Being up front here: Urban fantasy wherein weapons, explosions and the gruesome deaths of creatures both eldrich and fell are described in loving detail are not my cup of tea. Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International is the first such book I’ve ever read, as far as I can remember. So, I’m not really the right guy to review this book. That said – it was a load of fun! You can get it for your Kindle free right now, which is how I came to have it.
Short & sweet – if you need an action-packed, often hilarious diversion for that trip to the beach, this is your book. More fun than a barrel of red neck elves! A week later, and I’m still giggling at some of the scenes and dialogue. The books aims to be fun, awesome, and entertaining, and hits that description out of the park.
The flavor of the book is captured in the opening lines:
On an otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American Dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth-story window.
Then there’s the gun love:
“You know that ‘no weapons at work’ policy?” I asked the twitching and growing hairy monstrosity standing less than ten feet from me. His yellow eyes bored into me with raw animal hatred. There was nothing recognizably human in that look.
“I never did like that rule,” I said as I bent down and drew my gun from my ankle holster, put the front sight on the target and rapidly fired all five shots from my stub-nosed .357 Smith & Wesson into Mr. Huffman’s body. God bless Texas.
And so on. Like almost all good stories, it’s a love story, a finding your true self story, and an adventure story – just built around way cool weapons and vampires, werewolves, wights, and deathless horrors from beyond time and space.
Quick spoiler-free recap: Owen Zastava Pitt is a newly-hired accountant who discovers one evening that his “incompetent jackass of a boss” happens to be a werewolf. Instead of getting eaten, however, Owen manages through sheer cussedness and small arms fire to shove him out a window to his death. He is seriously mauled in the process.
This is unusual, to say the least. Owen wakes up in a hospital bed with tubes and wires and bandages all over his body – and two government agents, one of whom holds a gun on him. From there, Owen is swept up into a secret organization called Monster Hunters International, which, in less than friendly competition with a similar government branch, seeks to kill and collect bounties on all sorts of evil creatures infesting the world.
He falls in love with the daughter of the head of MHI, is visited in his dreams by a WWII-era Jewish monster hunter from Nazi Germany, and goes on adventures and adds to MHI massive body count of zombies, wights, and other evil things.
But this time, it’s not just the usual motley crew of monsters – there’s something big going on. Of course, only Owen can stop it.
There are plenty of laughs, and plenty of moments of righteous get-even-itude. We got heavy-metal loving orcs, trailer trash elves, a wacky cast of monster hunters, who don’t need no stinkin’ badges.
So, it’s not like your mind will be raised to dazzling heights of truth and beauty by this book – but you won’t be bored, and will probably laugh out loud. Yard Sale of the Mind says: check it out. It’s even free right now, what do you want?
Update: After reviewing a couple John C. Wright collections I’ve read in the cracks, will be shifting gear away from mostly speculative fiction back to history, philosophy & education. For a while, at least, while my stamina holds up. On the list:
The American Republic by Orestes Brownson – this will require multiple essays. Brownson is fascinating, not only as a public intellectual from back when such people were not ignored in favor of reality TV (a step rightly taken, these days), but as the typical American autodidact and as a Catholic convert from the Burned Over district and the Second Great Awakening. He wrote this at the conclusion of the Civil War with great optimism that America would finally grow up. He only lived another 10 years, so he just missed all the mishegas around Rutherford B. Hayes – which would have killed him anyway, most likely.
Will pick one of my growing collection of biographies of the early American educators, and use it to proof-text my crazy educational ideas. Ooops! I mean plumb its black depths for more dirt on our better’s endless and brutal efforts to keep us little people in line. Or something like that.
Hey. I read these books so you don’t have to.