Review: Monster Hunter International

Author Larry Correia shares a lot about himself on his blog. He is a big guy, with an interest in guns and a former accountant who managed to ditch that career for an alternative one writing about killing monsters. Monster Hunter Nation was his big break out hit and the start of a highly successful writing career.

Larry was also the originator of Sad Puppies – a role that has led him to be unfairly characterized as perhaps somebody mad at the world, not really for any specifics, mind you, but more made at the world in a general way for being mean to him.

Which takes me to Owen Zastava Pitt, the hero of Monster Hunter International.

When we first meet Owen Z Pitt he is an accountant. Pitt is a big guy with an interest in guns and in the course of the novel he manages to ditch his accountant career for a new one killing monsters. First though he has to kill his boss, a boss Correia describes as follows:

Mr. Huffman was the worst kind of boss, incompetent and always able to find an underling to blame for his own screw-ups. Plus he was mad at the world,  not really for any specifics, mind you, but more mad at the world in a general way for being mean to him. Despite his laziness and stupidity, his little pig brain just could not comprehend why he was never promoted beyond the same position he had held for the last decade. It was obvious to him that the world was out to wrong him.

Pitt ends up shooting and stabbing his boss and then throwing him out of the window in the first chapter and claims to the police that he was a werewolf. Naturally as Pitt is known as a former fighter in illegal fighting competition who in a rage nearly beat a man to death, Pitt is placed in a maximum security prison. The rest of the book is about a psychologist who unravels his fantasy about his boss being a ‘werewolf’ to reveal Pitt’s struggles against internalized rage.

Ha, ha – no only kidding.

Pitt’s boss really is a werewolf and the stupid-Feds (take the FBI et al as being axiomatically stupid from this point on) are waiting to see if Pitt will go all growly when the independent free-enterprise monster hunters show up and offer Pitt a job because he is so spiffy. They don’t say ‘spiffy’ though. One of the best Monster Hunters is a beautiful woman who Pitt falls in love with and who likes Pitt in return but can’t return his love because she is in a relationship with a stuck up jerk.

Pitt gets to kill some monsters – including a snooty Frenchman vampire who is extra snooty because he is from Paris unlike nice French people who live in the country. Love interest’s boy friend keeps acting like a jerky jerk because he went to a posh college and so on.

Meanwhile via the medium of dreams, Pitt discovers that he has some sort of destiny and discovers an evil plot by the Cursed One and a band of vampires to do open some Lovecraft-lite gateway to Lovecraft-lite monster dimension.

To cut a medium length story short Larry Correia turns out to be the chosen one. Sorry, Owen Pitt turns out to be the chosen one. After totally failing as boyfriend material by being kidnapped and tortured by vampires Love Interest dumps the jerky jerk boyfriend. Pitt defeats the Cursed One and he and Love Interest get oodles of cash for killing all the monsters.

I’m being a little mean. The plot is thin and the monsters so generic that they feel more like halloween costumes but Correia writes action sequences VERY well and the bits inbetween move things along efficiently to the next big fight. The emphasis on guns is naturally huge but then the monsters have to be somewhat tolerant of being shot that the steady increase in fire-power makes little difference. Given the straightforward supernatural elements, you’d think the Monster Hunters would spend less time on customized shotguns and more time on spell books but I suppose he was avoiding being the UFC version of Harry Potter.

Overall: not awful.