Friday, June 21, 2024

BOOK REVIEW: Monster Hunter International

This book is a rip-roaring action slug-fest that doesn't pull punches, that drives the characters through hell and back.

Monster Hunter International book cover
Amazon / Kobo

*4.5 STARS*
Military Fantasy 

If you've been in the workforce long enough, you will probably eventually end up with a boss that rages like a beast, but few end up with one that is an actual beast. In this case: a Werewolf. But CPA Owen Zastava Pitt does, and after he has a gruesome, no-holds barred fight to the death, he tosses his boss out the fourteenth-story office window. It's presumed that Owen's next performance review won't go over so well. While Owen nearly dies from his wounds, it turns out there is a whole lot more in store for this paper pushing accountant who is just trying to be normal.

But normal isn't good for survival. And when the fate of the world is at stake, it's a good thing that "Z" (as his friends call him) decides to join Monster Hunter International. An elite organization of monster hunters. Because, as it turns out, pretty much all of the myths and legends we've ever heard of—whether it be werewolves, vampires, or orcs and elves—end up as true. 

But they also end up as nothing in comparison to what is about to happen. 

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Monster Hunter International (book one of the series) is inventive, fun, clever. This is a great piece of modern-day military fantasy playing with age-old monster tropes. Highly recommended. Be warned that it is not for the faint of heart: there is plenty of blood and guts flying about, and a little bit of profanity. But hey, what do you expect when you are confronted by legions of the undead, giant flying stone gargoyles, and Master Vampires that can move faster than you can shoot?

The action sequences are intense, inventive, and there are a LOT of them, but in a good way.

The interactions with the Federal Agents from the Monster Control Bureau serve as an interesting plot device as the characters have to deal with government intrusion into their business. So, not only does MHI have to effectively save the world, they have to do it with the government breathing down their necks and getting in the way. Makes the story a little bit extra-relevant for anyone that has paid attention to the government overreach of recent years.

While Z is a crack shot, a bruiser, and a big guy that might normally be pegged as the brute of the bunch, he is analytical, and ends up with some interesting psychic powers. There is astral-projection, reliving an evil maniac's age-old memories, and a peculiar Old Man that seems to live in Owen's sub-conscious, and yet is able to effect things (at times) in the real world to interesting results.

One of the only complaints I have about the book is with the romantic subplot. Z has a big crush on someone, and while his interest is well telegraphed, the return interest is first. The lady in question is expressly not interested and has a boyfriend she is apparently committed to. Though he is a pretentious Hollywood-style douche bag. So you know she'll come around eventually to Z's interests. The problem is that when she does the timing comes across as inappropriate. Yes, they all just died, and then undied—No. No. I'm not ruining that one, you'll have to read it for yourself—and the world is possibly about to come to an end if they can't prevail against an unstoppable evil force, so the prospect of death and never being able to utter her true feelings to Z are of course a decent motivation for the ill-timing, but it could have been done a little better. Small complaint. No big deal.

TRIGGER WARNING: As in there are a lot of triggers...and bullets, and guns. Oh yes, all kinds of guns. In such detail and breadth that if you aren't a gun nut, you won't know what four-fifths of these things are. But you probably stop looking them up by the third gun mentioned, because the story pulls you forward, and you just trust in the author's ability to paint a picture for you. But then, if all of these triggers bothers you, I'm not sure how else you'd think to fight off legions of the undead, giant stone gargoyles that can play can-opener with armored vans, and worse! Perhaps call 9-1-1, hope your local police department wasn't defunded, and responds faster than it takes for some unsavory character to commit untold atrocities upon you?

Yeah, that doesn't sound like a good idea.

No, you do what a red-blooded American does. You unleash hell and fight.


*Ahem* Where was I? Oh, yes. That's exactly what Z does.

So, if you want big conflict, lots of action, lots of guns, the Supernatural, and end of the world scenarios, Monster Hunter International is a fun read.

4.5 out of 5 silver-tipped bullets for this one.

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