Some books are written to educate, inform and enlighten. They
can be dry, slow reads. Others are written to make you laugh, to
horrify, or simply to let you lose yourself in another world/life
for a while. And even those are not on level playing fields. You
can always find an argument about what book is more an example of
what "literature" is and what deserves to fall into a lower class
Larry Correia's debut, MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL, makes no
bones about what it is, which is a no-holds-barred all-out page
turner that is part science fiction, part horror, and an absolute
blast to read. It's filled with action, horror and humor that,
occasionally, makes you laugh out loud.
Things in MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL begin immediately. Our
hero, Owen Zastava Pitt, is your typical boring accountant in
Texas. Boring until the night his boss --- who is, in fact, a
werewolf --- tries to devour him in the office. Owen gets mangled
pretty good but manages to shove the guy out a window. Waking up
from his ordeal, Owen is in a hospital being watched over by FBI
agents. Should he begin to show signs of changing into a werewolf,
they were there to kill him. He also gets a visit from Earl
Harbinger, a man who will come to change Owen's life.
Earl, along with Julie Shackleford, introduces Owen to Monster
Hunter International, a specially trained, government-approved
covert military group established to rid the world of the menace of
the undead and creepy monsters in general. They recruit him, train
him, and soon he and his companions are blasting their way through
every creature in sight.
Correia is an accomplished gun man, and his knowledge of
firearms is apparent right from the get-go. That knowledge serves
MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL well, and he does a splendid job of
explaining weaponry without getting bogged down in technical jargon
that could confuse a reader. There's lots of flash and bang and
boom in the book, but it is all in its place and does not
overshadow the story or the characters.
And that is one of the gifts Correia brings. His characters are
wholly believable in this world he has created. Nothing truly seems
so over the top as to lurch you from this very solid story. It may
get a tad long in spots, but he never wavers and stays the course
well, and it brings back nostalgic memories of late night
Elvira-hosted movie events, where B-movie monsters rule the day.
They may be a little laughable in our day and age, but they touch
the more adventurous and fun-loving sides of those who watch.
MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL certainly will not be nominated for
any awards with regard to its presentation as classic literature.
It's far from it, but that does not speak ill of the book or its
quality. Instead, it should be embraced in the very spirit it was
intended to inspire: fun.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on January 7, 2011