Edit: Welcome, Monster Hunter Nation! I invite you to check out samples of my novels, the scifi thriller Dead Man’s Fugue and the new fantasy novel Destiny’s Heir. Just maybe you’ll wind up as an Angry Villager, though I’m not sure I want a fan base as well-armed as MHN!
First off, I’ll start with an apology – after a mere two chapters of Six-Guns & Sorcery, I dropped the ball. I’m working on getting back on track this week with both regular updates for SG&S, and getting some serious writing done on Contract Hunt.
Writers aren’t just writers. Every writer I’ve ever talked to is also a reader, and a voracious one at that. I came to the conclusion in January that one of the reasons I’ve been struggling to put pen to paper much lately is because I haven’t been reading nearly enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I read every single day – but I haven’t been reading the right sort of stuff. (I almost put a pun in there about the “write sort”, but it seemed a bit obvious.) So, to help get my mind changed off of focusing solely on the new baby and back into writing, I’ve been going through my bookshelves and rereading my favorites, as well as tackling the new books I got for Christmas.
One of those new books has been on my reading list for quite a while based on a dozen recommendations. I regret it took me so long to get to it, and I wound up reading more than half of it on Friday night when I stayed up until 2 AM with my Peanut who wasn’t real interested in sleep.
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia gets the gold star from me!
MHI is Correia’s debut novel, and he’s since put out quite a few more. I haven’t read anything else of his (aside from his blog, Monster Hunter Nation), so I really wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy the story. There are a number of authors who I follow regularly on their websites and get a lot from their nonfiction, but their actual paid work leaves me dissatisfied.
Important things to know about MHI:
1.) Be prepared for monsters galore.
2.) Be prepared for guns. Lots and lots of guns.
I very much enjoyed the book, which forced me to reflect a bit. I mean, I didn’t find the prose amazing by any means – it’s solid writing, with a sentence here or there that made me stop and scratch my head because of a clunk, but never so badly that it was more than a moment’s distraction. I figured out the twist at the end when I was halfway through the novel, so it wasn’t surprising. The romance angle felt as awkward as the romances in my own novels (which are admittedly less-than-stellar – my wife jokes that I “have the awkward guy down pat”).
I finally concluded that I enjoyed because it made no apologies for what it is. Correia’s biography indicates he is “hopelessly addicted to two things, guns and B-horror movies.” And it shines through unashamedly, and he makes it work.
I’m a fan of the TV series Supernatural, which is often on in the background while I’m writing (although that may be changing now that I have the Peanut underfoot; the kid doesn’t need to be exposed to that yet), but in the end, I actually found I enjoyed the MHI world more, which really surprised me. Dean and Sam Winchester’s arsenal in the trunk of the Impala is a pale shadow of the kit Owen Z Pitt totes around during MHI, and frankly, Pitt uses it a hell of a lot better.
Perhaps an extra bit of my appreciation comes from Correia refusing to handwave away issues in the same vein as other urban fantasy. My biggest pet peeve is how so many monsters in fiction are immune to anything but the special sword of slaying, and without the magic weapon there’s no way to win. Even some of the best urban fantasy I’ve read succumbs to the “my monsters are immune to gunfire” trope (I’m looking at you, Jim Butcher).
I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve seen a werewolf killed by pushing it out a high-rise window, and then dropping a desk on it. No silver involved!
At any rate, in spite of its flaws (which I really can’t throw stones at – Dead Man’s Fugue and Destiny’s Heir have plenty to go around), Monster Hunter International gets the gold star. If you’re looking for something entertaining to read, don’t hesitate to pick it up, and at 700 pages (which is what my Baen paperback ran) you’ll have a nice long read in front of you.
Believe me, it didn’t feel that long.
And I guess I’m going to have to throw in a copy of Monster Hunter Vendetta with my next Amazon order…