce battles, even fiercer than the first two books, death and destruction, magic flinging heroes and foes uniting, terrifying creatures with no skin, harrowing escapes and even a budding love story.
Some of these scenes could be straight out of a screen play they are so well written. You can literally see the action happening. One of my favorite mental images was of a fragile origami duck in the palm of an armored suit.
Ah, I’m so sad it’s over. Correia leaves it open for more books in the Grimnoir universe but this particular arc is closed. I think it was all done brilliantly!
When you didn’t know what kind of trouble to expect it was best to bring guns and friends with guns.
Series Rating: Marriage Material