Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia
Read by Oliver Wyman
Quick Thought: If you are up for a fast, fun, and violent book about killing monsters, read masterfully by a talented narrator, then you better download this one quick.
I am no gun expert. OK, to be totally honest, I am about as far away from being a gun expert as Philly is from Tau Ceti. I have never held a gun, let alone fired one. I probably couldn’t tell you the difference between a Berretta and a Jell-O Pudding Pop. Moreover, I am not a conservative leaning libertarian type with a vast mistrust of the government. Maybe a healthy mistrust of the government, sure, but I am not too worried about the men in the black helicopters landing on my front porch with the sole purpose of denying me my inalienable rights. Maybe I’m naïve, but, I am happy in my naiveté. Yet, despite not being a gun toting anti-establishment libertarian, I often find myself enjoying their novels. Whether they are fighting the zombie hordes, or alien invasions, these guys seem to know how to write some of the most fun, genre novels out there. So, with that in mind, I downloaded Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia. One of the great things about Monster Hunters International is its title. I think from that, you can pretty much figure out whether you will be inclined to enjoy the novel. If your first thought is, cool, when do we get to the monster killing, this might be for you, conversely if you wonder if this may be a subtle retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, well, you should probably stick to your Oprah’s Book Club. So, once hooked into the novel with title, it all comes down to the execution, and no, I am not talking about beheading vampires, at least not yet.
Correia has seemed to find a pretty good working formula for MHI. 1/3 Gun porn, 1/3 Badass Monster Killing action, and the rest a hodgepodge of differing elements from character development, world building, mythology, an awkward but sort of sweet romance, and a bunch of wry humor. Correia definitely gives this book a B-Movie feel, with its intriguing mythology, its collection of psychotic monsters and an abundance of throw away one liners. Oh, and the guns, tons and tons of guns. In fact, there are so many guns and weapons in this novel, it even frustrates an evil Nazi vampire who exclaims, “Just how many guns do you have?” One of my favorite things about MHI is that Correia doesn’t feel beholden to any of the established fantasy tropes. His vampires are evil, and viscous and not sparkly at all, yet, they aren’t bound hard and fast by the Stoker rules. Correia doesn’t even mind taking some shots at Tolkienesque fantasy. What he does with elves and Orcs are almost by themselves worth the price of the book. With so many genre novels, a lot of comes down to the characters. The main protagonist, Owen Pitt, has a bit of wish fulfillment about him, he’s big, tough, talented and smart, yet, he is also at times awkward and self deprecating. He’s a character you can cheer for, while at the same time cringe at his social gaffs. The assortment of secondary characters is vast, yet well developed. When they are in danger, you fear for them, and when they are victorious you cheer for them, and what more can you want from a book about badass monster killers.
One of the cool things about audiobooks is that you can discover new books based on favorite narrators. You don’t see this in print versions. I have never heard of anyone so enjoying the type font that they must read all other books in that same script. I had never heard of Larry Correia or his Monster Hunter novels until I saw a tweet by its narrator, Oliver Wyman, commenting on having to voice a particular monster. Oliver Wyman is one of my favorite narrators, and is perfect for this type of novel. Wyman has an excellent narrative voice, but he really excels at creating characters, no matter how obscure. Wyman always brings a sense of fun to his readings. You can tell he probably gets almost as much of a kick out of reading some of the more outrageous moments in this novel as the author did writing them. So, for lovers of monster killing action well delivered by a talented narrator, Monster Hunter International may be the right choice for you.