Due to my monstrous work schedule my reading has trickled down to lamentable levels. Honestly I was able to read a lot more between patrols in Afghanistan. Due to limited time and overall fatigue from exhausting work days my reading has been focused on lighter, fun, action fare. Currently I’m on a urban fantasy kick and enjoying the hell out of The Dresden Files. Taking a break from Harry Dresden I decided to finally give Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series a read. I have been a fan of his blog for a few months now and I have always wanted to give his books a read. Safe to say Monster Hunter International did not disappoint and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Monster Hunter International is a delicious cheese burger, fries, and extra large shake kind of book. Pure 80s movie action. Badass dudes(and women) carrying heavy weapons blowing the hell out of all manner of evil blood sucking monstrosities. This isn’t some deep thinking character driven SciFi exploring the human condition or layered Fantasy epic focusing on the socio-political dynasties. What you have here is monsters getting their brains splattered across 1,000 pages of ass kicking action.
Owen Pitt is working as an accountant at some generic miserable firm under the oppressive thumb of his useless fat turd of a boss. One unfortunate night stuck working late at the office, Owen finds out that his boss is not only a complete jerk but a monstrous werewolf serial killer planning to make him his next victim. Violent badassery ensues ending with a dead werewolf being tossed out the office window.
After recovering from the fight with his now deceased boss, Owen is visited by some friendly mercenary types. He comes to find out that monsters are real, vampires, ghouls, zombies, elves, trolls, orcs, and everything in between stalk humanity from the shadows and his new friends are members of a private, paramilitary contracting group called Monster Hunter International. Something like Blackwater but they spend their time hunting down beasties from the Monster Manual. Owen of course joins up, does some training, and proceeds to kill a cornucopia of monsters with his new buddies. Throw in a 500 year old evil conquistador, ancient Cthulhu-ish Old Ones, unspeakably evil ancient artifact, ancient artifact, Nazi Vampires, lots and lots of guns, sexy hunter chick, a HIND and you have one fun action novel.
MHI is a fun read filled with really cool action. The MHI mercenary team is filled with great characters and they go around blowing the shit out of the Monster Manual. Larry Correia is a hardcore roleplaying geek and this novel read like an awesome D20 Modern adventure(anybody besides me like D20 Modern?). Guns blazing, magic flying, supernatural goo exploding everywhere. It also did a great job of capturing the feel of military people, the banter between the characters and a lot of their attitudes really reminded me of the Marines I deployed and trained with.
Some reviews point out that Owen is kind of a Gary Stu wish fulfillment character. I can see that, but in this case I don’t feel like it holds the book down at all. MHI and Owen is written for a target audience that wants to hop into the mind of a wise cracking ugly badass that splatters monster brains for a living. In this regard it succeeds beyond a reasonable doubt because if monsters were real I would be sending my resume to MHI right away, they really need a good Corpsman.
Where the book stumbles a bit is in the main plot. Super evil on top of super ancient evil wants to use a ancient evil artifact to destroy the world by opening a gate to Cthulhu land. Nothing new and exciting especially once you come across some chosen one stuff that really takes away from the fun of the book. The real sweet spot of the novel lies in the Monster Hunter team, the banter, and the exploration of strange hidden places filled with all sorts of evil monsters. Once the plot started focusing on saving the world from ancient evil it started to lose a bit of the fun and magic. I would of preferred the books focus remained on smaller monster outbreaks the big plot got in the way of the good stuff.
Even with a few flaws MHI was an awesome fun read. If you like action, cheesy 80s B movies, and things getting blown up I highly recommend it. I enjoyed this book and once I get through the rest of the books waiting on my kindle shelf I will gladly return to Owen Pitt and MHI.