Load up your silver bullets and strap on your wooden stakes, everybody. We gonna hunt us some monsters!
As promised, here’s the first in what will hopefully be many reviews to come. And boy is this an interesting one.
I’ll try to give as few spoilers as I can during these reviews, but if you want me to talk about spoilers for certain books, just let me know and I’ll make another post for that. Now, enough stalling, let’s review.
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia follows the life of Owen Zastava Pitt as he goes from being a not-so-mild-mannered accountant to a hardcore monster hunter working for the titular, Alabama based Monster Hunter International. However, dark forces are at work and soon Owen finds himself racing to save the world.
This story takes place in our world, but with monsters. They never clearly state if magic exists, but some monster’s clearly use a force like magic for some of their abilities. Heck, even a few of the monster hunters use something like magic at a few points. There are also parallel universes that some people tap into, like a hellish universe full of giant bugs with orange blood and essentially a hive mind. Also there are ghosts, kind of.
It’s a creative spin to our world, but rather disjointed feeling at times due to how certain elements of it are introduced.
This book has a tone very similar to an action-packed blockbuster and that is probably the best way to come at it.
Now, you might be thinking that this book would contain a lot of set-up, since it is the first book in the series. However, if not for the epilogue at the end of the book, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was a completely standalone novel. The reason for this is because the story is entirely self-contained and ties up almost every loose end by the last chapter.
While most people might consider this a good thing, I actually feel that this book should have been stretched into at least two. In it’s current form, many things feel rushed and escalate far too quickly.
For example, the first monster of the book is a young werewolf. Good introduction, nice set-up for main character’s abilities, but a believable victory due to the monster’s age and inexperience. The next encounter? An entire swarm of high level monsters. True it was an ambush, but the curve of escalation just went from a steady slope to near vertical. I legitimately have no clue how this author could possibly set the stakes any higher for the next book or make the threat any more intimidating.
Also, I found the variety of monsters surprisingly lacking. You hear about all these interesting creatures and glimpse these mysterious forces, but most of the actual things they fight are just more powerful versions of stuff they fought before.
The plot is a good one, with many nice twists to it. Like I said before, it’s best approached like an action-movie, blockbuster. However, I feel that it should have been stretched to accommodate proper escalation of threat, greater variety of monsters, and more time for individual character sub-plots to develop.
Speaking of which.
Our main character, Owen, is a likable guy with realistic flaws and some very unique traits. He isn’t the super-handsome hero many similar stories might have and is in fact mocked at several points throughout the book as “ugly” or looking “brutish.” He’s a master of useless trivia and very kind to his friends, but can be a little dense when it comes to women and has a temper that usually lands him in a lot of trouble. Not your average hero, but a good one.
Our main villain, whose name I can’t reveal here, is also well fleshed-out. Relatable, realistic, but absolutely despicable. He offers a fantastic counter to our hero in almost every way, showing how two people who sound like they should be nearly identical can be vastly different.
Beyond those two come the side characters. They are yet another reason I feel this book should have been lengthened to at least two. There is so much hidden depth to these guys and it is all rushed through without the needed rest space to fully absorb or discuss everything. By the end I was wondering yet again what the author could do with the rest of the series to expand upon them.
And we can’t talk about the characters and rushed development without discussing the romance.
I will say this right now so there is no confusion. I love romance. I love cheesy, sappy couples that work as a team to face the world. But it needs to be done well.
At first I thought this book would handle it well. Yes we get attraction at first sight, but not love. Unfortunately, we get a rushed love triangle with an anti-climactic resolution and while its not love at first sight its still far too fast. Yet again something that could have been fixed with a longer book or multiple books for this one story.
Here is where the book shines brightest. The use of language in this book is superb and captures the action movie tone of the book perfectly. The monsters are terrifyingly strong, the action is fast, and the humor is wonderfully self aware. Since this is aimed at an adult audience, everyone is allowed to curse as much as you would expect someone facing unholy abominations would. Yet thankfully it never goes overboard like some crime novels I’ve read. If you’re okay with PG-13 action movies, you’ll be fine with the blood and cursing in this book.
The descriptions of the weaponry they use to fight monsters was surprisingly clear. It’s hard to properly describe how certain rifles or shotguns look different from each other, but this book did it quite well.
As I’ve said throughout this whole review, this book needed to be at least two books long. There are some fantastic ideas and moments in here that just weren’t given the proper build up or time to shine as they could have. I might check out the next book just to see how the author could possibly continue this story, but I don’t feel an intense desire to read on.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia a 6.5.
Check it out if you’ve got nothing to read and want some relatively mindless fun.
Next time we look at one of my favorite book series that just reached its conclusion. Warm up your Mechanic devices and prepare your Mage spells as we venture to the steampunk world of Dematr. It’s time to look at all six books of The Pillars of Reality series by Jack Campbell.