I am really shocked by all the praise this thing has gotten. Why? It is not special in any way.
The characters are so one dimensional and cliched. The female characters are completely defined, excusively defined, by how attractive they are and if they like guns. The love interest of the main character and his object of affection (truly just an object, not a developed person) is because she is pretty and likes guns. His love rival is the most cliched, arrogant, predictable, easy target anyone could imagine.
The plot progresses as slow as dripping molasses on an very chilly day, with stupid, endless action descriptions. Action and fight scenes are NOT plot progression and can be as boring as watching paint dry sometimes. Listening to 20 - 30 minutes of the logistics of who shot who and where was the monster now and how hard did he hit me, is mind numbing, at that is about half of this book - particularly the opening chapter action scene. Stupid detailed action sequences aren't a subtitute for story, characters and plot... There are SO many dull action scenes. And the stuff in between just seems a formality to get to the next idiot action description. I honestly could not care less about these lame, one dimensional, uncompelling characters at the end.
The characters are as shallow as a kiddy wading pool and as dull as dish water and there is virtually NO plot whatsoever.There is some stupid mission to kill monsters and a bunch of gun nuts sign up and then the endless action sequences, and side stories in investigating it that go no where.
I really am surprised and saddened by all the positive reviews and these reviews swayed me to buy it. I don't get it. It is awful, and dull as can be. I had to force myself to pay attention, it was like hard work to follow this dull story and stupid characters. There is nothing compelling or original or interesting or exciting about it. It was a listening chore and didnt improve.
Audible junkie, history buff, esp. wars through Korea, scifi/fantasy fan, lover of *most* things new & interesting.
To all reviewers who gave 4-5 star ratings, you confirm my contention that the dumbing down of America is a complete success. I'll never trust ratings here again & frankly, you folks scare me more than monsters.
Note regarding Oliver Wyman's narration: In fairness, I can't really give Mr. Wyman's narration much of a review. He has a pleasant voice & did a good job with the material he was given. I look forward to listening to him narrate again.
I was introduced to Larry Correia by reading his Grimnoir Chronicles trilogy. The finely drawn characters, complex plot, multiple storylines & physics as practical magic... I was hooked. I finished the trilogy (40+ hours) in 5 days & went looking for more. There are a couple of 1 hour novellas based on Grimnoir, but I prefer books 15-20 hours, so passed on those.
I found Monster Hunter International (MHI), a self-published book which won praise & launched Correia's writing career. The reviews were good & while fitting the genre's formula, it still promised surprises. The main character in both books are about the same: solo gumshoe, a not too bright, nothing special kind of guy. This is his first line of defense used to separate the foolish from the dangerous. I was pleased to see him throw his boss out a 14th story window in the opening chapter. A bit of clumsy humor, ominous hospital visits from sinister Feds & a snarky representative from a shadow company that wants to recruit Pitt. The writing is not as polished as in The Grimnoir Chronicles, but it was easy to see that this writer was on an upward trajectory. I settled in for another long, satisfying read (um, listen).
That's when I ran into what ultimately caused me to return the book just a half dozen or so chapters in. There were whispers in the Grimnoir books of Mr. Correia's politial views, but they fit the main character's persona & were dropped, almost as quickly as raised, without embellishment. As Mr. Correia states on his website, he is an a convert to a well-known Utah church, a right leaning libertarian, a former accountant & machine gun/arms dealer & instructor. These things give a pretty clear picture of the author's own political beliefs.
Normally, I don't care if the author worships pink unicorns, receives radio signals through his tinfoil hat or is building a death ray in his garage ~ as long as the actual book is politics-free & a great piece of escapist fiction. I'm cool with Correia being a libertarian 2A guy & I know he & other authors have gotten a lot of grief because their books aren't left or right enough. Personally, I object to pressure to self-censor just to gain marketshare. I believe that the very purpose of fantasy/scifi is to make us think of other realities, consider other views & is overall good for the public discourse & evolution.
That is *not* the case here. In MHI, Correia injects his anti-government sentiment into every chapter. As a tool to give anti-establishment cred? Fine. To constantly bash government like any dime a dozen Tea Party RWNJ? Not fine. Same thing with guns. I get that Correia is a Ted Nugent-style gun nut, but the heavy-handed gun enthusiasm here is over the top. Each weapon, lovingly described woodwork, metalwork, bluing, rate of fire, range, ammo, etc., etc., ad nauseam, are excruciatingly detailed each time a weapon enters the story (which is a lot). The weapons are described with carefully crafted passages bordering on the salacious.
In The Grimnoir Chronicles, weapons also play a big part, but again, they were part of the backdrop of the story, not the subject of such intense scrutiny & description. For me, these tedious descriptions of the minutiae of weapons was extraneous & detracted from the pace of the story.
All that said, these books obviously have a wide appeal for individuals with Correia's mindset. I'm not one of them. It's too bad, because I'd come to know & like the characters in The Grimnoir Chronicles & care about what happens to them. I hoped I'd feel the same about Pitt & his eventual band of comrades, but the 2D characters in MHI left little impression in the short time I spent with them. Care about the anti-government sentiments, casual racism & misogyny AND weaponry? Nope.
The author beats you over the head with his politics in this book. It got more tolerable as the book went on, but there was a pretty racist point mid book where he uses a character to explain what in my opinion is covert racism, that really isn't a problem anymore and that politicians who advocates for the poor are racist. So in my mind he's advocating covert racism.
Aside from its politics its an okay smash monsters book. It is a much less well written Dresden Files for gun nerds instead of pop sci-fi / fantasy nerds, and I'm all for having some good bubble gum in my reading diet. If it hadn't been so soapboxy I probably would've enjoyed it.
Also feminists may not like how he relates to women. His attitude toward women seems to be that persistence after being told no is okay with a smidge of butthurtness.
Aside from the politics, the most frustrating part was just how obviously Larry Correia wrote himself into the story. If you take a look at his bio, his character is almost a carbon copy of himself. Maybe he gets better as the books progress (though I don't think I've got the stomach to keep going and find out). He essentially published a dream fulfillment (where he gets to explain to the world just how tough, macho, and right he really is) fan fiction (the quality of the writing) set in a surprisingly rich and inventive setting.
Oliver Wyman was the only thing that made reading this book tolerable. I thought he sounded alot like Ron Swanson reading an audiobook, and it was perfect. I could limp through the storyline and get some enjoyment imagining that the whole thing was a parody.
Given all the good reviews I was disappointed. I wouldn't spend the credit again. The attitudes toward women and hammer to the head politics made me angry. The fact that it has such a large following made me sad.
After some research I found out the author pretty actively promotes his views, villifies people who advocate for progressive issues, and defends people like Vox Day (guy is an overt racist and misogynist) so in the future, whatever likelihood I had for looking past his politics and immaturity is over with. I don't want to give him any money.
Go spend money on Jim Butcher or Brandon Sanderson instead.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
Go into it expecting a good bit of fun and monster-infused violent pulp fiction, and it is possible to really like this book. If you are coming to this from the Grimnoir Chronicles, you may be a little disappointed, but you will recognize the fast pace, shoot-em-up style that works well for Correia. Come looking for literature and you'll probably be traumatized.
Correia serves up action and the supernatural pretty well. If that is why you're reading, you'll be fine. He is great at keeping your interest. It is hard to put down.
It is also hard not to roll your eyes in places. The characters are stock parts bought right off of the shelves. Except the main character who is basically loaded to his eyeballs with every single trait it takes to make a dime novel hero except a soul.
Correia uses the rest of the cast to make the book out to be a manifesto for libertarianism. Every good guy is a government-hating, rugged individualist, gun nut. Every bad guy is a bureaucratic, authoritarian. And there's no depth in the story as to why or a description of personal motivation, the characters are like sandwich boards for "evil bureaucrat" or "gun-toting, freedom-loving hero."
Another thing that some readers may love, and I kind of like to a point (a point, that is, which is exceeded very early), is Correia's in depth - sensual, really - description of gunfights. I feel like it goes way too far and drags on the story, but some readers may love it. Correia's characters do not just draw, aim, and shoot. They will reach for the stained hickory grip of their custom two-tone chrome 1911, pull the well-lubed slide back to chamber a 405 grain .45 caliber bullet, then fall into a standard weaver stance, calm their breathing, focus on the front site post of their, after market, tritium sites, squeeze the trigger to allow the hammer to strike the firing pin which, in turn, strikes the primer at the base of the shell, this primer then ignites the main charge causing the powder to burn and the pressure of that rapid expansion of gasses to propel the led slug down the barrel causing the soft metal of the slug to engage the rifling of the 4" barrel and on, and on, and on. It wouldn't be so bad if it only happened once. Anytime a gun is mentioned it gets the full catalog description. I don't mind guns in real life, and they are certainly appropriate to this story; still, it's like "enough already!" The guns have more personality than the people.
The reader is ok. He seems to be talking through gritted teeth even when not characterizing a voice, but that is not inappropriate as lots of the characters are tough guys. He does some voice characterizations which work well. The overall effort is less than brilliant. A gentleman's 3/5.
Despite my focus on its faults, I like the book. The action is tight and plentiful and I am a sucker for that stuff. Planning on continuing the series.
Yes !, and that's said with some serious intensity in the affirmative.
Absolutely unique, can't even think of anything that comes close to recognition.
If only I had the time to do so.
What a wonderful ride! Can't recommend enough. But it's not for the smaller generation, to be sure.
Unbearable for me. The smug voice of the narrator, the gun orgasma... Feels like an adolescent war game wetdream. The plot gets lost. Unfortunate. Still seeking another Dresden. This is not it.
oh. my. lanta.
the plot has so much potential... but you could play a drinking game with some of the over-used words and repeated terms.
if i don't hear, "torn asunder" for at least 20 years, it will be too soon.
the cycle of dying and coming back to life seems like a cheap way out instead of writing a creative way out of dire situations.
I so want this to be a first draft so I can await the improvements. /le sigh
The story was good, but didn't leave me wanting to get any more in the series. I didn't care for the narrator. His performance was pretty monotonous.
The story is OK. Raise it a star if you like listening to characters opine rapturously about detailed gun and ordinance specifications; Raise it two stars if you are a Southerner, Tea Party adherent, or ex military (particularly the portion of the military that fires guns often (e.g. not the Navy Nuke type I was)). Lower it a star if you are a Northerner or a New Englander; lower it two stars if you are a serious, granola-crunching liberal or, heaven-forbid, French.
I enjoy the Monster hunter books. But be Warned -Apparently The Author is some kind of right wing nut Job. He portrays The Feds(US Government) as Jack Booted Nazi Storm trooper who are Stupid/Corrupt and will do anything up to and including torture of Innocent and the Murder of Innocent people to keep the secret. If this just a minor part of the plot it would be one thing. But it is so prevalent in his writing even as a fictitious/fantasy /paranormal novel it is kind of disturbing.