Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Spellbound: Book II of the Grimnoir Chronicles: Review

Author - Larry Correia
Genre - Urban fantasy Noir Alternate History
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Baen

If you missed it, please go and see what I thought about Book I: Hard Magic here

Correia began this series last year with Hard Magic, and this second book continues the tradition of X-men style powers in the 1930s alternate history United States, where a lot of things are the same, but plenty has changed because of the different magical powers running around.

This book also stars Jake Sullivan and Faye Viera, the same two main characters from the first book. It's always difficult to review a sequel without either giving too much away from the previous book or just saying that it's more of the same, but I'll do my best to make this an actual review and not just a quick recap of the first book and "it's basically the same." Here goes.

After the events of the first book, our heroes find themselves wrapped up in a plot to make all the Actives (the people with magical abilities) into little more than slaves. This starts with an attack on the President Elect, with the Grimnoir Society being setup to take the fall, and being written off as little more than terrorists, bent on ruling the world because of their belief in the supremacy of people with magical abilities over those without them. This isn't true, of course, but the with some big political figures moving to make all Actives have a lot of restrictions on them (think WWII Germany, and replace the Jews with Actives) things aren't looking good for the Grimnoir at all. There's a lot more to the plot than that, but anything else would really give away too much from the first book, which is a great read all on its own.

Spellbound is an improvement in almost every way over Hard Magic, which was already an excellent book. The characters are deeper, the story more complex, and in this installment we finally get to see inside the head of some of the Japanese characters, which is very interesting and fun.

If you loved the first book, then you're going to love this one as well. The feel of this book doesn't change much from the first book which is good since its author has been busy writing in a few different genres and could have easily have made this book feel more like his thriller Dead Six or some other story he's been working on. Instead, the characters are sharp, the world feels very accurate to the time, and Faye, as always, is really fun to read.

This book did end on a bit of a low note, but that's to be expected in this series. People get hurt, people die, and that's just how life is.

What I loved

  • Correia just keeps getting better and better, and so does this series.
  • The characters are developing. I love that about second books. Getting to see the characters progress and grow a little wiser and a little more understanding of the big picture is great.
  • The Imperium. In the first book they were the quiet, menacing evil, and in this book we get to really see what they're about through the Chairman and Toru.
What I hated

  • Honestly, there's not much to put here. I'm a big fan of this series, and it improved in every way. If I wanted to gripe about something, I could say that the Advanced copy had a couple of grammar errors, but that would be just ridiculous nit-picking on my part.
  • There should have been at at least three battles with giant demons....oh wait, there were.