Monster Hunter International

A while back, I did a sort-of preview post for a novel called Monster Hunter International, written by a gentleman named Larry Correia. At that time, Baen Books, had released the first seven chapters of the book free online. I liked what I read back then, and was eagerly anticipating the book’s full release. Well, it hit shelves this past weekend, and I purchased a copy on Monday night. Finished it very early (read: 2:00 AM) this morning, and figured I’d write a brief review.

First of all, MHI is something of an action thriller. I am not easily impressed by action thrillers, having read multiple works by authors considered to be tops in that field; Clancy, Hunter, Flynn, Ludlum, and Cussler to name a few, along with countless wannabees whose books barely deserved to be on store shelves

Second, MHI delves deeply into the fantasy-horror genre. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, orcs, elves, that sort of thing. With the exception of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, I’m not that into fantasy. And I extremely dislike the horror genre. That just doesn’t float my boat at all. I’ve no interest in having the crap scared of me at all.

So, in light of all that, I can only come up with one word to describe Monster Hunter International: Excellent.

Actually, Excellent doesn’t really cut it. Truth be told, I can’t really come up with words to describe what I think about Correia’s work, at least not without sounding like a raving, foaming-at-the-mouth fanboy. Which, truth be told, I kind of am.

Correia is, in my opinion, an excellent writer, especially considering that this is the first novel he has ever written. (I think; Larry, if you’re reading this and I’m wrong, please let me know. At any rate, it’s his first published work.) He does an excellent job at writing the requisite action scenes, but even more so at creating the multitude of unique – and quirky – characters in the book. Each central character, and even most of the secondaries, has a fully fleshed-out background and history; it’s obvious that Correia didn’t just say “oh, I need a new character for this bit,” and whip one up and five minutes like so many other authors – even the big names – are prone to doing.

The story is also excellent, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and surprised throughout the entire 710 pages. Granted, there are a handful cliches and worn plot devices (none of which I will mention lest I ruin the plot), but those are few, far-between, and forgivable considering the otherwise-unpredictable nature of the plot. It is also a highly-engaging plot. Actually, maddeningly addictive might be a better description; I had to physically force myself to put the book down during the wee hours of the morning so that I could get a few hours of sleep before picking it up again.

Oh, and I before I forget, MHI is funny! Again, can’t really give specifics lest I ruin it for you, but suffice to say that Correia’s dry, deadpan wit had me almost fall out off my chair at more than a few points.

In summary, I can say with certainty that Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter Intentional is without a doubt the best book I have read this year. You can find it on both Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble’s website, as well as at your local bookstore. However, I recommend buying online, as many stores are selling out of copies as soon as they order them. (no lie: the clerk at the B&N where I bought mine had to dig through the storage room to find a copy!) Also, I recommend buying a second copy to loan to your friends, as they won’t want to give it back!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start re-reading my copy. Yes, I know I just finished reading it the first time: it is just that damn good.

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