Spellbound by Larry Correia
Review by Ryan Lawler
The Grimnoir Society’s mission is to protect people with magic, and they’ve done so – successfully and in secret – since the mysterious arrival of the Power in the 1850s. But when a magical assassin makes an attempt on the life of President Franklin Roosevelt, the crime is pinned on the Grimnoir. The knights must become fugitives while they attempt to discover who framed them.
Things go from bad to worse when Jake Sullivan, former P.I. and knight of the Grimnoir, receives a telephone call from a dead man – a man he helped kill. Turns out the Power jumped universes because it was fleeing from a predator that eats magic and leaves destroyed worlds in its wake. That predator has just landed on Earth.
Action. Pure unadulterated action. Excitement. Mind boggling fight sequences. Lots and lots of guns. That is what I expect every time I pick up a Larry Correia book, and with Spellbound, that is exactly what you get. This is a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, and is full of set pieces that leave you gaping in awe. This book is just an absolute blast to read.
When an assassination attempt on the President is pinned on the Grimnoir Society, Jake Sullivan and his cohorts become fugitives, on the run from a government agency who are after more than just imprisoning these freaks. From here we get three very distinct plots that have been cleverly intertwined – the series overarching threat of the all consuming predator being the primary concern for Grimnoir knights, the deep seated distrust and fear of actives by the government, media and general public making life very hard on anyone who exhibits any power, and the coordinated attempt by some well funded and well resourced organisations to capture / kill Sally-Faye Viera because they seem to know / fear exactly what is going on with Faye’s power.
This is a tightly plotted story, one that touches on some big themes like racism, seclusion, and government conspiracy theories, and one that is much more present than in Hard Magic where the plot was a way to get from action sequence A to action sequence B. Correia starts to really explore the consequences of actions in this book, forcing his characters to appreciate these consequences by exposing them to the biggest ones. There is still the sense that the plot is slightly contrived, that a few of the big plot points exist so that the massive fight sequences make sense, but I have very little problem with this because this is a book designed to entertain with good plotting acting as the icing on the cake.
In my review of Hard Magic I said that Correia had put together one of the best casts in recent memory, and Spellbound has only strengthened my feelings on this. Jake and Faye are still far and away the stars of the show, two very likeable characters that you cannot help but admire for their sheer determination and resilience. For the rest of the cast we get a lot more back story, a greater understanding of their motivations, and a sense that these people have grown from being a team to being a family. The newly added heroes add a lot of spice to this family, while the new cast of villains are all appropriately terrifying in their convictions that they are acting for the greater good. The only small problem I had is that there are just too many interesting and exciting characters in this book, who are all doing interesting and exciting things, and it became almost overwhelming trying to keep up with everything that was happening.
The last thing I want to touch on is the action sequences. The sheer magnitude of the tasks facing our heroes is beyond anything I have ever read, and what makes this so good is the way in which our heroes work together to take down impossible beasts. There is so much going on but Correia seamlessly transitions the action shots from hero to hero depending on who is in the most danger. The final fight sequence goes for nearly a quarter of the book, at no stage does it get dull, and the balance of power hangs by thread where it feels like if just one hero loses concentration for the smallest moment, the fight would be over in an instant.
Spellbound is a book of high stakes and high consequence. The entertainment value is second to none, so don’t go into this book expecting a gentle introduction to plot, setting and character. Correia hurls the reader from event to event, rarely allowing you to catch your breath, and somehow manages to do this while progressing a complex plot and building depth into his characters. You should definitely pick up this book, if for no other reason than to read one of the most epic finales I have ever seen in a book.
Chris from UK
Not a review but a bit of information. You can get this book in a variety of e-formats at: http://www.baenebooks.com/p-1479-spellbound-book-ii-of-the-grimnoir-chronicles.aspx Note that the $6 price gives you access to all formats, DRM free. Chris
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