I strongly recommend this book. I really enjoyed the first two in this series, but this one really caught me by surprise. Once I realized where this book was headed, it had two strikes against it. It didn't involve the Monster Hunter International team, and it was a werewolf story. Earl was not one of my favorite characters, and I have no interest in werewolf stories.
But it turned out to be such an great story, expertly told, I couldn't stop listening. I even found myself cheering out loud near the end.
The narrator is a good choice and has done a good job with this series. I don't know if he was intentionally doing a "Christopher Walken" voice for Nikolai, but that voice cracked me up.
I've recently returned from living and working in Alaska. I, my beautiful two dogs, and wonderful three cats travelled together.
The primary protagonist in this narrative is Earl Harbinger, the director –werewolf (with special status from the Monster Control Bureau) of Monster Hunter International. The plot is original; the backstory is fascinating and gives us the genesis of who Earl is and how he came to be. Earl's history is told through entries in a journal that he writes. This is a clear demarcation from the present action in which the narrative lives. It also gives a breadth and depth to Earl’s character that we have not seen previously. When Earl meets Heather, a New, [Werewolf], Turn and also the law enforcement officer of the Michigan town in which Earl finds himself, the seeds of love are sewn. However, this is not to be, at least, not yet, if the government has its say. There’s a shadow agency that is calling the shots with more power than the Monster Control Bureau.
Once again, MHI stands at the crossroads between total annihilation of the world as we know it and the continuance of life as we know it. Ghosts of the KGB and magically enhanced Mega Evil Werewolves, as well as the Monster Control Bureau serve the side of annihilation. Also, as in many of Correia’s books there is a shadow of Lovecraft that permeates the atmosphere of Monster Hunter Alpha.
Monster Hunter Alpha is fast paced, with heart-pounding, hold your breath moments. If you have met Earl previously, then you are ecstatic that Heather has come on the scene. She gives Earl and [we-the reader] hope for more happiness in Earl’s future. Earl is an avatar of strength, practicality, loyalty, and down to earth fairness and he has struggled with the loneliness and hardship of life for too long. In order to prevail, Earl must confront his fears and his own personal demons and the Mega demons that reside in Monster Hunter Alpha.
Monster Hunter Alpha is plotted well and a brilliantly ingenious read.
I just finished Monster Hunter Alpha. Larry Correia Just keeps getting Better. His first Monster Hunter Book was Good but every book he writes seems twice as good as the last. Larry writes Characters you care about Not 2 Dimensional paper cut outs. Not saying he is not Corney or cliche But very entertaining
and fun. I can't wait for the next installment.
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at FanLit.
“Welcome to the exciting world of professional monster hunting. Usually not quite so… messy. Well, it’s always messy, but we’ve reached a whole ‘nother level on this one.
I’ve been heartily enjoying Larry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL series so far. It’s been non-stop freaky monsters, evil villains, rigid government agents, flying fists, biting teeth, scratching claws, falling bodies, fiery explosions, gaping portals to hell, and lots and lots of gun porn. Now we’re back for round three.
The first two books, Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta, focused on Owen Zastava Pitt (Big Z), who was recruited by MHI after killing his boss who had turned into a werewolf. If you haven’t read those books, stop right now and go order them. Don’t read any further because this review will contain some spoilers for the previous books.
This third book, Monster Hunter Alpha, is Earl Harbinger’s story. Earl is the leader of MHI (which you’re supposed to know if you’re still reading this). Readers who’ve read the previous books also know that he’s a 200-year-old werewolf with a memory-eating worm in his brain. He’s writing a journal so he can get his memories on paper before they’re gone. Not long after the events in book 2, Earl gets a visit from an old acquaintance who warns him that there are some strange happenings in Copper Lake, Michigan and it sounds like Earl’s old nemesis, a KGB werewolf named Nikolai (“Stalin’s favorite werewolf”), may be responsible. Since Earl is the most powerful werewolf in the United States (and probably the world), he needs to go take care of it before Nikolai starts an epidemic. But Earl isn’t the only one who wants to take down the Russian werewolf. There’s an unscrupulous start-up freelance monster-killer who wants in on the action so he can collect the bounty, and there’s a corrupt government bureaucrat who’s got his own agenda. They are going to cause a lot of trouble.
Thus, confusion, chaos and carnage descend on Copper Lake. Communication has been cut off so they can’t get help from the outside. Fortunately Copper Lake has a courageous and dutiful (and pretty) police deputy, and the locals, who’ve taken full advantage of their Second Amendment rights, are willing to fight back. (“Wake up your family and get your guns!”) Earl picks up a couple of other unexpected allies, too. When Earl and his partners finally figure out what’s really going on they realize that it’s a lot more sinister than just an alpha werewolf trying to move into Earl’s territory. It’s related to what happened to MHI in the previous novels and what’s going to happen in future novels, and it has far-reaching consequences for the whole world.
Like the previous MONSTER HUNTER books, Monster Hunter Alpha is heart-poundingly scary, but Correia, as usual, provides some comic relief. This installment, like the others, has excellent character development and is beautifully plotted. The Copper Lake story moves the entire series forward while also helping (along with Earl’s journal entries) to fill in the historical and psychological background on Earl and some more history of Monster Hunter International. Very nicely done.
I didn’t like Monster Hunter Alpha as well as I liked the previous books for two reasons. First, WE NEVER SEE BIG Z! That was more than a little disappointing, which makes me suspect that I may have a crush on him…. I’ll think about that later. I also missed Agent Franks. Maybe I have a crush on him, too… The other reason, and this is the main reason, is that Monster Hunter Alpha is disgustingly gruesome. There’s lots of blood and guts and splattering brains. In fact, Monster Hunter Alpha is so grisly that it feels like a hack ‘n’ slash horror movie or a survival horror video game. I had nightmares after I finished it.
Readers who love Earl Harbinger and don’t mind the gore will be very pleased with Monster Hunter Alpha. As for me, I can’t wait to get back to Big Z and Agent Franks in Monster Hunter Legion!
Loved it. Worth the credit. I couldn't stop. There were a few slow points, the story made up for it.
I have a little bit of a crush on Earl Harbinger. The story held me and kept me engaged. This is actually no small thing considering that I don't really enjoy all the blood and guts aspects of this sort of story but so far Correia has paced it enough and made the characters interesting enough that I don't mind the rest.
I wish the ending had been a little different but it made sense, unfortunately.
Have not read the print version. Unknown.
Be aware: If you have listened to the first two books, this does not follow the same vein. The main character is NOT Owen Pitt, as the book explains in the first chapter. The book is great, still has the same pulp fiction, laid back feel that makes for such an easy read, but do not be surprised that this book is about Earl, and jumps between the MHI history and "present day". I loved this book, but thought it was a 3rd in the series...it isn't..quite.
Loved this book even without Owen . characters are great and Earl is a BADASS Oliver Wyman did an awesome job narrating -even though I thought Nicolie sounded alot like a poor christpher Walken imperetion- that just made it better lmao . Cant wait for next book and for Jason and Pit to meet <.< Thank Larry thanks Oliver and most of all thanks too EARL
I am a blind lawyer and aspiring writer, trying to read a little bit of everything but partial to sci-fi and military fiction.
Once someone has delivered a huge setpiece battle that culminates in the vanquishing of an Old One, it seems hardly fair to ask them to just turn it up a notch one more time for the next sequel.
This is why I can understand the different approach to Alpha, as well as the desire to tell Harbinger's origin story with as little intrusion as possible. Unfortunately, the result is somewhat darker than the previous installments, without the ensemble cast of the whole MHI team to lighten the mood. Instead, we have bumbling MCB agents, a crew of hapless psychopaths trying their hand at monster hunting and a newly turned werewolf that can't get over how the change will mean no more need to diet. Tipping the scales the other way, way over the other way, is a far more concentrated story taking place over about a day in an Upper Peninsula town beset by werewolves and some other supernatural baddies. This A plot seems to have far more in common with the series B movie source material than the world-saving heroics of previous outings, including improvisational weaponry that leads to incredible levels of gore.
As one would expect with a book where every chapter is prefaced by a story from Harbinger's past, even the narration seems to be grimmer. With the series venturing into third person narrative, thankfully not the case in Legion, we get to drop in on other people's headss and Wyman does a great job bringing them all to life.
This entry isn't one I'm bound to go back to again and again for entertainment. It is important set up for the big picture events that seem like they'll be steering the plot from here on out though. So if you're invested in the characters, it's a must read.