Originally posted at FanLit.
In Courageous, the third book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series, the Alliance fleet is still wandering from star system to star system, trying to get back home by some path the Syndics won’t predict. It seems like a hopeless situation, but the legendary Black Jack Geary, who’s been revived out of cold sleep after his suicidal mission 100 years ago, is just the hero they need. He’s proved himself so capable so far that some of his commanders want to help him secure a dictatorship when they get home, and others just want to get rid of him. Geary could decide to be a dictator, get rid of the people who are causing him problems and do things the way he thinks they should be done, but then how is he different from their enemies?
Geary isn’t as confident in his own abilities, however. He’s still uncomfortable in this new military where the pursuit of self-glory is tolerated and the best commanders are put on the ships most likely to be destroyed. No wonder discipline is shattered and the war has been going on for so long. Geary is starting to understand how the Alliance fleet got this way. He’s also learning more about their enemies — the Syndics — and the possibility that an unknown alien race may be manipulating both the Alliance and the Syndics. A scary thought.
Meanwhile Geary’s lover, Victoria Rione, who used to be reserved, reasonable, and icy, has turned into a fickle drama queen. This subplot is tedious and exasperating and it feels contrived to elevate the tension. It’s clear that Campbell is setting things up for a romantic change of venue for Black Jack, though our hero isn’t aware of it yet. After listening to Victoria rant and rave for so long, readers will be eager for a change.
I love the hero of the LOST FLEET series — Captain Geary is awesome and Campbell has done a great job with his development over the series so far. Geary is what keeps me reading LOST FLEET because I don’t much like anyone else in the book, or at least I don’t know them well enough to like them.
At this point, though, I’m starting to wonder why the series needs six books. It could have been cut in half. The truth is that even though I like hanging out with Black Jack Geary, not much new happens in Courageous. They’re wandering around at the beginning and they’re still wandering around at the end. In the last chapter of Courageous, Geary and Victoria make some really wild speculations about what might be happening with the alleged alien race and though I thought it was far-fetched that they would jump to those conclusions, I want to know what happens. Campbell leaves us with a cliffhanger that made me glad I’d already downloaded the next book, Valiant.
Originally posted at FanLit.
Professor Kyle Riggs and his kids were asleep in their house when the alien spaceship arrived. It killed the kids, kidnapped Kyle, and put him through a series of grueling tests. Since he was still alive afterward, the ship made Kyle the captain. This has been happening all over Earth. Most of the captured humans have been killed because they couldn’t make it through the rigorous tests, but all the survivors are now piloting spaceships and in the perfect position to fight off an alien invasion that’s coming to enslave humanity. Add in a beautiful naked coed who’s chained up inside Kyle’s spaceship and you have a silly, but exciting, male wish-fulfillment fantasy.
I want to admit straight up that even though I’m giving Swarm only two stars (it’s just not a very good book), it entertained me. I think many readers will love Swarm — those who just want a fast-moving exhilarating ride and don’t care too much about plot, characterization, and craft. Sometimes I’m in the mood for something like that and Swarm will do quite nicely in that circumstance. However, I want to critique Swarm by its merits, and not by my mood.
The plot of Swarm is instantly engaging. Professor Riggs’ kids are snatched by a spaceship, disemboweled, and dropped to the ground. Wow. That kind of gets your attention. Then Kyle finds himself captain of an amazing piece of technology which belongs to an alien race. Until now, humans thought they were alone in the universe. Now they’re fighting a second alien race with help from these aliens who’ve given them ships but have also killed thousands of humans while vetting them for command positions. This diverse set of ship captains must figure out how to fly their ships and work together to save Earth. Crazy.
This is a pretty cool setup, but unfortunately there were so many places where I just couldn’t suspend disbelief due to ridiculous plot elements and bad characterization. There are many examples I could give, but I’ll just mention two. The first is the ineffective way the Earth governments respond to the spaceships. Kyle and the other captains roam around Earth for a while before getting organized. They hover over homes and malls and grocery stores, using the ship to steal items they need to outfit their ships. (The way they do this reminded me of the “claw” type arcade games and that funny scene in Toy Story: “The Claw!”). A ship captain from Australia is declaring himself leader and threatening Kyle and others who won’t follow him. Kyle, a college professor who has just seen his ship kill his own kids, goes off on his looting spree instead of immediately going to the police or other authorities to report what’s happening. Earth’s authorities, who have no idea what’s going on, seem paralyzed — they just wait to see what will happen. Even though they have satellite communications and internet, it takes a long time before the ship commanders and the authorities are communicating with each other. Even then the ragtag team of pilots decide to band together to save Earth rather than handing over the ships to legitimate military forces. And the governments let this happen. It’s exciting, but not at all likely.
Second is the preposterous relationship with the college student. Kyle, a widower, has just seen his kids brutally murdered, but he gets over this fast enough when the naked girl shows up. Sure, he talks like he’s grieving, just to remind us that Larson knows we’re going to have an issue with this, but he doesn’t act like he’s grieving when he’s ogling the girl and talking more about her nakedness than he did about his kids. Pretty soon he’s in bed with the girl (she has no personality, but she is naked) and the kids seem forgotten. Larson would have done better to bring her in during book 2 instead (Swarm is the first in a series of at least seven books). And maybe give her some more features in addition to nakedness. I mean, she is a college student — she should have more features.
I could go on, but I think those two examples get the point across. If you’re looking for a shallow but thrilling ride that’s fairly unique and you don’t have high expectations about craft, Swarm may be just what you’re looking for. I recommend the audio version narrated by Mark Boyett. I didn’t like his voice for the naked chick, but he did well with the rest of it.
B.V. Larson is an independent author who self-published Swarm. The audio version was produced by Audible Frontiers in 2011 and has been put on CD by Brilliance Audio.
Originally posted at FanLit.
Fearless is the second book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series about Captain Jack Geary who has recovered from 100 years of cold sleep just in time to try to save the Alliance fleet from certain annihilation by the Syndics. As I explained in my review of the first LOST FLEET book, Dauntless, many soldiers in the Alliance fleet think Black Jack Geary is a hero returned from the dead to save their skins. To them, Geary can do no wrong, and they’re willing to follow him deeper into Syndic space as he tries to find an unguarded pathway home. Other officers, however, resent Geary’s attempt to instill order on a military that has become unprepared and undisciplined over many years of war. These aggressive glory-seekers are causing a lot of trouble and when they find someone to rally around, Captain Geary has a mutiny on his hands.
But that’s not all he’s dealing with. There’s an underlying problem that affects everything he’s trying to do — the soldiers of the Alliance used to fight with honor, but now they have become just as ignoble as the Syndics. They wipe out civilians and non-military targets, use terror tactics to dishearten their foes, and generally revel in the slaughter of their enemies. Geary realizes that with this sort of attitude, there will never be peace. At first his only like-minded ally is Senator Victoria Rione who is traveling with Geary and the crew of Dauntless. She’s a politician, so none of the military folks trust her, but she is a much-needed voice for restraint. That’s why Geary can trust her with his provocative suspicions that there may be outside forces malevolently influencing the Alliance-Syndicate war, and with his discovery about the powers that can be unleashed when a hypernet gate implodes.
Geary has some relationship issues as well. Since he’s been asleep for 100 years, he has lost everyone he ever loved. He’s depressed about this, though he doesn’t have much time to think about it. He worries about going “home” and wonders if he can find a way to fit into society other than just as a fleet commander. In this installment, Geary begins a romantic relationship that is only partly rewarding and may or may not be significant when he finally gets home.
Fearless is another entertaining installment in the LOST FLEET series. Some of Jack Campbell’s characters are a bit two-dimensional, and one of them (Captain Falco) is totally over-the-top, but Captain Geary is an admirable character who’s easy to root for. Some of Geary’s personnel problems — especially those involving the mutinous officers and his new lover — seem contrived to elevate emotions, but Geary’s plight is compelling enough to make me feel rather forgiving. Campbell’s space battles are awesome, which is surprising since there’s actually more waiting around and getting in position than actually shooting at things.
Christian Rummel does a great job with the narration of the audio version I’ve been listening to. I think he has a lot to do with how much I like Black Jack Geary. I’ve already downloaded the third LOST FLEET book, Courageous.
Originally posted at FanLit.
John “Black Jack” Geary’s escape pod has just been rescued from deep space. He’s been in cold-sleep for a century after he single-handedly held off enemy spaceships while letting the rest of the Alliance fleet escape. Everyone thought he was dead, but his brave sacrifice went down in the history books and many people still whisper that Black Jack Geary will come back to save the Alliance in a time of great need. And so he has… or at least that’s what many soldiers of the Alliance believe. Geary himself is bewildered to learn that not only is he alive, but that his one famous deed was exaggerated and now he’s a hero of legend. All he really feels like doing is grieving over the loved ones he left behind a century ago. But duty calls.
Now Geary finds himself again trying to save the Alliance fleet. They’re still fighting the Syndicate Worlds — the same enemies they’ve been fighting since Geary’s time — and they’re stuck in enemy territory with damaged ships. They’re also carrying a stolen key to one of the Syndics’ hypernets — a tool which could help them finally win the war. Can Geary get the fleet and the key back home safely?
Well, that’s a hard enough task for any fleet commander. What makes it even harder for John Geary is that this modern Alliance fleet is far different from the one he knew before. The technology has advanced enormously (Geary doesn’t even know what a hypernet is!), but what has changed even more is the structure of the military. Geary lived in a time when the military was well-trained and the leaders gave orders which their subordinates obeyed. But because of the devastating losses the Alliance has suffered over the past several decades, younger commanders have had to step up. They lack skills and experience and the military is now run more like a democracy than a hierarchy, with commanders discussing and voting during meetings instead of receiving and following orders from superiors. Black Jack Geary’s own legendary exploit is also a factor in this decline — his heroic status has caused many ship commanders to try to seek their own glory. Geary recognizes that all of this is bad for the Alliance Worlds, but changing an entire military organization may be too much for one man. Unless that man is a legendary hero who has returned to set his people free…
Dauntless, the first book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series is highly entertaining space opera. Black Jack Geary makes a great reluctant hero. He’s smart and experienced, but 100 years behind in his understanding of technology. He has a disadvantage when he has to rely on others to help him understand and navigate his controls, but his old battle tactics, which rely on careful fleet coordination rather than personal glory-seeking, are an advantage. Not only are they better for the fleet as a whole, but they confound the enemy who is now unable to predict what the Alliance forces will do.
I didn’t much care for the other characters in Dauntless, but I enjoyed the story enough that I didn’t mind. One thing that sets this series apart from other space opera is Campbell’s attempt to deal with the problem of relativity in a war that spans so much space. For example, if your computer is reporting the location of an enemy that’s lightminutes away from you, they are no longer in that location when you get the report. This distortion has a lot of implications, especially when you’re trying to shoot the enemy and the enemy is trying to shoot you. Campbell’s constant reminders about this get tedious, but I appreciated that he tried to deal with this problem that’s too often ignored.
I listened to Audible Frontier’s production of Dauntless. Christian Rummel was a perfect narrator and I thought the voice and tone he used for Black Jack was a perfect reflection of Geary’s humble but confident personality. After listening to Dauntless, I immediately downloaded book 2, Fearless. THE LOST FLEET looks like it’s going to be a good series.
Jack Campbell is a pseudonym for author John G. Hemry who writes other military science fiction under his real name. He’s a retired Navy officer.
Originally posted at FanLit.
Almost all the modern stories derived from Arthurian legends focus on King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, and Merlin. Why does Mordred, the man who eventually brings down the whole shebang, get such short shrift? There’s plenty of source material, most notably Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Maybe it’s that Mordred isn’t very romantic. Or maybe we just don’t like reading about people who are hard to root for.
In her novel I Am Mordred, Nancy Springer flips the legend, brings the traitorous Mordred to tragic life, and makes him easy to sympathize with. When we meet Mordred he’s a happy child being raised in a loving home by hard-working fisherfolk. His life changes when he’s discovered and taken away. Now he lives with a cold mother, a heavy burden (Merlin has publicly prophesied that Mordred will kill King Arthur) and a huge helping of guilt (King Arthur killed all the babies in the realm when he found out about Mordred’s birth).
But Mordred doesn’t want to kill anybody. He’s a sensitive child who just wants to be loved and accepted by his scheming mother and the kind father who refuses to acknowledge him as son. Can Mordred find love? Can he defy his fate, or is he destined to fulfill it?
I Am Mordred is a short sad novel with a sympathetic anti-hero. Nancy Springer’s prose is pretty and she brings a little piece of Arthurian Legend to life as Mordred gives his candid impressions of Arthur, Morgause, Morgan Le Fay, and others. In addition Springer explores such subjects as the nature of family, love, loneliness, original sin, self-determinism, fate and free will, honor, shame and guilt, and the function of the soul.
I Am Mordred is marketed to children aged 10 and up. As far as children’s literature goes, the tale is rather somber and dark, dealing with incest, adultery, murder, and death, but it’s tastefully done and none of it is graphic or glorifying. Nancy Springer succeeds in illustrating the lesson that we should always try to look at events from other people’s perspectives. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend I Am Mordred to children, but keep in mind that it’s dark and sad. Springer doesn’t change the legendary ending.
I listened to Steven Crossley narrate Recorded Book’s version of I Am Mordred. I enjoyed this production.
Originally posted at FanLit.
Modern Seattle: Ravishingly gorgeous Adrienne de Simone (whose every body part is “perfect,” though she doesn’t know that) hates beautiful men because she just had a bad experience with the gorgeous man who was her fiancé. Never! Never again!
Medieval Scotland: Sidheach James Lyon Douglas, otherwise known as “the Hawk” (even his mother calls him that) or “the King’s Whore,” is the hottest laird on the Highlands, but he’s never met a woman he could love. Every one of his body parts is “perfect” and he knows it.
The Fairy Court: When the fae start to meddle with Adrienne and the Hawk, mischief ensues. Hawk falls in love with Adrienne and she, despite the promises to herself, starts to wonder what might be throbbing under his kilt.
From the beginning I had a feeling that Beyond the Highland Mist wasn’t going to be my book of the year, but I picked it up because I really liked Karen Marie Moning’s FEVER series, I like to occasionally step out of my comfort zone, and Beyond the Highland Mist was on a two-for-one sale at Audible.
I wish I had saved my credit. To put it succinctly, I hated Beyond the Highland Mist. It’s everything about romance novels that I hate, starting with the half-naked guy with the six-pack abs on the cover. Then there’s the story which, honestly, has pretty much the same story and plot devices as every other uninspired romance novel I’ve ever read. You know: they automatically hate each other but there’s some reason they have to spend a lot of time together, one of them (at least) keeps protesting that s/he will never (“NEVER!”) love the other but over the course of the story s/he finds out how awesome the other one is (usually something having to do with how he dotes on his mother or secretly loves children and maybe even secretly supports orphans and/or widows), one of them (at least) gets sick or injured and is nursed back to health by the other one while the sick or injured one never knows the other one is there, they keep having these misunderstandings about their feelings for each other (or maybe they’re mistakenly jealous of a third party) while it’s obvious to everyone else that they’re hot for each other…. It’s so boringly predictable and we all know what’s going to happen at the end. They eventually decide they want to get married though they’ve rarely had a conversation that consists of much more than “I will have you! You will be mine!” and “No! Never!”
Other than the back and forth lusty angst, that’s about all there is to the plot of Beyond the Highland Mist. There’s a little bit of intrigue with the fairy queen, but it barely holds the rest together. The story is all about sexual urges, jealous obsession and love-sickness and, even though I read romance novels very rarely, I have read this plot at least a dozen times before.
But that’s not the worst part of Beyond the Highland Mist. The worst part was the writing, which surprised me because I liked Moning’s style in the FEVER series. But it’s awful here, to the point of hilarity. On every page of Beyond the Highland Mist you’ll find some version of this sort of insipidness: rough velvet tongues, creamy breasts being cupped, nipples being traced, taut bellies, silken nubs, chiseled faces, arching backs, hungry tongues, hot shafts with velvety pink tips, ebony eyes, hot kisses, tiny taut nubs, betraying wetness, plum-ripe mouths, honeyed heat, satiny thighs, ragged breathing, buckling knees, weak knees, traitorous bodies, shattering defenses, velvety friction, throbbing shafts, bodies made of molten steel, velvet lips, husky brandy-rich voice, husky purrs and growls, hot silk tongues, brutal punishing kisses, hot spicy male scent, whimpering against mouths, eyes that are dark pools of shadow, and lots of mouth claiming and deep hot kisses. It sounds like every other over-the-top romance novel I’ve ever accidentally opened.
I can’t even tell you how many times her silvery mane was mentioned, or his chiseled steel body. And Moning actually tells us that he’s hung like a stallion. No, seriously. And I don’t want you to miss these little gems:
* hard arousal rode between her legs
* the raw pulsing steel of his hunger
* the Hawk’s velvet purr had taken on the coldness of smooth polished steel
* the last rays of moonbeam caressing his body with molten silver
* she melted to him like liquid flames
* his desire for her throbbed angrily beneath his kilt
* his voice was like butterscotch
Get it? ButterSCOTCH? I know you think I made that up, but I didn’t!
As I mentioned, I listened to the audio version which was read by Phil Gigante, who sometimes overdoes it a bit and somewhat contributes to the over-the-top feel of Beyond the Highland Mist. All the same, I thought he did well enough with the male voices (even handling the Scottish brogue pretty well), but I didn’t care too much for his female voices (an issue I’ve noted before with Gigante). If you’re thinking about trying Beyond the Highland Mist, I’d suggest listening to a sample at Amazon or Audible. By the way, Audible will return a book you don’t like. I may return this one. There are more books in the HIGHLANDER series and I think they can stand alone. I bought two more at the Audible sale (groan!). I may try them to see if it gets better, or I may decide to return them, too.
Originally posted at FanLit
What’s more fun than hanging out with Owen “Big Z” Pitt, Earl Harbinger, Julie, Milo, Holly, Trip, Mosh Pitt, and Skippy the orc at the MHI compound in rural Alabama? How about MHI meeting up with teams from all over the world at a monster hunter conference in Las Vegas? And how about if that ancient Lovecraftian god that Big Z pissed off three books ago decides to unleash his wrath right about now? And how about if those incompetent federal agents who keep trying to cover up the monster attacks want to make sure that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so they quarantine all those monster hunters in a luxury hotel?
Well, if you’re already a fan of Larry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL series, I’m sure my description above is ‘nuff said for you. I don’t even need to mention guns, explosions, a brawl in a rotating restaurant, shattering windows, explosions, hotel rooms containing extradimensional spaces, guns, gigantic spiders, WWII weapons experiments, a chocolate fountain, mad science, explosions, slot machines, harrowing helicopter rides, Faberge eggs, explosions, guns, dragons and, best of all, Agent Franks.
So if you’ve already enjoyed the first three books, go ahead and get Monster Hunter Legion because this story is just as exciting as the previous ones. Correia widens the plot, further develops the characters, keeps up the fast and furious action, and continues to make us laugh. The whole thing is still a little too violent for me, but at least Monster Hunter Legion is less gory than Monster Hunter Alpha — more guns and explosives, fewer fangs and claws. The ending makes clear that this series isn’t finished yet. I’m looking forward to book five.
If you haven’t read the previous books, Monster Hunter International, Monster Hunter Vendetta, and Monster Hunter Alpha, you should give them a try, especially if you like great characters, cool monsters, black humor, tight plotting, nail-biting tension, and some serious gun porn. I recommend the awesome audio productions being produced by Audible Frontiers and narrated by Oliver Wyman.
Orignally posted at FanLit
In 2850 AD, Louis Wu is at his 200th birthday party and thinking about how bored he is. The world has become homogeneous — everyone on Earth uses the same language, everything is available everywhere, and all the cities have lost their unique flavor. Life is dull. That’s why Louis Wu is a perfect candidate for the alien Nessus (a Pierson’s Puppeteer) who wants to take a manned spaceship to explore a strange phenomenon in space.
Nessus also recruits a Kzin named Speaker-to-Animals who is a feline alien from a warlike culture, and the beautiful 20-year-old human woman named Teela Brown that Louis Wu has been sleeping with. She’s so silly that at first it’s not clear what she offers the mission other than good looks, “conical breasts,” a giggle soundtrack, and sexual gratification for Louis Wu (this is something I hate about science fiction written by men in the 1960s), but later we discover that Nessus knows that Teela Brown has lucky genes and he thinks having her along will make the voyage lucky.
When the group stops off at the Puppeteer planet, they learn about their mission. They will investigate the Ringworld. Photos from space show that it looks like a blue ribbon arranged around a star. It’s about the size of the Earth’s orbit around the sun and it’s obviously artificial. The living area inside the ring provides about three times the Earth’s surface area, there’s gravity due to the ring’s centripetal force, and day and light cycles are created by shading the sun with huge panels. (Find the physics of Ringworld here.) The mission seeks to discover who created the Ringworld, why they created it, and whether they’re friendly or threatening.
Ringworld is a high concept novel and I generally love high concept novels. Ringworld has big ideas in a grand setting. Images of Ringworld will stay with me forever. Unfortunately, the characters are dull and the actual action in Ringworld would fill only a few pages. While I wanted to explore and experiment on Ringworld, the characters were usually discussing, bickering, arguing, and philosophizing. Some of this was interesting, such as the discovery that the Puppeteers were covertly performing genetics experiments on other species, the contemplation of what factors might make civilizations rise and fall (cycles of culture and barbarism is also a theme in the last Niven book I read, The Mote in God’s Eye). But much of it was teachy as characters spent too much time explaining evolution, genetics, meteorology, geology, and the physics and mathematics of the shape of orbits, velocities, heat transfer, and tensile strength. Worse, some discussion topics that started out interesting became repetitive and tiresome, especially the philosophical discussions about Teela’s luck which kept coming up and lasting too long.
I love Larry Niven’s big ideas and I know he can write really exciting science fiction even if he can’t write decent female characters. Ringworld is a great idea that gets obliterated by dull characters and too much talking. (Yet it won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and Locus Award.) There are several prequels and sequels to Ringworld in Larry Niven’s RINGWORLD and KNOWN SPACE universes. I listened to Blackstone Audio’s production which was nicely narrated by Tom Parker.
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!
Originally posted at FanLit.
“Our business is monsters. And business is booming.”
Owen Zastava Pitt was just trying to be normal. He used to be a bouncer who spent his evenings participating in illegal pit fights, but he managed to earn a CPA and became a boring accountant for a big corporation — pension and dental benefits included. Being tall and weighing in at 300 lbs, he didn’t quite look like an accountant — and he still spent his weekends as a gun hobbyist — but he was making progress…. until his boss turned into a werewolf and Owen managed to defeat him and push him out a window on the 14th story of their office building.
That caught the attention of a covert freelance organization called Monster Hunters International. In contrast to the secret government organization that hunts monsters, MHI is a family business. The Shackleford family has selectively recruited and trained a group of highly skilled men and women who work in teams to rid the world of all sorts of dangerous supernatural creatures. Then they collect large bounties from a special government fund. It’s extremely lucrative, but extremely dangerous, too.
Owen’s stature, militant upbringing, gun expertise, quick wits, and tenacity are exactly what MHI is looking for. When they send Julie Shackleford to interview Owen, he can’t resist her good looks and her guns. So Owen signs up for the craziest job in the world and is soon dealing with vampires, gargoyles, ghouls, zombies, werewolves, meddling government bureaucrats, and the insects of the Deep South. He gets some help from his diverse set of MHI colleagues and the good supernaturals — head-banging orcs, trailer park elves, and the ghost of a dead Jewish man that lives in his head.
In the past the monster incidents that MHI has dealt with have seemed like random infestations, but now it’s becoming clear that there’s a coordinated attack going on. Agents of the Old Ones are searching for an ancient artifact that can stop time and open a portal to a source of infinite power. They’ve tried it before — back when the Nazis were in power — and now they’re back to try again. Fortunately, MHI is standing in their way…
Monster Hunter International, the first inLarry Correia’s MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL series is high-octane non-stop action-packed fun. Blazing assault weapons, monsters of all sorts, and plenty of blood, guts and brains. OK, honestly, this is not typically my thing — it’s really violent and gory — but after enjoying Correia’s GRIMNOIR CHRONICLES, I decided to give MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL a try, especially since I found them on sale at Audible a while back.
I felt like I was hooked up to a testosterone drip, but I cringingly admired Monster Hunter International. The plot is tight, exciting, and unpredictable. The writing — especially the dialog — is excellent. Correia’s characters are complex and engaging and the women are just as competent as the men. Best of all is Larry Correia’s dry irreverent sense of humor. I wouldn’t call Monster Hunter International a comedy, but I chuckled all the way through. It was this comic relief that made the violence tolerable for me.
MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL is a series that is even better in audio than print. Audible Frontiers produces the audio version and it’s narrated by Oliver Wyman. Keep in mind that I listen to about 150 audiobooks each year when I say that Wyman’s performance is one of the best I’ve ever heard. He handles both the male and female voices with ease and effortlessly shifts through several accents including a Southern drawl and some Eastern European dialects. His pacing and inflection is perfect. If you’re planning to try MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL please consider the audio version. You will not be disappointed.
Monster Hunter International is a little too violent and gory for me to count it as a true favorite, but it excels at what it does. It’s highly entertaining dude-lit that is well-written and humorous enough to appeal to a much wider audience.
Publisher: Five days after Owen Zastava Pitt pushed his insufferable boss out of a fourteenth story window, he woke up in the hospital with a scarred face, an unbelievable memory, and a job offer. It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business. And now Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves. Business is good… Welcome to Monster Hunter International.
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