Review: Monster Hunter International
MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL, on the surface, seems to fit the need that most of us have for mindless, gunfire-laden fiction. We all need it at times. Larry Correia, the author, gives us all the ingredients that a book of this style might typically have, yet somehow makes them more than the sum of their parts. In all honesty, we were surprised by how much we enjoyed this novel, and how much we are now looking forward to the sequel.
It all starts with an accountant, Owen Pitt. Being that Steve is an accountant, he immediately connected with the main PoV (that’s about as far as the similarity between them went though…). The connection was further established by the First Person Narrative. As readers, we were immediately pulled into Owen’s story, and loved his obsession with guns. It was a nice quirk that essentially told us to expect loads of gunplay throughout the novel. This was within a few paragraphs of a 736 page novel. Yeah, not exactly a tiny novel. For an Urban Fantasy, just the size of the novel made us happy.
Anyways. Owen Pitt. The accountant. His idiotic boss is bitten and turned into a werewolf (Yeah we know, Urban Fantasy clichés, here we come. Really, it isn’t so bad though), and then tries to kill Owen. Owen throws his boss out of a window after a fun introductory action scene. Owen is injured, but is then offered a job at Monster Hunter International (MHI) as a monster hunter.
No, hunting monsters isn’t the most original concept. Yes, the book is full of clichéd monsters that saturate Urban Fantasy. And yet (surprisingly?)…it all works. It helps that the folks over at MHI get paid like bounty hunters (and paid well)–added a slight change to the formula. It also helps that the monsters are all, well, monsters. The danger represented by each of the different monsters is handled well.
Really, the story follows Owen Pitt and his journey after being recruited to MHI. He is joined with a small squad of other newbies who were each recruited after surviving a monster attack of some sort. We see their training, and then right into the guns-a-blazing action. And there is a lot of it. And it is good.
But really the character interactions are what sold us on the novel. They were believable. As we learned about their back-stories, we immediately became attached to them. Correia does a fantastic job here. It’s hard to say a lot without giving it away. Remember, no spoilers.
Now, the book isn’t perfect. At times the clichés get a little too dense. The way some characters act, and the way the plot progresses…well, let’s just say it shouldn’t be surprising. Owen, of course, does some dream-walking type stuff. At times the dreams, and Owen’s reaction to them, are obviously used to move the plot along, and to make it so our PoV has maximum impact in every situation he is involved with in the waking world. And really, the ending twist shouldn’t be all that surprising. The dreams foreshadow it in a heavy-handed fashion at times.
Really, the main problem we had (and we have to word things carefully here), is a single event about ¾ through the novel. Things go WAY bad for the characters. WAY bad. It is full of awesome in a bad way for the characters (but great for the readers). The mechanism for getting out of it bothered us quite a bit–read it and you will know exactly what we mean. Correia manages to handle the aftermath of it in a GREAT way (hopefully we will see more of these consequences in book 2), but still…it bugged us quite a lot.
So what does all this vague gibberish mean? Is the book worth reading? Buying? Well, for $8 you can grab a copy, and it is easily worth the read. The pacing lags in a few spots, but really, this is a great first novel. There are great elements of humor, seriousness, danger, faith (this was actually really neat), and romance. Larry Correia has set himself up to have a fantastic sequel, but we think he needs to get a little less cliché in the follow-up. Give us some really non-traditional monsters (think of the monsters in F. Paul Wilson’s THE TOMB, and book 2 could be amazing). Also, we think he needs to subject his characters to more emotional trauma (kind of like the mental state of the characters in PATIENT ZERO), and hurt them even more than the horror inflicted on them in MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL.
Buy it, read it, and decide for yourself. We thought it was a great read that was deceptively intelligent. If you like monster movies, Urban Fantasy, or action-oriented Horror novels, you’ll get enjoyment out of this read.
Recommended Age: 15 and up.
Language: Yep. But he scales it with the situations nicely. It doesn’t feel over-done of shock-value. Correia also proves at times that he doesn’t need it to have certain characters express themselves. Still, what language there is may offend the tender-hearted.
Violence: Heavens yes. It was awesome.
Sex: Some innuendo, but any actual acts take place off screen. It was handled exceptionally well.
Larry’s blog – http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/
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