Norfolk, VA, United States | Member Since 2010
Dark. Surprising. Bittersweet.
I like how it challenged my concept of who I thought the main protagonist was to be.
Husky. Inconsistent. Monotonous.
I really began to dislike Dr. Ephram Goodweather. I felt like his understanding of his own changes came too little, too late.
This will make an excellent mini-series, but I doubt it will ever be made into a feature length film, due to the extreme gore, but one can always hope.
As a fan of urban fantasy, I was initially tempted by this book. I had read that Mr. Correia had self published the first release of this book, so I didn't have really high expectations. I have purchased self-published books at fandom conventions, and found them wanting. Despite this, I came into Monster Hunter International with an open mind.
Our protagonist, Owen Z. Pitt, is a huge muscle-bound, former bouncer and illegal octagon fighter, and award winning marksman, who speaks five languages. All of this, having no military background, other than that of his father’s rigid upbringing. I find it less of a stretch to suspend my disbelief with other works of more fantastical urban fantasy, but hey, this is fantasy, so anything is possible, right?
Mr. Correia’s dialogue is a bit stiff, I’d go as far as to say wooden. However, the detail he puts into the descriptions of the firearms, and equipment shows a competence, and dedication to research for the technical aspects of this book.
When I read a book, or listen to it in this case, I am always aware of the context in which a given character will use his or her own personal vocabulary. The use of certain phrases, when read from the perspective of certain characters, has great impact upon the suspension of disbelief of this reader.
Specifically, I am referring to the word: Asunder. (drink!) Many things in this book were torn asunder (drink!). I haven’t made a count, but in my not so humble opinion it was used with greater frequency than was necessary, and taken from the protagonists point of view, it seemed a bit silly. I’d expect a brute like Owen to have less of a formal terminology when he is blowing things to splinters. (drink!)
The other characters are archetypical representations, and each larger than life in their own way. This makes it easy to like the likeable ones, and dislike the others.
In the world of MHI, Monsters are everywhere, but because of Government Regulations, no one talks about them. People who survive monster attacks are generally lumped into two categories, those that go to mental institutions, and those that become Monster Hunters. From an ecological standpoint, this is imbalanced.
It is mentioned may times in the book that monster attacks are on the rise, and several world governments have agencies devoted to their control and elimination, as well as a multitude of private organizations who earn their living by carrying massive arsenals of illegal firearms, and staging small scale warfare in residential areas.
I had an authentic “laugh out loud” moment at Mr. Correia’s depiction of The Enchanted Forest and the Elves that live there. Truly original and very funny!
The government agency placed in charge of dealing with monsters, the Monster Control Bureau, is staffed with heavy-handed, jack-booted thugs, led by a tweed jacketed bureaucrat, Agent Myers and his partner, the cold and deadly Agent Franks.
Myers is representative of the paper-shuffling evil that bogs down all progress in the face of looming world-ending destruction. Franks is set up as a foil for Owen, and aptly demonstrates this ability by beating him down in short order and acting as a sort of a two-fisted Jiminy Cricket for Owen’s humility. I can see Owen and Franks being at each other’s throats while still bearing a grudging respect for each other’s abilities many books down the line.
The good guys are good, and they have a mission. The supporting characters sometimes feel like brief sketches, though. The bad guys are bad, and they are as archetypal as the protagonists. Their motivations are unclear for much of the book. This is part of the big reveal, which is not rocket science for a reader who pays attention to plot details.
Oliver Wyman’s narration was very credible, and his voice is very familiar, yet this is the first book I have heard him perform. His female characters are a bit strained, but his grasp of accents and regional dialects are excellent.
Now, all of my apparent overly-critical rhetoric aside, I have to say I really enjoyed this book. I found myself wanting to see it onscreen, and even had ideas for a setting for a Dungeon’s and Dragon’s style role playing game, which I understand is already in the works.
The book is an easy listen overall, and good shoot ‘em up, monster-killing fun. I am already listening to the second book in the series, Monster Hunter: Vendetta, and thus far it is even better than the first.
I have been a fan of Mr. Moore's writing for several years, and this book does not change that... However, this book does cause me to view the author in a different light. This book is grimly entertaining. The author's sense of humor is tempered here by some kind of darkness, that while present in some of his other books, seems colder here.
I kept thinking about Hunter S. Thompson, and how his gonzo journalistic style opened my eyes as a reader. This book reminded me of that writing. Mr. Moore's characters, no matter if they are a central figure in the story, or merely a side note, are described in such a way as to become archetypes.
Not one character in the book is particularly likable, yet, they are each very unique in that. I disliked them each for their own particular flaws. It was like working with someone that you tolerate, and small talk with, but you'd never hang out with during your off time. So real that they are surreal.
This does not make the book any less enjoyable. The pacing is quick, but flows well enough, and the narration is crisp. I do feel that Oliver Wyman's female voices are kind of a stretch for him, but overall he was a pleasure to listen to. Catch was a surprise.
If you are a fan of Christopher Moore, you will enjoy this book, but I wouldn't recommend it as a new reader.
I've been a fan of Mr. Moore's writing for a few years now, and I had read the first book in this series (Bloodsucking Fiends) in paperback. This second installment is pure genius. One wouldn't normally think that the challenges of being a young vampire in modern day America could be so challenging, and funny.
Susan Bennett has a marvelous talent for voices and accents, and perfect comedic timing. I found myself listening with rapt attention to the "Chronicles of Abby Normal", and giggling at her narrative parts.
I cannot wait for the next book (already downloaded), and hope that they make this series into a film version!
The world of Justin Cronin's The Passage, possesses a palpable darkness that one can feel as they turn the pages. It is a story that, from it's simple beginning, twists and turns and hauls the reader along the broken, crumbled asphalt of an even darker future.
I've read other reviews that compare The Passage to Stephen King's The Stand, and Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song. I cannot disagree. The Passage is epic in it's scale, and the characters within are both heartfelt and tragic. However, Mr. Cronin instills such life in his characters that makes you love the characters, or hate them, yet mourn the loss of either.
Mr. Cronin creates a world where the vampire is truly a plague. Even literally so. The human races ekes out a sparse existence among the ruins of the past, training it's dwindling population to fight and survive in the bleak and ruinous world that remains.
Mr. Cronin has a way of building up one's expectations and hopes for his characters with deft strokes. It slipped by me the first time or two, but once I gained understanding of the point of view from which much of this story was told... I found myself nearly pulling over to the side of the road as I listened to the end of The Passage.
In this third installment, I found a much darker theme, and a greater sense of loss for our hero, the snarky two millennia old druid. Teaming up with his friends a werewolf and a vampire, as well as a trio of godlike heroes, in order to take out the Norse God of Thunder, Thor.
Mr. Hearne seems to be getting better at presenting magic, in my opinion. There were fewer instances of Atticus pulling a magical 'fast one' in front of police officers, which got a little old in the first book.
I found myself liking this book a lot more than the first two, though. Perhaps it was the fact that a majority of the book takes place in Asgard other than Tempe, Arizona.
I have always preferred the tragic hero, and in this book, I get a little more of what I hoped for, although I still want to see how our hero is going to respond to the great cost of his assistance in this escapade.
I still think Mr. Hearne's pacing needs improvement, but overall, this has been a much more satisfying offering.
In this second book in the Iron Druid Chronicles, I found more of the same convenient presentation of magic that happened in the first book. These books could be a great deal more enjoyable if Mr. Hearne would just take his time and slow down a little.
It seems like he is trying to cram everything into the beginning of the series, yet he has everything happening in a rapid-fire succession, it is a wonder that Atticus O'Sullivan has survived twenty-one centuries, and this series so far only represents a few months time.
I have to say that I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters a great deal more than the first book. There was a good deal more angst between Atticus and the Tempe pack, as is to be expected, but I found Mr. Hearne's presentation of magic to be all too convenient and less-than-magical.
I am more interested in the witches, than I am in the main character. At least they seem to have something to lose. Nothing seems to affect the unflappable Atticus O' Sullivan. Even the death of an employee seems to only give him enough emotion to quote a line or two from Shakespeare.
Even combat against clearly superior forces results in nothing more than an easily repaired wound for Atticus, but death claims more people around him, even if it was a minor character with a name I couldn't remember.
I found myself getting lost trying to keep all of the different plot threads straightened out. Atticus spends a lot of time doing favors for one or more characters in exchange for one thing or another, and yet still has time to sit on the porch and drink whiskey with the old widow McDonough, after mowing her lawn.
I find myself enjoying the books, but wanting a little more well thought out pacing. And, I want someone to seriously kick Atticus in the ass, and give him something to think about... its like nothing can touch this guy, and that seems like a bunch of fan boy fiction where the main character always wins.
It's a bit distracting... I hope the series continues to improve though. A fun read, but leaves me wanting.
I have to admit that I was initially very interested in the concept of the series, being a fan of the Harry Dresden books, by Jim Butcher. However, shortly into the first book, I found myself getting a bit annoyed, and by the end of the third book, I felt like kind of cheated.
There are a great many things that I want to address here, but I will keep this short and bitter-sweet. I feel like the first book in the series sets things up pretty well, but I feel like everything was far too easy.
Atticus O'Sullivan, a twenty-one-hundred years young druid, seems to have a very easy manner with the modern world, while his lawyer, a vampire half his age, struggles with the simplest of colloquialisms. I didn't get a sense that anything was hard won for our protagonist.
Many of the characters, while interesting, bounce in and out of scenes so quickly, that they tend to feel superficial. I felt that I was given too little time to get to know them, and I was not able to really develop much of a connection to them.
Thanks to the voice talents of Luke Daniels, Atticus' faithful hound Oberon is one exception to this, but I am still trying to justify Oberon's grasp of the english language.
With such a rich history of Celtic mythology to play with, I expected there would be a little more mystery to the magic. It seemed that power and longevity were too easily obtained, and thus seemed trivial. And, magic was used far too readily in front of mortals, like the police, and just as conveniently dismissed.
It seemed that no matter how grievous the battle, that Atticus never seemed to be in fear for his life, or the lives of his mortal friends. Although, it is a simple thing to give him very few mortal friends to deal with, and give them something to do, so they will be out of town during times of trouble.
Atticus seemed to be far too cavalier with his mortality, even though he was able to set up a deal with the Morrigan, that is frankly, far too easily given, and too good to be true.
I will say that although the book is enjoyable, it is kind of hard to figure out who the target audience is. Sex, is presented in a moderated fashion, but violence is graphically described.
I find myself wanting the author to step back and take a look at how he is presenting magic and mythology, and how he represents the passage of time between books. There is a more happening in the first three books, representing just a few months time, and it just feels poorly paced.
There are a few good chuckles and bad puns, and a couple of touching parts, but I found the issues I had with the story, tended to pull me out of it and distracted me from enjoying it more.
The characterizations read by so many known and unknown personalities, as well as the short chapters which allowed for good stopping points when I couldn't listen.
I really felt like I was listening to actual accounts of a world changing event, despite the fictional nature of the story.
The recounting of the Battle at Yonkers was incredible!
The War To End All Wars.
Yes, depending on the subject matter.
I felt like it was a bit anti-climactic. The ending felt a bit hollow, like eating a meal that tasted good, but did not nourish, or fill the stomach.
I would have him improve on his accents and character voices. They were somewhat muddy, and the characters were a bit bland.
This book would be impossible to make as a movie, without losing too much. They couldn't dumb it down enough for the casual movie-goer. If they did, however, I would at least red box it, and watch it at home.
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