Jake Sullivan fought as a Heavy— a Gravity Spiker— on the front-lines of the most brutal battle of the Great War, but in Hard Magic he trades in hard time for being Herbert Hoover’s pawn on the FBIs front-line battle against Magicals.

He kept the gun on the driver, but kept one eye glued to the blonde. In this crew, he wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d started tossing undead flaming grizzly bears at him or something.

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Jake Sullivan is using his Power, the ability to change the laws of gravity, for the FBI when he uncovers a rabbit hole conspiracy and a secret society, the Grimnoir. Jake and a number of other magicals take on governments and rogue agents in battle after brutal battle fought with words, fists, swords, guns, and magic.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

The third book in this series, Warbound, is nominated for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Per our review policy, we’re going to review the first in the series as well.

The conclusion one might draw from the jacket, and indeed what drew me in, was a private detective, sort of a film-noir style story, but with magic. While this is partly true, it’s also a great disservice to the story.

Rating (4 stars)

This is more than a story about a private-eye detective with some magic. Correia has crafted a facinating alternate timeline that unfolds over the course of the story both setting the stage, and driving the plot forward. Of course magic is the reason this is an alternate history.

Magic— specifically Power (notably a proper noun)— provides the super-human abilities of our protagonist and the people he fights with and against.

Hard Magic is way more than a private-eye detective mystery pulp. It’s a gruesome and hardened story of good and evil, secret societies and shadow wars, conspiracy, treason, espionage, fratricide, zombies, and lots of really neat guns.