Jake Sullivan, the protagonist in Hard Magic, by Larry Correia, is a tough man. He also possesses magical abilities. One of the finer qualities of this compelling tome is the fact that the magic we see is not necessarily arcane.
Readers are treated to reasonable and detailed explanations of both the magic Sullivan deploys and the reasons he uses it. In many ways, the unique gifts Sullivan holds form a fundamental role in the story. It was precisely these magical abilities that allowed him to escape a checkered past.
Correia Sets His Novel In The 1930s
Set in the 1930’s. Hard magic is the first in Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles. While navigating the turbid waters of historicity well, Correia also displays his own gifts of magic in this book. Inventive, clever, fun, and exciting, this book takes the reader on a journey. Rife with poignant fight scenes and harrowing action, this novel will punch the reader in the gut.
The characterization in this 432-page novel published by Baen Books is extraordinary. Jake Sullivan is the perfect main character, with his gritty personality and sordid past. Complementing his often harsh and combative nature, however, is a girl named Faye.
There is a moral clarity to the good guys that stands in stark contrast to the clear and present nefarious deeds of the bad guys. Sullivan is someone we find ourselves wanting to root for. Sullivan, in many ways, is each of us. And that, truly, is one of the points of genius Correia deserves credit for.
Complex Characters Don’t Detract From The Plot
The complexity and richness of the characters, however, did not detract from the plot. This is not an either/or novel, like so many populating shelves and consuming precious server space in the digital realms. With Hard Magic, great characters are not created at the expense of the broader story.
It is incredibly difficult to integrate just one supernatural element into a novel, because readers need to be able to relate to and at some level experience this magic within the context of the novel.
They need to be able to envision it. Describing something that doesn’t exist and making people believe firmly in it requires a superior level of craft. Many writers lack that skill. Correia employs not just one, but numerous, supernatural or unusual elements into this book. And he does it so masterfully, the reader can feel immersed in the story.
If you have ever harbored a desire to peruse a book featuring teleporting ninjas, zeppelins, pirate attacks, samurai, and zombies, then this is the book for you.